Cooperstown Confidential: The tale of the tape in 1965

A videotape recently rediscovered by Chicago writer Al Yellon has given us a glimpse into what baseball was like nearly 50 years ago. Yellon located a videotape from Jim Maloney’s 1965 no-hitter against the Cubs, and while it’s not the new discovery that some observers have promoted it to be, it is a WGN broadcast that has not received much circulation since the mid-1960s.

The footage, in full color, does not encompass the entire game, but it does contain the eighth, ninth and 10th innings of Maloney’s walk-filled masterpiece. There is enough substance here to tell us about both the sport in 1965 and the way that it was televised 48 years ago.

In watching the late innings of this game from Wrigley Field, I’m first struck by the Reds’ road uniforms, specifically the backs of their jerseys. I love their old jerseys, with the player’s name listed below the number. I cannot recall another team doing this. It’s unusual, a little bit offputting at first, but very cool.

The Reds’ caps might also cause a double take. I’ve become used to Cincinnati wearing red caps and helmets, but back in the ’60s, the Reds opted for a white crown atop a red bill. Additionally, we see that some of the Reds are stepping to the plate wearing those same caps instead of their helmets; the rules of the day allowed players that choice, with helmets not becoming mandatory until 1971.

In contrast, the Cubs’ home uniforms, with their traditional and comfortable blue pinstripes, offer a breath of familiarity. They look practically identical to what the team wears today, except for two factors. First, the flannel uniforms are loose and baggy, as was the style of the day, while today‘s player wears more tight-fitting polyester. Second, the players of 1965 are wearing their uniforms properly: with the stirrups and socks clearly visible, instead of the awful pajama look that has become all too popular in today’s game.

As the game footage unfolds in the eighth inning, the pace of the game becomes readily apparent. The two starting pitchers work far more quickly than their counterparts today, at least when there is no one on base. The Cubs’ Larry Jackson does become a bit fidgety when Maloney reaches base on a single to right, but he is still nowhere near the legendarily slow pace of future Cub Steve Trachsel. Once Jackson receives the sign from his catcher, he is generally ready to throw. If only today’s pitchers would learn.

In the bottom of the eighth, Maloney surrenders a leadoff walk on a 3-and-2 pitch to Jackson; the ball might have hit the backstop if not for a nifty grab by catcher Johnny Edwards. But there’s something more interesting developing in this half-inning. With a runner on base, Maloney does not appear to come to a full stop before delivering pitches to the plate. In today’s game, we could have seen multiple balks called against the blazing right-hander.

In the top of the ninth, Pete Rose leads off for the Reds. Like many of the hitters in this era, he warms up by swinging two bats before discarding one. (The weighted doughnut had not yet been popularized.) Rose also steps to the plate wearing a cap, and not the helmet that he wore throughout the ’70s. This is the first time that I recall seeing Rose step to the plate without a helmet, but that’s exactly what he did throughout the 1965 season.

After Rose reaches on an error by Ernie Banks, Vada Pinson puts down a bunt single. With runners on first and second and no one out, Frank Robinson and Gordy Coleman both appear to hit home runs, but a stiff Wrigley Field wind, estimated at about 15 miles an hour, keeps both long flies within the confines. The Reds’ threat then comes to an end when Deron Johnson chops a routine grounder to the sure-handed Ron Santo at third base.

With the game still scoreless, the Cubs take their turn in the bottom of the ninth. Ever erratic, Maloney clips Santo in the shoulder, putting the leadoff runner aboard. Maloney then adds to the mess by walking Ed Bailey on a 3-2 pitch.

But the Cubs show their offensive ineptitude when Glenn Beckert fails to lay down a sacrifice bunt and pinch-hitting Jimmy Stewart lofts a short fly ball to Pinson. With two outs and the winning run at second, Cubs manager Lou Klein allows Jackson to hit for himself; remarkably, Jackson works out a walk to load the bases. Now visibly drenched in sweat, which is plainly evident even on footage that is less than HD quality, Maloney manages to end the threat by retiring Don Landrum on a weak pop-up to shortstop.

In the top of the 10th, the Reds start mildly with Edwards’ infield grounder, but the tenor changes quickly. Leo Cardenas, the eighth-place hitter, swings at the first pitch and wallops a high fastball deep into the left field corner. Doug Clemens gives chase, but we lose sight him of as he drifts into the corner, obscured by the left field stands. We can barely see the ball clear the wall before bouncing off a screen above the outfield barrier and then caroming back into the field of play. It’s a solo home run for the bony-limbed Cardenas, who weighs all of about 155 pounds but is on his way to an 11-home run season.

