Amazing Video from 1934
NYY vs Phil --- jaw-dropping quality


At Bill James Online, a reader sent in to Hey Bill and posted this YouTube link:  It has 13 minutes' worth of the NYY ballgame and the video quality looks to me circa 1955.  

(I had thought the first TV broadcast was of Hitler, ergo the late 30's, so have no idea who was recording this, how, etc.  Maybe a Denizen can enlighten?)

At 12:20 is some footage of the Babe and the spry Lou Gehrig.


The reader asked if anything stood out to James about the play.  We might play the same theme, everybody tossing in their own answer to that.

A couple of mine:

(1) To me the players look quick, athletic, and competent.  They're very light on their feet, though they don't run explosively and powerfully the way today's stars often do.

(2) The swings are practically cookie-cutter.  Almost everybody has a KBIZLT swing in the sense that the bat is on the plane of the pitch a long time.  The hands are low to start with, there is a huge backswing, and often the batter twirls around and almost falls down after the swing.

That's not to confuse the situation with tons of power.  The long strides are, by today's standards, disconnected from the bat load and the torque is less.  Or so it seems to me.

Remember that the strikeout rates are very low.  That's despite this swing that would be impossible to deploy nowadays.  Very suggestive that the pitchers are throwing 86 or something.

(3) The starting pitchers use much less "load," or so it appears, and watching them you can certainly buy into the idea that they "saved their best stuff for a pinch."

(4) Babe is ahead of his time, for example in the still head, the torque he generates, the hip turn, the smoothness and explosiveness of his motion, etc.  The same goes for Gehrig.  (Notice that the Athletic right before Babe in the video has a crazy swing.  LOL.)

Incidentally, Teddy Ballgame would have hated the 18" that Babe gave away in the box.  They say Cobb did this too and sometimes Junior experimented with it.  One oldtimer said the idea was to catch the curve before the break.)

Those are my hot takes.  What a cool video.  Yours?




:- ) A little mnemonic from James on Twitter:  "Yusei Kikuchi, I say Kikachi"




Does this mean we can call it Babing it down the line?

I think that's CF Earl Combs (uni#1) and Red Ruffing? #15 were the other Yankees swings I appreciated.  Yes it's Earl Combs, George Selkirk also wore #1 that year but wasn't in the game. Red Ruffing was the starting pitcher and they're both HoF so I guess I did well. Frankie Crosetti (7:53-8:23) hit the HR in that 1-0 game and was another NYY #1 starting in '37 but was wearing #5 that year.  

#28 for Oakland had a good swing as well, Frankie Hayes.  I didn't particularly notice Jimmy Foxx who was the A's 1b that day. 

That was the year Gehrig slugged .706 but he was at .368 the end of that day.  All of 26 PA in.

Lots of max effort hitters there, I didn't even realize that was a thing. 

tjm's picture

Look at where the pitchers are warming up at 5:40. Man, there's a mile of foul ground behind home plate.

And who knew La Guardia was so short.

The SC archive labels the source as Fox Movietone News Story - a newsreel. Would have been shot on a 35 mm Movietone camera like this one:

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