October 18, 2013

Life before videotape: How baseball teams celebrated in 1965 and 2013

In recent decades, major league baseball teams celebrate the last outs of playoff series with giant gangtackles of joy. For example, here are the Los Angeles Dodgers last week whooping up the final out of their quarter-final series. (They just got eliminated in the semifinal series, with presumptive Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, pitching on four days rest, getting beat 9-0.)

On Crossing Wall Street, Eddy Elfenbein points out that it wasn't always like that:
On Youtube, I recently stumbled across the complete Game 7 of the 1965 World Series. 
What I found fascinating was the restrained celebration after the final out. Perhaps it shows how much American culture has changed over the past 48 years. 
If you skip ahead to 2:20:16, you can see the final out. SPOILER ALERT – Sandy Koufax strikes him out. But notice how subdued the celebration is. Of course, the game is in Minnesota and not Los Angeles, so that certainly is a factor. Everyone is happy but it’s far from the over-the-top New Year’s-like manic celebrations we see nowadays. No man-pile. No confetti. Just hearty handshakes.

One possible reason for this change is that people tend to behave today in ways that will make the highlight reels. The arrival of videotape in the early 1960s (the first use of instant replay was the Army-Navy football game of 1963) is one reason why Baby Boomers tend to assume that history began around the time of the JFK assassination and the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show: they saw the same clips over and over.

Think of it as a sort of Darwinian selection for behavior that will make the replay. One thing that television likes is energy.

For example, Sandy Koufax's final strikeout in 1965 is not a video Iconic Moment, even though in text it's a quite well-known event, perhaps the most celebrated Jewish sports accomplishment of the 20th Century. Koufax, the best pitcher in baseball, had clinched the pennant in the next to last regular season game on October 2. So, he was scheduled to start the first game of the World Series on October 6 on his usual 3 days rest, which would allow him to start Games 4 and 7 as well with 3 days rest. But he refused to pitch Game 1 because it was Yom Kippur. Then he lost Game 2. But he threw a shutout in Game 5 and then came back on two days rest to win the final game 2-0.

We have excellent B&W video of catcher Johnny Roseboro trotting out to the mound to sincerely congratulate Koufax, followed by the other Dodgers on the field (but not in the dugout), but it's not a famous clip because everybody behaves in a dignified fashion. The Dodgers of 1965 probably felt that since the whole country was watching, they should be on their best behavior. And to whoop it up more would be showing up their opponents and their opponents' fans. And that would be unsporting.


Anonymous said...

Here's video of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series between the Pirates and Yankees:


Bill Mazeroski hit a homer to win the game for the Pirates, and the players and fans mob him at home plate.

Anonymous said...

What about Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World"? That was in 1951, and they celebrated just like they do today.

Eddy Elfenbein needs to wake up.

Anonymous said...

Was just about to say that as well.

It was pandemonium. Of course, the Pirates were at home so that certainly helped. The game is on DVD, and Steve is correct in that there's no instant replay in that time period.

It's very difficult to watch a sporting event without instant replay. Didn't realize it til you actually watch a game prior to replay. It just moves. Quickly. Without interruption.

Another thing is that the camera work in 1960 WS is so primitive. The camera is bulky. ESPN's Little League World Series is more technically proficient and "brilliant" to watch than network live tv in 1960.

The networks should've hired John Ford or some Alist filmmaker of the time to help assist with the camera placement and shots.

Thank goodness for instant replay. Having seen the sports world that existed prior to it I dont want to return to it.

MC said...

Or Bobby Thompson's Shot Heard Round the World in 1951:


Auntie Analogue said...

I, for one, am glad of videotape, whose debut may have spared us a TV show called 'America's Funniest 8mm Home Movies.'

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Exactly the same in UK soccer.

Fifty years back a scorer raised his arm or leaped in the air to celebrate, then ran back to the half way line getting the odd clap on the back as he passed teammates - maybe a hug or two in a big game.

Now he runs to the touchline, falls to his knees and waits for the avalanche as the others fall on top of him.

You'll see players do this even when the goal's gone in off his knee or taken a lucky deflection.

Rugby celebrations are still pretty modest.

Darth Plastic said...

sports back then meant something different .....it was a game.
now it is entertainment for the snotty,selfish youth ....baseball is the last of the big three(MLB,NFL,NBA)that shows at least some decorum, but even that is slipping away into the Miley Cyrus trench of "I want it now daddy! Look at me,I'm special!" twerk this is what I say.

Bill said...

The Maz hommer was the first one to come to my mind. Celebrations seem more planned today. Circumstances may play a role, it was an upset, game 7, @home, the lead had changed several times, they had never been there before, and a walk off HR.

A couple of the same players were on the team in 71
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zBhRvQIqW0 ,jump ahead to 2:03:20, (games were a LOT shorter then)

I recently noticed players wearing goggles before popping the champagne.