Bolstered by a sudden lead of 1-0, Maloney begins the bottom of the 10th precariously by walking the light-hitting Clemens. He then falls behind Billy Williams, 3-and-1, but retires the Hall of Famer on a lazy fly to Tommy Harper in left field. And then Banks, swinging at the first pitch, bounces a tailor-made ground ball to Cardenas, who initiates an easy 6-4-3 twin killing to bring a sudden end to the dramatics. Finishing the game with over 180 pitches thrown, Maloney has completed the unlikely no-hitter.

Aside from the game itself, let’s make some observations about the two teams in 1965. Despite the trio of longtime stars (Santo, Banks and Williams), the Cubs did not have a good ballclub. They had two forgettable journeymen in the outfield that day, Landrum and Clemens, backed up by George Altman. Their rookie shortstop, Don Kessinger, hit only .201 in what amounted to his worst major league season. Chicago’s two catchers, Bailey and Vic Roznovsky, provided little offense and little foreshadowing of the defense that Randy Hundley would eventually provide.

Of Chicago’s four main starting pitchers, no one posted an ERA under 3.60. And the bullpen, outside of old reliables Ted Abernathy and Lindy McDaniel, offered little depth. It was no wonder the Cubs were on their way to losing 90 games and had already changed managers in midseason.

While the Cubs struggled that summer, the Reds prospered, at least relatively speaking. The 1965 Reds had one terrific lineup: Harper and Rose setting the table for a heavy-hitting middle of the order (featuring Pinson, Robinson, Coleman and Johnson), with the respectable duo of Johnny Edwards and Cardenas batting eighth and ninth. The Reds did not have a weak link at any point in their lineup.

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Rather than relying strictly on one dimension, the ‘65 Reds boasted a nice blend of offensive talents. Dick Sisler’s team had speed (Harper, Rose and Pinson), high average hitters (Rose, Pinson and Robinson), left-handed power (Pinson, Coleman and Edwards) and right-handed power (Robinson, Johnson, and Cardenas). It was a lineup that could have competed with the deep, power-packed lineups of recent memory.

On paper, the Reds’ lineup gave them the appearance of a pennant winner. Yet, the ’65 Reds won only 89 games and finished a distant fourth, well behind the pennant-winning Dodgers. So how do we explain the Reds’ lack of relevancy? Simple. It was largely because there wasn’t much starting pitching beyond Maloney and 22-game winner Sammy Ellis, and little of consequence in the bullpen.

Maloney, however, was very good. On this particular day against the Cubs, he had electric stuff, with both his fastball and curve ball crackling. His stuff was so good that he had absolutely no idea where his fastball was going. Hence, he walked 10 batters and hit one, making this one of the more eventful no-hitters in memory.

I’ve heard some fans comment that pitchers from the ’60s did not seem to throw with as much exertion as today’s hurlers, and therefore did not throw as hard. That may have been true of some pitchers in 1965, but certainly not Maloney. Although no radar gun was in evidence at Wrigley Field, it looked like Maloney was throwing very hard, easily upwards of 95 miles per hour. He certainly wasn’t soft-tossing junk that afternoon in the Chicago sunshine.

Maloney’s workload that day was also noteworthy, and quite shocking, at least by today’s standards. Thanks to all of the walks and strikeouts, he threw a total of 187 pitches over 10 innings. That would never happen today, and probably won’t ever happen again as long as pitchers’ contracts remain in the seven-figure salary range. While 187 pitches was probably one of Maloney’s highest totals ever, it may not have been that much out of the ordinary. A true workhorse, Maloney likely threw his share of 140 to 150-pitch games. Yes, it was a completely different game in the 1960s.

The Reds’ lack of pitching depth motivated general manager Bill DeWitt to make the infamous Frank Robinson trade that winter. The Reds sent Robinson to the Orioles for right-handers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and spare outfielder Dick Simpson. DeWitt hoped that Pappas could move into the No. 2 slot in the rotation behind Maloney, and while he didn’t pitch terribly in Cincinnati, he quite obviously lacked the impact of Robinson in Baltimore. Pappas fell into mediocrity, while Robinson was on the verge of padding his Hall of Fame resume with a Triple Crown in 1966 and several additional fine seasons that would catapult the Orioles into frequent postseason appearances.

