Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Randy Treadway

Play Ball!

Recommended Posts

August '64

Hey, let's take a break from our World's Fair line-waiting to catch a ball game over at that new Shea Stadium!

64-09-24-27_Main_Entrance_boardwalk.jpg

Great, it looks like we may get to our seat in time to see some of batting practice.

64-09-24-28_Shea_Stadium.jpg

What could be more American? Motherhood, apple pie, Chevrolet, and a Giants game, er.... make that Mets, at the Polo Grounds, er...make that Shea. All these new-fangled teams and stadiums, how are we supposed to keep up?

64-09-24-29_Shea_Stadium.jpg

Closeup: Shea Stadium usher with a bow tie.

64-09-24-29a_Shea_Stadium.jpg

Closeup: pre-game TV interview behind home plate, with a portable fence protecting the cameraman during batting practice. Maybe that's the late Bob Murphy holding the microphone? Who would that visiting team be- the Phillies perhaps? It's either the last week of August or the first week of September, if anybody wants to refer to a 1964 schedule and see who the Mets hosted in that time period, who would have red uniforms.

64-09-24-29b_Shea_Stadium.jpg

Here is a superb COLOR film clip of Bob Murphy interviewing several Mets players at the Polo Grounds in 1963.

Click here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who would that visiting team be- the Phillies perhaps? It's either the last week of August or the first week of September, if anybody wants to refer to a 1964 schedule and see who the Mets hosted in that time period, who would have red uniforms

I don't really know baseball uniforms (and I imagine some were different back then, anyway) but here's a 1964 Mets schedule, if anyone wants to identify them: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teamstats/schedule.php?y=1964&t=NYN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow- the last home game against the Phillies was August 16th- I didn't think these slides were that early.

A double-header agaainst Houston on September 7th is a possibility- I'll have to check what their away uniforms looked like in 1964. All the other visiting teams had uniforms which are not even close, until the Cardinals rolled into town on September 22nd. But I didn't think these slides were that LATE either.

Thanks for the link to the schedule xolo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the book Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century by Marc Okkonen, the Philadelphia Phillies were the only National League team with red hats in 1964...

1964_NL_Uniforms.jpg

© Marc Okkonen

Best Regards,

Kevin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I guess these pictures must have been shot August 14th, 15th or 16th.

(and the same photographer shot those Olympic Trials weightlifting pictures about a week later).

Maybe he was enrolled as a student in that two-week long Adelphi masters class in economics (he's the same one who took the classroom picture).

Since he was a high school teacher in Indiana, he probably had to be home by Labor Day to get ready for the fall semester.

I should have remembered that the Cardinals still had blue hats in '64- they won the World Series that year (beating the Yankees, as Eric can attest ).

Kevin I'll bet the pages in that book are not so "simple" for the last few years as they were for 1964!

Some of today's teams seem to have a different uniform for every day of the week, both in a road version and a home version, with even further versions and combinations for special occasions whenever the mood strikes them (like if it's Chinese leap year). The real reason is to drive up merchandise sales to the fans & collectors, who think they have to have everything.

The Oakland A's started it in the 70's with their white "Sunday uniforms".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kevin I'll bet the pages in that book are not so "simple" for the last few years as they were for 1964!

Despite its title, the book stops at 1991 (so it's not quite a complete history of the "20th Century") - but even by 1991 there were already a number of teams using alternate home and road uniforms. The A's and White Sox seemed to be the biggest culprits, but what baseball fan could forget those awful yellow Pittsburgh Pirates uni's of the mid-to-late 70's? - With their stupid old-timey flat-top hats! Ughh!

Best Regards,

Kevin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The parking lot in the outfield shown in the second is acually where many of the NY Mets players parked back in the 60's and 70's. I remember hanging out back there after many games trying to get autographs. My how things have changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Despite its title, the book stops at 1991 (so it's not quite a complete history of the "20th Century") - but even by 1991 there were already a number of teams using alternate home and road uniforms. The A's and White Sox seemed to be the biggest culprits, but what baseball fan could forget those awful yellow Pittsburgh Pirates uni's of the mid-to-late 70's? - With their stupid old-timey flat-top hats! Ughh!

Best Regards,

Kevin

Maybe it was because I only saw it on television, and the Pirates' light color might have mixed with the black pinstripes that were ALSO on those horrible uniforms, but the color came out looking more like ochre than yellow.

The Astros had those ugly rainbow uniforms for awhile that made you want to check the color adjustment knob on your TV set. And the Expos had the hideous red, white & blue things.

The Padres had brown as their primary color for a while- that was kind of strange.

I kind of liked the A's in 1973 when every now and then they went with ALL kelly green (hat, shirt, pants, gloves, socks, EVERYTHING except their shoes, which of course were pearly white). They looked like baseball-playing leprechauns swinging a shillelagh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Randy,

I found a great website that features more of Marc Okkonen's work...