Art Deco said...

Doubt much to do with video. We just live in a world that is vulgar to a degree it once was not.

Anonymous said...

I'm of two minds about the big celebrations at home plate. On one hand, it's touching to see grown men getting so amped up over a game. Winning a game brings out genuine emotion in a very jaded time.

On the other hand, I worry that it's a manifestation of the winning-is-everything attitude that has brought PEDs and college cheating scandals to the sports world.

Dan W. said...


My favorite celebration video and story is the Chris Chambliss championship winning homerun at Yankee Stadium in 1976. At about the 2-minute mark you can see the outfield gate open and cops coming onto the field. The camera than pans out and you see fans have swarmed the field and the cops are outnumbered several hundred to 1. It was utter chaos and mayhem. At the end of the video Chambliss describes later going out on the field to touch the area of home plate because the plate had actually been stolen.

In 1978 the Yankees clinched the World Series at home and fans also stormed the field. Giuliani was mayor by the time the Yankees won their next World Series and I don't recall any field storming!

Baseball in the 1970s was rather chaotic. You had lawless fans, crazy owners like Charlie Finley and Bill Veek and several insane managers such as Billy Martin. Today baseball fans and fans at pro events in general stay off the field but college sports fans commonly rush the football field and basketball court.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Re the video clips: one of my proudest discoveries is how the advent of color photography influenced culture and our perception of history. Once you know it, you see it everywhere and wonder how you missed it before.


Yogi Berra leaping into Don Larsen's embrace on the mound in 1956 is also iconic, and dramatic - but not a mob.

DYork said...

And yet there's still this from 1951!


..perhaps the most celebrated Jewish sports accomplishment of the 20th Century.

Mark Spitz crushing everybody at the Munich Olympics?

Bobby Fischer beating the SOVIET UNION during the Cold War?

Anonymous said...

The Dodgers are the Red Sox of a few years ago: a collection of reprehensible morons. It's no accident that 3 of the bigger a$$holes on the underachieving Red Sox team now toil for the Dodgers. Their little swim in the Diamondbacks pool after the playoff-clinching game showed their utter lack of class.

Interesting series to watch, juxtaposing the Dodgers collection of volatile minorities against the stolid, mostly white guys playing for the Cardinals. The Detroit-Boston series is even more so, with the Tigers having TWO white everyday players on their roster (though their 2 biggest pitching starts, Verlander and Scherzer, are pasty white), and the Red Sox an ersatz collection of white guys, Indians (Ellsbury), Hawaiians (Victorino) and Japanese (Tazawa and Uehara) with a few Dominicans in the mix.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful delivery Koufax had.

astorian said...

There's another angle you haven't considered. Not so very long ago, big baseball and football games were considered formal events.

Watch some footage from Shea Stadium during the Miracle Mets' 1969 World Series games. Or watch the footage from the "Big Shootout" between Darrell Royal's Texas Longhorns and the Arkansas Razorbacks (the game that spurred Richard Nixon to proclaim Texas as #1).

You'll see that almost all the men are wearing hats, jackets and ties!

When I was a kid in New York(I'm 52 now), going to a ballgame was a Very Big Deal. My Dad dressed as if he were going to work, and my Mom put me in a little suit and tie from Robert Hall. It was a semi-formal occasion, and we were expected to behave that way. Applause was fine, a little booing was fine, but in general, best behavior was expected.

It was the same with air travel in those days- in 1969, going on a plane was also a Very Big Deal, and we kids all had to wear little suits and ties and act like we were first class passengers on a ritzy cruise ship.

By the late Seventies, of course, nobody dressed formally at ballparks or on planes. And while I admit that makes things more comfortable, people's behavior changes drastically when they're no longer expected to dress formally.

Curle said...

Young men hug now. Frequently. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...


My head hurts.

"Not long ago I had a conversation with the dean of a mainline Protestant divinity school. I asked him what his students are like these days. He said that there are three main groups: white women—most of them feminists and/or GLBT activists—African-Americans and Koreans, most in both groups being fundamentalists."

Anonymous said...

Changing culture, changing demographics of the athletes IMO are the big drivers.

Anonymous said...

Hispanic cons?

More likely to be Catholics or converted Protestants?

FirkinRidiculous said...

Celebrations in cricket, that most sedate and gentlemanly of games, upon the fall of the wicket were usually restricted to a firm handshake until the 1970s and the rise of one-day cricket.

Are team/crowd celebrations genuine outpourings of joy and excitement or are they primarily forms of mass hysteria and copycat behaviour?

James Kabala said...

I think extreme celebration was reserved for extreme achievements. Mazeroski was mobbed at home plate as noted - that was a famous still photo before the footage was recently re-discovered. A clip that is often played and re-played is the one of Yogi Berra in 1956 leaping joyfully into Don Larson's arms after his perfect game. 1965 was an "ordinary" World Series win - and mostly the same team had won two years before as well.

countenance said...

