Friday, October 9, 2009

A Mystery Fit For A Sultan

Over at the New York Times, they have a story about a short bit of footage of Babe Ruth that recently was discovered by an elderly man some among home videos in New Hampshire and donated the Major League Baseball Film and Video Archive (where our buddy Schiff is currently working):
The latest Babe Ruth film, unseen publicly until now, is part of a 90-second clip shot from the first-base stands at Yankee Stadium. There is no sound. But there are sweeping views of the park. And there is Ruth, obvious by his shape and waddle.

He is shown in right field, hands on his knees, glove on his right hand. To a casual fan, it appears unremarkable. But it represents the archive’s only game action of Ruth playing in the outfield — where he spent more than 2,200 games — other than a between-innings game of catch.
According to the article, there is no known film of Ruth pitching for Boston or doing anything more than warming up to pitch for the Yankees, either. Only a very small amount of footage of Ruth is know to exist (about an hour's worth), and given his immense popularity and the scarcity of it, when a new piece turns up, it's a pretty big deal.

Even though the film comes with no date and no sound, they've been able to deduce a decent amount of clues from it, based on the flag pole in centerfield, dimensions of and advertisements the outfield walls, lack of numbers on the jerseys, time of day, size of the crowd, positioning of the Yankees' dugout, batter on deck and the fact that Ruth struck out looking.

There's some interesting discussion starting over here on the Bats blog (and as always over here) as to what the footage can tell us, but the archivists think that it might be from one of the first two games of the 1928 World Series against the Cardinals. You can watch just the original film at the Bats Blog or a report about the MLB Archive with the main article. Check it out.

1 comment:

  1. Seen this linked in a couple different places but it's really freaking cool. Crazy how much people are able to determine. It must be nice to have access to all that old video...