Monday, November 25, 2013
Video find: Jim Maloney's 1965 no-hitter
By David Schoenfield
This is pretty cool: The final three innings of Jim Maloney's 10-inning no-hitter for the Reds against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in 1965. The video is in color and includes the final three innings of the game as well as the commmercials and postgame interview with Maloney. Al Yellon of the Bleed Cubbie Blue blog writes,
It was very, very rare to have anything videotaped in color in 1965; this is likely the earliest surviving color videotape of a baseball game, and is likely among the oldest surviving color videotapes of any television.
You can see that WGN-TV was using just four cameras in that era. There were two cameras behind the plate (one at field level, one in the upper deck), another in the upper deck behind third base, and the center-field shot. Still, they were able to cover the action quite well. There were none of what we consider staples of today's telecasts: crowd shots or closeups of players before the action, and virtually no graphics, not even a score graphic. The score was shown by a shot of the scoreboard at the end of each half-inning.
In the video, you can see Pete Rose batting with a crew cut but without a helmet. You can see Frank Robinson with the Reds and Billy Williams, Ernie Banks and Ron Santo with the Cubs. Maloney was a hard-throwing right-hander who earlier in the season had lost a no-hitter in the 11th inning on a home run. He would throw a second no-hitter in 1969. Against the Cubs, he walked 10 and struck out 12; he threw 186 pitches, which we know since announcer Jack Brickhouse twice mentioned his pitch count.
Bruce Markusen has a nice writeup of the video and the two teams over at The Hardball Times:
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.
I'm always fascinated by how baseball slowly changes through the years. The uniforms and lack of batting helmets are the obvious differences, but note as well the pitching motions of the starters. From the windup, Jackson still used the old windmill style where the pitcher brings both arms behind him as he starts his delivery. Maloney used a similar windup as well as an exaggerated effort of raising his arms above his head. With so many moving parts to his delivery, you can see why Maloney's control was an issue throughout his career.
Still, he was a very good pitcher. From 1963 to 1969 he went 117-60 with a 2.90 ERA and 125 ERA+. Over those six seasons he ranked sixth in the majors in strikeouts and third in wins, behind only Juan Marichal and Bob Gibson. Injuries shortened his career. Jackson was an interesting guy as well; he won 194 games in his career and retired after the 1968 season in which he went 13-17 with a 2.77 ERA. He had been selected in the expansion draft but chose to return to Idaho, where he became a sportswriter and then served four teams in the Idaho House of Representatives.
Two more final notes. Brickhouse pointed out that Maloney had played on the same American Legion team as Dick Ellsworth, a Cubs pitcher of that generation who won 115 games. Both attended Fresno High School. Neither, however, was even the best pitcher from Fresno High School of that era: Tom Seaver was a few years younger than those two.
Finally, in the bottom of the ninth, Cubs manager Lou Klein let Jackson hit with two outs and two runners on. Brickhouse didn't act like it was a big deal. Jackson was hitting .118 at the time and was a career .156 hitter, so it's not like he was good-hitting pitcher. The Cubs' bench was horrible and Klein probably didn't trust the bullpen, but still seems a little strange. But just another sign of how the game has changed.