Wearing my Cardinal swag proudly today. Or I will when I no longer have to wear my business suit.

One possible reason for this change is that people tend to behave today in ways that will make the highlight reels.

Which is one of the reasons why I wish they wouldn't show LLWS on TV. LL coaches spend all season teaching boys how to play as a team and make sacrifices for the good of the team, and it all gets undone because the kids at the LLWS know they're on TV, know they're being watched, so they start swinging for the fences.

Bill said...

Chuck Noll

Anonymous said...




yabba dabba. what a fool.

it was really all just a cynical ploy.



"Chris Morris writing for Plugged In may have accidently revealed that all children are not hungry to learn—as some public school critics want us to believe."


Anonymous said...

*The Dodgers are the Red Sox of a few years ago: a collection of reprehensible morons.*

Their fans are no better. Dodger Stadium is the most ghetto ballpark in the country, bar non. And not just because it's located in one of the worst sections of LA. Their fans like to take the ghetto with them.

Anonymous said...


Holy crap, what a terrible article.

Anonymous said...


Seriously folks, is it a good idea to let in more people with mentalities like this?

Matra said...

Exactly the same in UK soccer

Yes, the managers too. As recently as 20 years ago team managers did not jump up and down like fans when their team scored, now they all do it. It's unseemly and very low class.

When rain stopped play at this year's US Open on Labour Day CBS showed old matches from the 70s and 80s. It was noticeable how in those days even the most volatile players, such as Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, did not shout "C'mon" or fist pump after big points. They just got on with the next point.

Emotional diarrhea is now the norm in society, even in England.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be some less formal celebration at the end of this just-rereleased clip of Casey Stengel's inside-the-park home run in game 1 of the 1923 World Series. (Stengel's Giants were the visiting team at Yankee Stadium): http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?topic_id=9991168&content_id=31119883

Mr. Anon said...

These excessive displays in sports are a sign of the increasing infantilization of men. Some of it may be do the adoption of the black style as well. And what's with all the hugging that grown men do nowadays?

White men should grow up and once again start acting like white men.

jody said...

this is a new phenomenon. when i was growing up, the only time a team broke out the champagne was when they won the world series. to see them now, breaking out the champagne for JUST MAKING THE PLAYOFFS, is ridiculous. i'm not even talking about celebrating a first round win, for which the champagne is equally inappropriate. i'm talking about them bringing out the bubbly when they lock up a playoff spot AFTER A REGULAR SEASON GAME.

at least the on-field antics have not gotten out of hand in baseball as they have in football. 30 years ago, even 20 years ago, NFL players would score touchdowns and often just drop the ball on the grass or hand the ball to the referee. a simple spike of the ball was about the extent of the non-football activity you could expect. there were a few guys doing stuff more elaborate than that but it was not common.

fast forward to the late 90s and you have guys celebrating first downs. then you have guys celebrating tackles. then, you get to the point of guys celebrating first downs or tackles in games where their team is getting blown away. down 30 points and they make a tackle and they're out there dancing around in between plays.

it's hard for younger guys to believe now, but only 25 years ago, almost none of the african players felt the need to make a big deal out of every routine play. a first down was a first down, a tackle a tackle, a touchdown was great but you didn't go crazy.

i'm not sure if this started in NCAA play and made it's way to NFL play, because i don't pay much attention to NCAA football, but this seems plausible. this is what happened in NBA play though. NCAA players began wearing long shorts and acting like retards in the early 90s, and when they were drafted and went into the NBA, they brought those behaviors with them, which proliferated over time. go on youtube and watch 80s NBA and see the shorter, non-drooping, non-ridiculous shorts, no stupid sleeves, players not caring about having 10 different pairs of overblown shoes. notice none of the players are covered in tattoos. bad tattoos? they had no tattoos.

Cail Corishev said...

"Young men hug now."

That was my thought too. I finally had to tell a younger member of my ex-wife's family: "Dude, I don't hug my mom this much; give me a break."

In my day, we had the high-five. If you were really excited, you made it a double. That was the extent of acceptable physical contact between teammates. Then the pros for some reason started slapping each other on the rear, and everything fell apart, and now we have guys humping each other in joy.

Maxwell Power said...

There is film of Seabiscuit winning the Santa Anita Handicap in 1940 and getting thronged by the stadium crowd (presumably all Dodgers fans visiting from Brooklyn). Owners & representatives of various horse concerns were observed behaving in a more dignified WN/Dissident Right fashion

Miguel S. said...

I noticed the same thing as an early commenter: away teams ('65 Dodgers) celebrate less wildly than home teams (Bobby Thompson, '60 Pirates, Chris Chambliss, '78 Yankees). There's a pattern.

