MLB Classics on YouTube: Looking back on great games


When YouTube appeared in 2005, it instantly became one of the most popular websites on the Internet.  And since then, thousands of video clips, most of them homemade by individual users (with some notable exceptions), have been uploaded to the site.  Later, commercial entities would begin uploading their copyrighted material, such that it is now rare for a certain song or event, documented by video, to NOT be found.

Among many of these user-uploaded clips were recorded broadcasts of Major League Baseball games.  According to Grantland writer Jonah Keri, in his wonderful piece published last Friday, MLB was the only American pro sports league who was very extremely vigilant in keeping unauthorized uploads of game content off YouTube.  Although the league posted videos on its own website, these were usually just highlight clips – full length broadcasts were generally unavailable.

However, a couple years ago, Major League Baseball Advanced Media began posting full-length broadcasts of historically important games from the era of televised games, which were initially only viewable in select countries outside North America – Australia, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, and Russia.

But now, with absolutely no previous announcement, selected full game broadcast videos – ranging from Game 6 of the 1952 (!!) World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees; to Game 4 of the 2007 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies – have been made available for (apparently) worldwide viewing from a dedicated YouTube channel, MLB Classics.  (Inexplicably, none of the games of the 2008 Series have yet been made available, while World Series games from 2009 forward are under a different, official MLB user ID.)

There are numerous games now available for casual watching or trips down baseball Memory Lane, which can make for an interesting timekiller – World Series broadcasts; All-Star Games; perfect games and no-hitters; games where significant records have been broken; and some games of a more esoteric nature.  Some of the better games to watch:

1999 All-Star Game, Boston

What makes this one a classic is the presentation of the All-Century Team,  and the great reception and love the players and Red Sox fans gave to “Teddy Ballgame,” the incomparable Ted Williams.

And speaking of a player who should be in the Hall of Fame:

Padres vs. Reds, Cincinnati, September 11, 1985

4192.  Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb’s long-standing career hits record.

1952 World Series Game 6, Brooklyn

This is apparently the earliest full game broadcast in the MLB Classics vault — or, at least the earliest one they have uploaded so far.  Watching this broadcast also goes to show that thanks to 60 years of technological innovation in sports broadcasting, we have become very, very spoiled.

1976 World Series Game 4, New York

1990 World Series Game 4, Oakland

These two games have a couple of things in common:  First they are both sweeps by the Reds — one by the original Big Red Machine over the Yankees, who were making their first Fall Classic appearance since 1964, the other by the “Nasty Boys” Red Machine over the “Bash Brothers” A’s, who were heavy favorites.  Second, and more trivially, the last out in each game is made by a Reds lefthanded pitcher whose last name begins with M (Will McEnaney in ’76; Randy Myers in ’90).  (Note:  The 1976 game broadcast is in color.)

2001 World Series Game 7, Phoenix

In which Aura and Mystique were roundly given the bum’s rush by the young Diamondbacks in a Series for the ages.

And since there’s been a couple of links featuring the comeuppance of the Evil Empire; in the name of equal time, we offer:

1977 World Series Game 6, New York

“Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!

1978 American League East Playoff, Boston

Hello, long-suffering Red Sox Nation…meet the otherwise light-hitting Bucky F-ing Dent.  And then there’s:

1986 World Series Game 6, New York

Two words:  Bill Buckner.

And speaking of infamy:

Royals vs. Yankees, New York, July 24, 1983

Two more words:  Pine Tar.  Watch George Brett melt down.

2002 World Series Game 7, Anaheim

One for Angel fans.  Never underestimate the power of a Rally Monkey armed with ThunderStix.

And of course, some of the greatest walk-off home runs in baseball history are now available in the context of their games:

1993 World Series Game 6, Toronto

Joe Carter’s walk-off shot off Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams, which kept the title of MLB champs north of the border for what would ultimately be two more seasons, since the 1994 Series was wiped out by a players’ strike.

1975 World Series Game 6, Boston

If you listen real close at the end, you can hear the Fenway stadium organist playing the “Hallelujah!” Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.  On the other hand, this Red Sox win only tied the Series at three games each; the Reds would come back the next night and win Game 7.

And finally…

1988 World Series Game 1, Los Angeles

“In a year that has been so improbable, the IMPOSSIBLE has happened!”

But it must be admitted that one of the coolest MLB clips comes not from MLB Classics’ vault, but from a user, “TellyFarnsworth”:

1989 World Series Game 3, San Francisco

“I’ll tell you what, we’re having an earth…”  (Listen for the rising cheers of the crowd right before the picture goes to snow.)

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