While the actual baseball and the ability to visualize the players is the most interesting part of the 1965 WGN footage, there is also the pertinent issue of television coverage. It was radically different from today’s more sophisticated and overproduced broadcasts. WGN used only four cameras in covering the game. The station employed a center field camera, just like today’s practice, but also featured a camera behind the plate, offset a bit to the left.

I love this additional angle, which gave us a glance into what the batter was seeing as the pitch is delivered. The camera was smartly placed at field level, and not elevated, giving us a sense of being on the field next to the players. I wish that more of today’s television networks would give us this perspective from behind the screen, as a way of changing up what we always see from the center field angle.

With four cameras, the broadcast was much simpler. Additionally, there were virtually no graphics, other than a basic stamp that identified each batter. The Wrigley Field scoreboard was used to update the score at the end of each half-inning. Thankfully, there were no crowd shots (badly overdone in today’s coverage), with the producers and the broadcasters placing the entire emphasis on the game itself.

Similarly, close-ups of players were rarely used, so that we can enjoy the tapestry of the entire field and the natural attractiveness of Wrigley Field. Another plus was the relative lack of commentary by the two broadcasters, Lloyd Pettit and Jack Brickhouse. They didn’t talk constantly, didn’t overanalyze each pitch and play, and basically allowed the game to breathe.

If there was one drawback to the WGN broadcast, it was the paucity of replays. We’re spoiled today, thanks to having repeat opportunities to watch standout or controversial plays, but replay was still in its infancy in 1965 and used very selectively.

The WGN footage lasts only an hour, but it provides a treasure trove of information. As a rabid historian of the game, I love chronicling earlier generations of baseball; thanks to the WGN videotape, we now have a much clearer picture of what baseball looked like in the middle of the 1960s, how it was played, and how it was covered by the burgeoning television industry.

For those who believe baseball never changes, well, you’ll need to take another look at the videotape.


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Bruce Markusen is the manager of Digital and Outreach Learning at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He has authored seven baseball books, including biographies of Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Ted Williams, and A Baseball Dynasty: Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s, which was awarded SABR's Seymour Medal.
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gdc
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gdc

“the respectable duo of Johnny Edwards and Cardenas batting eighth and ninth”

Sure have gotten used to the DH rule.

Vinnie
Guest
Vinnie
No obnoxious mascots, flashing scoreboards, blaring music and the smell of cigar smoke let you know you were at a ball game. As for the helmets. They were required to wear one of those old pots, or to have a liner inside the cap which accounts for why the hats all looked so well shaped. Great summary and you touched all the right points, especially how overdone games are today and how annoying to have the announcers constantly interject themselves as though they were part of the game itself. Of course, this excludes some of the notorious homers of those… Read more »
bucdaddy
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bucdaddy
As the game footage unfolds in the eighth inning, the pace of the game becomes readily apparent. The two starting pitchers work far more quickly than their counterparts today, at least when there is no one on base. The Cubs’ Larry Jackson does become a bit fidgety when Maloney reaches base on a single to right, but he is still nowhere near the legendarily slow pace of future Cub Steve Trachsel. Once Jackson receives the sign from his catcher, he is generally ready to throw. If only today’s pitchers would learn.—- I have the DVD of Game 7 of the… Read more »
Bill Yoder
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Bill Yoder
Thanks so much for sharing this.  For me, it brings back a personal memory of a long-gone era:  though I was 11 years old and about 700 miles away in Connecticut, I vividly remember listening to this game on the radio.  After my parents thought that I had gone to sleep, I habitually played with the old tube radio in my bedroom to try to tune in to distant ball games.  Imagine my thrill when I was able to hear, through the static, the last few innings of a no-hitter!!  After listening to this game, I was convinced for many… Read more »
Jim
Guest
Jim
Yes, that was the beginning of the end of enjoyable televised baseball games, for all the reasons you state in the last few paragraphs.  When there was no replay, you had to actually watch the game and not be playing with your phone or eating or leaving the room, etc.  You got more of a feel of being there and not being sold something.  Every shot they give you today has a sponsor for it.  It’s hard to separate the actual game from the sales pitches.  After growing up during this era (actually earlier), I get too disgusted with the… Read more »
David
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David

How about the NBC Game of the Week?  Before the over-saturation of baseball on tv, this was really special.  And if the pace of today’s game was the same as back then, they wouldn’t have to pan the crowd between pitches.