Regarding later Yankee wins, I was living in a Dominican neighborhood in New York back when the Yanks won in the 1990s. The locals toilet papered the trees on every block. I'd never seen anything like it.

peterike said...

Sports celebrations are gay. Like this one.


Anonymous said...

Bill Mazeroski hit a homer to win the game for the Pirates

Is the reason this turned up was because Bing Crosby had it videotaped on some early version of a home video recorder?

Whiskey said...

Jody, Dodger Stadium is NOT ghetto. It is next to Silverlake and Mount Washington, very nice gentrifying areas of the city.

I attended numerous games at Dodger Stadium under both the O'Malleys and Fox regimes. Under the O'Malleys, it was clean, much cleaner than Angel Stadium, nice, no ads, a throwback stadium. Fox tarted it up, ads, cut down on cleaning. I never went under Frank McCourt but he assiduously courted the Mexican crowd, which prior to this had not been in attendance much at Dodger Stadium. That is why Dodger Stadium is now basically an East LA war zone, the legacy of Frank McCourt.

Interestingly the new Yankee Stadium is VERY expensive, which cuts down on the violence in the stands and parking lots because games are so pricey to attend.

What McCourt destroyed was the ability for fans to see a game for cheap, without much threat of violence. Just more "diverse" behavior that in retail is driving shoppers online (see People of Walmart of the video of the EBT card freakout). More diversity = more people staying at home "safe" and acting online.

Steve Sailer said...

Right. Bing Crosby recorded the only existing footage on his extremely early VCR.

By the way, Crosby's art was intimately linked with his technophilia. He was the first singer to figure out the implications of the microphone. He continually invested in new technologies and sponsored R&D projects. Most having to do with media, but some in other fields -- he was an angel investor in the field of frozen orange juice and wound up with a chunk of Minute Maid stock. It's not surprising that he moved from Los Angeles to where he felt more at home: the northern edge of what's now Silicon Valley,

Otis McWrong said...

Anonymous said: "The Detroit-Boston series is even more so, with the Tigers having TWO white everyday players on their roster (though their 2 biggest pitching starts, Verlander and Scherzer, are pasty white), and the Red Sox an ersatz collection of white guys, Indians (Ellsbury), Hawaiians (Victorino) and Japanese (Tazawa and Uehara) with a few Dominicans in the mix."

I had long decided to root against the Sawx in the ALCS but you raise an interesting point. The problem with the Sawx winning the ALCS is that lots of SWPL tools and twits like Peter Gammons will be happy. I'm not sure I can take that risk.

I'll certainly pull for the Cardinals in the WS though.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer said...
Right. Bing Crosby recorded the only existing footage on his extremely early VCR.

Way way way way wait. Hold it. Are you actually saying that that version is not the networks? The networks did NOT save game 7 of the world series? The primitiveness then is due to Crosby's home recording?
So then, the network version would've been better at least camerawise?

Of course, it WAS 1960 after all. The technology (multiple camera angles for television, etc) were still a couple decades away.

countenance said...

Busch Stadium, the current one, is in Downtown St. Louis, not really near any serious residential neighborhood.

If the Cardinals still played on Grand and Dodier, they'd be smack dab in the middle of the ghetto today, in fact, that has been solid ghetto since not long after they left there in '66 for Downtown.

If the Red Sox win the AL, I'm going to dread all the "Boston Strong" talk for days on end. Sure, I'll believe "Boston Strong" when someone who seriously wants to control the borders and not let Tsarnaevs into our country wins elections from Boston and Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the first real big election after the Boston Massacre, the state's choice was between just about the most liberal Democrat possible and a Colombian anchor baby who never held public office before, both open borders all the way.

Steve Sailer said...

The only complete copy of the famous 10-9 Mazeroski game is Bing Crosby's personal kinescope, which was rediscovered a few years ago:


James Kabala said...

"The networks did NOT save game 7 of the world series?"

Networks liked to erase things in those days.


Anonymous said...

"Interesting series to watch, juxtaposing the Dodgers collection of volatile minorities against the stolid, mostly white guys playing for the Cardinals."

I am tired of all these Dominicans and Cubans in baseball. There were some in the 70's ,but it's getting out of hand.

I think they should all be banned. It's getting to be as bad as soccer with Brazilians on every team in the world.

Play in your own country.

If you want to watch Cubans, move there.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this kind of thing has anything to do with videotape, so much as the steadily increasing scumminess of the kind of people who become professional athletes.

I suppose testosterone and steroid supplements doesn't help matters any.

Saint Louis said...

Some have pointed out the older celebrations where players were mobbed at home plate. But even in those clips, everyone was still on their feet. Some of the ones I've seen in this century look like a bunch of beetles on the ground climbing on eachother for a clusterf-ck.