(Be sure to look-up the Pirates uni's between 1976-84):

http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/exhibits/online_exhibits/dressed_to_the_nines/database.htm

Yes, I remember the "McPadres" uniforms from the Ray Kroc era, and I vivdly recall (more like burned into my retinas) the Astro's "Third-World-Country Flag" uniform's too.

Best Regards,

Kevin

PS - I believe you'll find the A's all-green "leprechaun" look in 1973...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I note that they're interviewing Phillies player #45 for TV. Checking up a bit shows that that's Frank Thomas, who'd earlier been traded from the Mets. He was a major factor in the Phillies' wins on both Friday and Saturday, so that might indicate that it's either Saturday or Sunday, and they're interviewing him about the previous day's game. I see also that the Mets are warming up their #45, pitcher Ron Locke. Locke pitched relief on Saturday, Aug 15th. Drawing on my limited knowledge of baseball, I'm reasonably certain that once a pitcher is used, he has to rest the next day, even if he just pitched a few innings. Putting those two together, I'd guess this is Saturday, August 15th, 1964.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Relief pitchers can be used many days in a row, and they are sometimes also used to toss "batting practice" before the game starts (I would guess that's what's going on here). Starting pitchers often warm up out in the bullpen before moving to the pitcher's mound as the managers and the umpire exchange lineup cards (this picture doesn't appear to be at that point yet- the groundskeepers are still doing their final grooming after batting practice has been evicted from the batter's box and pitcher's mound).

But your TV interview subject logic seems reasonable enough to probably rule out this being picture being shot on Friday.

If records indicate that any of the three games was a night game, that also might help to narrow it down.

Wayne, do you have the model of that TV camera nailed yet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

xolo, the Phillie warming up near 3rd base (with his back turned, showing us his number), maybe a shortstop?, is #25.

According to your records, did #25 play all three days?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wayne, do you have the model of that TV camera nailed yet?

TK-41, just like the ones at the Fair. Not being from NY, and not having color TV at home, I didn't know the Mets games were broadcast in color at that time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... did #25 play all three days?

I believe #25 of the Phillies that year was CF Tony Gonzalez...

Gonzalez didn't play the first game of the double-header on the 14th, but he did play the second game (2-for-4), as well as the games on the 15th (1-for-5) and 16th (2-for-4).

Best Regards,

Kevin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would love to see if anyone has any photos of Shea's gigantic scoreboard early in 1964. Where the official Mets logo ended up sitting (at the center, top of the scoreboard), they had set up a screen to project slides of player's photos, films etc. I guess logistically, it couldn't work and replaced it with the Mets logo. There is a photo used in an ad in the Mets 1973 yearbook I have (I imagine the ad ran in earlier yearbooks too) of a color photo of a Mets homegame that must be early 1964. They are playing the Milwaukee Braves and the box at the top of the scoreboard does not have the Mets logo but it is kind of grey and empty. I'd love to see a pic of the attempted slide screen in action!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to your records, did #25 play all three days?

I'm getting my information from that page I referenced earlier: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teamstats/schedule.php?y=1964&t=NYN If you click on the date, it shows a score sheet for that game, including who all played. If you click on the team name at the top of the scoresheet, it gives a roster of the team, with the numbers and positions of each player. It's an information-rich layout, but the links are poorly indicated. You have to hunt around and see what can be clicked on.

It might be beneficial to have someone with a better understanding of baseball than myself look at it, as there's perhaps more information to be gleaned from that than is obvious to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If records indicate that any of the three games was a night game, that also might help to narrow it down.

http://www.ballparkwatch.com/stadiums/past/colt_stadium.htm notes that the National League had a rule against Sunday night games in 1964, which applied to all parks except Houston (because it was so hot there). That rules out Sunday. For that matter, the first picture shows a pair of nuns on their way to the ballpark, which probably they wouldn't be doing on Sunday anyway.

Edit: Here we go. It's from retrosheet.org. Their SQL server seems to be broken, and it's serving up data in comma delimited form, but it looks clear enough. Friday and Saturday were night games, Sunday a day game.

"19640814","0","Fri","PHI","NL",116,"NYN","NL",118,"n","",""

"19640815","0","Sat","PHI","NL",117,"NYN","NL",119,"n","",""

"19640816","0","Sun","PHI","NL",118,"NYN","NL",120,"d","",""

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmm......Saturday was a night game , huh?

If Friday was indeed a doubleheader, there was probably one game in the afternoon, and one that night.

This photo is definitely an afternoon game, because the photographer went back into the Fairgrounds after the game to shoot more pictures, and it was just getting to be early dusk at that time.

Sounds like it's either Friday afternoon or Sunday afternoon (with the nuns lessening the likelihood of it being Sunday, and the interview with Friday night hero #45 making it less likely that it is early Friday afternoon).