Yoder, those tube radios were fantastic.  I also grew up in Connecticut, and could get Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati and St. Louis on mine.

Ken Schmidt
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Ken Schmidt

Thanks for the interesting article. While it’s true that starting pitchers went deep into games more often back then, they also came out earlier more often. For example the 1965 Reds starters faced 36 or more batters 26 times versus just one time for the 2013 Cincinnati team. But they also faced 19 or fewer batters 34 times versus 10 times in 2013

Bill Yoder
Guest
Bill Yoder
Obviously my memory was faulty. Obviously, I could have listened to any game played at Wrigley Field on the radio late at night in 1965—there were no lights at Wrigley until at least a decade later.  Yet I clearly remember Maloney throwing a no hitter through 10 innings.  Obviously, the game that i remember listening to was the masterpiece that Maloney pitched against the Mets at Crosley Field earlier that summer.  In that game, Maloney threw a complete game of 11 innings and allowed no hits over the first ten innings.  But Johnny Lewis of the Mets hit a homer… Read more »
Dave Cornutt
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Dave Cornutt
For decades the rule about coming to a stop when pitching out of the stretch was seldom enforced by umpires.  “Bouncing out” of the stretch was routine.  I recall many pitchers of the ‘70s doing it, even though it was already controversial then.  Baseball finally made an effort to crack down in 1988, with a rule change and an emphasis for umpires, resulting in a gazillion balks being called in the first half of that season.  But that solved the problem eventually. Replay was rare in 1965 because the videodisk-recording systems that were used for replays in the 1970s and… Read more »
dennis Bedard
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dennis Bedard
Nice video.  I noticed two interesting things.  One, the way the fans are dressed.  A lot of white shirts and ties and dresses on the ladies.  You almost expect to see the Mad Men crew taking the afternoon off to watch the game.  Second, after Maloney reaches base, he puts on a warm up jacket.  I have always thought this practice to be odd.  It looks like it is 85 degrees outside.  Is a jacket going to keep his arm from going cold?  And if he had struck out instead of getting a hit, would he have put the jacket… Read more »
Detroit Michael
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Detroit Michael

No replay on the home run, the game’s only run, but it might have been because they didn’t have a better angle.

Odd (from our perspective) that the Cubs pinch-hit for the shortstop in the bottom of the 9th inning of a scoreless game with runners on base but then didn’t pinch hit for the starting pitcher.

Detroit Michael
Guest
Detroit Michael

No replay on the home run, the game’s only run, but it might have been because they didn’t have a better angle.

Odd (from our perspective) that the Cubs pinch-hit for the shortstop in the bottom of the 9th inning of a scoreless game with runners on base but then didn’t pinch hit for the starting pitcher.

John C
Guest
John C
Actually, the worst thing the ‘65 Reds had going for them wasn’t their pitching, it was just plain bad luck. By pythag, the Reds should have finished 93-69, in first place in the league, a game ahead of the Dodgers and Pirates and two up on the Giants. The decision made by the team to trade some hitting for pitching did seem to make sense. The Reds scored 825 runs that season in the middle of a pitchers’ era, leading the league by 117. (The 2013 Red Sox, an offensive powerhouse in their own right, only led the AL by… Read more »
baseball fan
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baseball fan

MLB offers a large array of world series (all full games, not highlights) of 75, 85, 86, 87, 91, etc. These series illustrate the marked difference of baseball, then and now.

dennis Bedard
Guest
dennis Bedard
RE:  baseball fan:  You are more prescient than you know.  I watched game 5 of the ‘69 series between the Mets and Orioles.  I was not really paying attention to Curt Gowdy but checking the visuals for some esoteric oddity that would pique my curiosity.  Paul Blair was batting in the top of the 3rd and I swore that Gowdy said something to the effect that “this boy can hit.”  I replayed it and sure enough, he used the racially offensive term.  Back then, calling a black man a “boy” was the equivalent of uttering the noxious “N” word.  But… Read more »
John Furdyna
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John Furdyna

I’ve also watched plenty of vintage television broadcasts from the 1960’sand love the simplicity of them. Yes, it was about about the game at hand, no promotion or BS needed.
RE: Dennis Bedard – Gowdy and others freely used the term ‘boy’ to refer to any player then. It was not meant to be and was not a slur of any kind.

