Bing Crosby's Wine Cellar Yields Classic Tape of 1960 World Series

Only known copy of "best game ever"

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Sep 24, 2010  |  Updated 5:33 AM PDT
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AP

Crooner Bing Crosby, right, Pittsburgh Pirates owner, is shown with Honus Wagner, Pirates Hall of Famer and coach, at an exhibition game in Pittsburgh, Pa., April 14, 1947. (AP Photo)

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Hardcore baseball fans know Game 7 of the 1960 World Series was one of the best ever played, with the Pittsburgh Pirates besting the mighty Yankees 10-9 on a walkoff homer by light-hitting Bill Mazeroski.

But unless they were around to see it, they only know about it from books. Neither NBC, which broadcasted the classic, nor Major League Baseball, had a video of the game. But one has been found, in the wine cellar once owned by Bing Crosby, a part-owner of the Pirates who was too nervous to watch the game live, according to The New York Times.

Crosby, who died in 1977, paid a company to film the game by kinescope and after he viewed the footage it sat for 50 years in an old wine cellar in his San Francisco home. He and his wife Kathryn went to Paris and litened over the radio so he "wouldn't jinx" his favorite team, she recounted years later.

“We were in this beautiful apartment, listening on shortwave, and when it got close Bing opened a bottle of Scotch and was tapping it against the mantel,” Kathryn Crosby said. “When Mazeroski hit the home run, he tapped it hard; the Scotch flew into the fireplace and started a conflagration. I was screaming and Nonie said, ‘It’s very nice to celebrate things, but couldn’t we be more restrained?’"

Robert bader, vice president for marketing and production for Bing Crosby Enterprises, found the black and white reels while combing hrough tapes of Crosby's TV appearances. After viewing the game, broadcast by legendary announcers Mel Allen and Bob Prince, he contacted Major League Baseball. The game will soon be put on DVD and will be replayed on television in December in a special to be hosted by Bob Costas. It will be the first time it's been broadcast since the game, the subject of a book called "The Best Game Ever," by Jim Reisler, was played.

“It was such a unique game to begin with. It was back and forth, back and forth," Pirate shortstop Dick Groat said about game 7 recently. "It was unbelievable.”

Selected Reading: The New York Times, popmatters.com, IMDb.

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