Somebody's got to give, ladies and gentlemen- in this corner we have #45 of the Phillies, and in the other corner we have Sister Eunice of the Order of the Holy Veal - "let's get ready to rrrrrrumbbbblllllllllle!!!"

The immediately preceding slides are those of the World's Fair Post Office. Does anybody know if the World's Fair Post Office was open on Sundays? I looked close at the front door to try to figure out if it's open, but no luck. But in a couple of the photos people are walking toward the front door. And would they post a Pinkerton guard there, if the P.O. was closed?

That evening, after the game, there is a sequence of four pictures that offer another strong clue- a "special event" at the Philippines pavilion. There are definitely clues that might make the date identifiable in those pics, if somebody has the 1964 Fair calendar for the month of August.

I will try to post those four pictures in a separate PTU topic, before I call it a day tonight (is that a weird oxymoron? )

Somebody else is also welcome to start a PTU poll on the betting odds on the matchup between #45 and Sister Eunice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Upon closer inspection of those pics, there are a few possibilities:

1) I was thinking this was a post-game pic given the infamous late afternoon lShea Stadium shadow (imagine being in the shadowed batters box, having to hit a 100 MPH Nolan Ryan fastball coming from the bright, sunny pitching mound). Also the chalk lines for the base paths and batters box are worn away.

2) HOWEVER, it looks like the players are definitely warming up, hitting fungoes etc. because NO player stays on the field at all after a game unless they are being interviewed like the Phillie player.

3) THUS, this is either a) before a twi-night doubleheader (I miss hearing "come out early for the twi-nighter" coming from Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson). The twi-nighters started at 5:00. Or this might be in between an afternoon double header. Or this is before a night game. According to the Ultimate Mets Database (http://www.ultimatemets.com/metannual.p ... 64&tabno=3), indeed August 14th was a doubleheader.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for my tardiness on this thread! Just to note about "alternate uniforms", they really didn't exist in this era. It wasn't until Charley Finley with the A's in the late 60s and early 70s that that concept started to take off, but in 1964 uniforms were at the height of their traditional phase.

And Frank Thomas being interviewed does not necessarily mean it was because of his heroics in the initial game of the series. Frank had been one of the few bright spots on the Mets in 1962-63, hitting 36 home runs for them that dismal first season which stood as a club record until Dave Kingman in the mid-70s. So the Mets TV crew would have found it natural to interview him before even the first game of the series, which I think means that this happening before the first game on Friday is very likely.

I can check the New York Times historical archive tomorrow night during my library shift and confirm the start times for each game of the series.

BTW, regarding changing uniform styles over the years, I can say that as a Yankee fan, it's nice to know that we're all alone in terms of rock solid stability in that department!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it looks like the Mets did add shadow-boxing to their numerals, which isn't much different than what the Yankees did, adding those white backgrounds behind the numerals. All to make them stand out on TV, in all likelihood. And of course the Mets have played around with all kinds of major color combinations, mixing home shirts with away pants, and vice-versa, black tops (if I remember right) etc.

The Dodgers are another team who has made only minor cosmetic adjustments over the last 40 years.

A couple of years ago they also decided to to switch their road jerseys back to 'Los Angeles' instead of 'Dodgers', which they had sported since 1966. The home jerseys still say 'Dodgers' of course. So the uniforms today look very much like they did in the early 60's.

But even in the intervening decades, adjustments in materials and trim was basically minor cosmetic adjustments. Anybody could look at photos of Fernando Valenzuela or Sandy Koufax or Jackie Robinson- from any era, and instantly recognize the Dodgers uniform.

Same thing with the Yankees.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it looks like the Mets did add shadow-boxing to their numerals, which isn't much different than what the Yankees did, adding those white backgrounds behind the numerals. All to make them stand out on TV, in all likelihood. And of course the Mets have played around with all kinds of major color combinations, mixing home shirts with away pants, and vice-versa, black tops (if I remember right) etc.

Oh sure the Mets did add the shadow. But it is funny that with all the distasteful uniform changes they've made, that the number font has essentially not changed. It is also sad that they barely wear the pinstripes at home anymore despite it being their "official" home uni still. A lot of fans like that they go with the white uniforms because the pinstripes are too Yankee-like. But is their original uni. Maybe the thinking was that with the script and the white uniforms, they'd look too much like the still very missed Brooklyn Dodgers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, at least the Yankee uniform will always be with no name on the home and road. In fact, the Yankees are the only team in MLB that's allowed to have no name on the back of the road unis.

There was a funny story though that in the early 70s, team President Gabe Paul thought of coming up with a new road uniform that would have been the reverse of the home uni. Solid dark blue with white pinstripes and a white NY. But the minute a sketch was made everyone laughed and that was the end (thankfully) of that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×