Thirty-three years after his death, Tacoma-born and Spokane-raised crooner/actor Bing Crosby has baseball fans and historians excited about his "new" film on The Best Game Ever Played - the 1960 World Series between the New York Yankees and the team he co-owned, the Pittsburgh Pirates. The five-reel, black-and-white kinescope recording of the deciding game of the '60 series, an emotion-charged, back-and-forth battle won 10-9 by the Pirates on Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run, was thought to be lost forever. But it was recently discovered in der Bingle's home near San Francisco and now will be screened on cable TV and turned into a DVD.
And he was a baseball nut, so much so that he was too nervous to attend his own team's pinnacle game, the '60 Series. "He said, 'I can't stay in the country,'" his widow, Kathryn Crosby, told The New York Times. "'I'll jinx everybody.'" He was so paranoid they flew to France and listened on the shortwave radio, she said, where he got carried away by the game-winning homer, accidentally breaking a bottle of Scotch on a Paris apartment mantel and causing flames to roar from the fireplace.
But he'd hired a crew to record the game off TV in kinescope (essentially a camera filming a screen, producing film spools). After his return, Crosby watched and delightedly replayed his team's dramatic win over the Yanks. Later, he locked the movie away with his half-century's worth of records, tapes and films in a wine-cellar-turned-vault at his Hillsborough, Calif., home.
There the reels remained until discovered ten months ago by Robert Bader, a Bing Crosby Enterprises executive searching out videotapes of Crosby TV specials for a DVD release. The complete NBC broadcast of Game 7, called by the Yankees' Mel Allen and the Pirates' Bob Prince, had not degraded and has now been transferred to DVD, for sale, after it is shown on the MLB Network with Bob Costas hosting.
Widow Katheryn has a lot of Bing memories to cherish, she says. And one of them is, "I can still see Bing hitting the mantel with the Scotch."