Marc Schneider
Guest
Marc Schneider
Agree with John.  Gowdy referred to all players as boys.  It probably would have been better for him not to do it but I never heard anyone take issue with Gowdy for being a racist. This is similar in a way to the Howard Cosell incident when he referred to a football player, I believe Mike Garrett, as a “little monkey” for the way he ran and people took it to be a racial slur when it was clearly not (Cosell, for whatever his flaws, was obviously not a racist.) I There is no doubt that the skills of the… Read more »
Cory
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Cory
Three points: 1. In those days that left field corner in Wrigley was called the blind corner because none of their cameras could get a good angle on it. Before he was traded Lou Brock had all sorts of problems playing those caroms. Maybe the Cubs should have been more patient with him. 2. That wasn’t a stellar Cubs team by any measure. That was the team that Koufax pitched a perfect game against in September where the Cubs pitcher, Bob Hendley pitched a one hitter. Arguably the greatest pitched game by both pitchers of all-time. If not certainly in… Read more »
Jim
Guest
Jim

I finally got around to watching this snippet.  I thought it interesting that the Allstate Insurance commercial stated that one could save $20 to $40 per year by switching.  Later that day, on live tv, they told me $498 savings.  Another indication of how things are different.

Dennis Bedard
Guest
Dennis Bedard
Re:  Jim.  There is a well worn French phrase:  plus ca la change, plus ca la meme chose.  The more things change the more they remain the same.  That Allstate ad of 1965 is as full of BS as the one running today.  Re:  Cory.  I posted something a year ago about Koufax and Hendley in reference to records that will never be broken.  A more astute reader retorted that there was a game in the 20’s I l believe where both pitchers threw no hitters through nine innings.  He provided a link to the box score.  You can search… Read more »
Vinnie
Guest
Vinnie
For those readers who didn’t grow up in the 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s, you’re probably not even aware of a few facts that we all took for granted back then. Examples. A boy could be a term for a young man or a description of a good ole boy in the Dizzy Dean vernacular. It could also be used to describe a man of color, who were also referred to as Negroes, or mulattoes, or Octoons depending on the number of colored parents and grandparents they had. Today, a drop of blood can qualify one as “black”. What’s really… Read more »
jj
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jj

Maloney, it should be noted, only threw 200+ IP 5 times in his 12 year career. And was basically done at age 29 – lots of arm issues, although his final injury was apparently an Achilles tear.

Kaptain K
Guest
Kaptain K
Thanks for posting . I grew up a huge Reds fan , to see Frank Robinson with the Reds is very cool !! Never got to see him play for the Reds !! Saw too many with Baltimore .. Seeing Pete Rose without a helmet ? and Vada Pinson , was he fast !?! Made my day seeing those Uniforms . I hope there is more 1965 Reds games out there !! Thanks . 1965 was a good year .. until the Reds traded Frank Robinson for a pitcher – Milt Pappas .. Better days were in Chicago than Cincy… Read more »
Marc Schneider
Guest
Marc Schneider
Vinnie, I agree with you to an extent.  I think perhaps we get too hung up with “racial insensitivity.”  Growing up in the South, I saw a lot more than insensitivity. But, with all due respect, you have a pretty skewed view of the history of words and your comments simply make no sense.  Words have power.  Just because people used words like “dago” to refer to Italian players in the 40s doesn’t mean we should do it today.  People also discriminated against Italians in many aspects-Vince Lombardi, who was not exactly a crybaby, was convinced it took him a… Read more »
Vinnie
Guest
Vinnie
Hello Marc, I know having served with and having many friends from the south, I know how attitudes and prejudice can run deep. I also know that it can be overcome by friendship and getting to know others and finding the things we hold in common instead of the things that separate us. What I also learned is when you take the time to know someone, to care and be friends with them, part of the give and take between young boys growing up and even men is the testing to see if someone can take it before they’re fully… Read more »
mando3b
Guest
mando3b
I saw this broadcast live at the time, at least the end of it. I turned the game on after coming home from school (as I always did). I remember being really, really, pissed off. It wasn’t the time I gouged a chunk out of the living room wall by throwing something in my irritation (that was when the Cubs blew a big lead late vs. the Astros . . . ), but I know I must have done something obnoxious. Imagine my mood now, nearly 50 years later, and still no World Series. In a side note, think how… Read more »
Marc Rettus
Guest
Marc Rettus

In regard to crowd shots, and Arne Harris; “He was arguably one of the first directors to show crowd shots. Harris was known for having cameras shoot into the crowd, so viewers could look for friends and family in attendance.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arne_Harris

Anyone remember Arne’s famous “Hat Shots?”

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