Deadball Era Baseball Game Footage (1900-1920)

Detroit @ Pittsburgh
During the 1909 World Series
~ Check out the shape of the infield grass.

Thank you, Bill Hickman, for drawing our awareness to this fine silent film collection of baseball cation from the Deadball Era. We miss the sensory completeness that sound and the smells of hot dogs, beer, cigar smoke, less hygenic circumstances of rest rooms from those times, to say nothing of rotten food disposals and the industrial age smoke that filled all breathable air could have added to our sense of presence in what was going on, but we shall happily settle for what we got.

Groundskeeping was poor back in the day. As the featured still shot here shows of the Pittsburgh infield during the Pirates’ tangle with the Detroit Tigers that fall, groundskeeping was not a major priority back in the day. The Pittsburgh infield is half eaten or worn away – and badly harmed also by the automobiles that chugged their ways across the diamond during the pre-game activity. And that’s clodhopper dirt out there – not the carefully groomed and even soil that’s imported for use on the intentional-dirt parts of the infield and base lines.

Other Notices: All the players uniformly knew how to wear their uniforms correctly, with the socks showing from the knee down. ~ Photos. Photographers crowded home plate during crucial at bats. The lenses of that age could not handle the distance and produce photo clarity.

No World Series in 1904. The 1904 New York Giants celebrated themselves at home as “world champions” after refusing to play the AL Champion Boston Red Sox in what should have been the second World Series. The Red Sox had won the first World Series over Pittsburgh in 1903, but the Giants apparently were afraid to play them in 1904. The refusal forced baseball to declare that playing the World Series would not be furthermore left to individuals clubs. Winners of the NL and AL would play each other for the right to make “world champion” claims. And that’s the way it stood until the 1994 management-labor meltdown that cancelled only the second World Series in history.

Black Sox Footage of Joe Jackson and his White Sox Company from the 1919 World Series is very good. 3rd Sacker Buck Weaver has to be the ugliest snaggle-toothed innocent-looking guy that’s ever been banned from the game of baseball. – What a tragedy that whole murky-business in Chicago in 1919 was – and still is. Little Dickie Kerr also shows up. – He’s the little pitcher who came out of the Black Sox mess as the young “good guy” who played it straight and won games for the team that had eight men kicked out for life as a result of the gambling bribes they allegedly took to make sure the White Sox lost the World Series.

Baseball practices included much more pre-game defensive practice, including fungo-struck fly balls to the outfielders. They also seemed to like lining up the bats in a long row before their team dugouts.

Dead Ball Era Athleticism, based upon what these films provide, may lead some of us to wonder how many of these guys could compete against any 21st century MLB club. Several of the pitchers display funky wind ups that wouldn’t carry them too far in today’s game either. – See what you think when you watch the film on this very resourceful link:

Hope you enjoy this excellent opportunity for exploration of the so-called Deadball Era.

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A Back To The Future Addendum

Congratulations to Tom Hunter
Denver Resident but Staunch Astros Fan

Great friend and Pecan Park Eagle supporter Tom Hunter got to Coors Field on Tuesday night, 7/24/18, just in time to proclaim his own presence as he also brought his Houston Astros a bucket of extra inning good luck! ~ Where were you Wednesday night, Tom?

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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4 Responses to “Deadball Era Baseball Game Footage (1900-1920)”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Bill, I had to work Tuesday night and streamed the game on my computer.

    In order that readers of TPPE don’t get the idea that I have some imperial notion of myself, the message on the sign, KING of PEARLAND, refers to my best friend from Pearland High School–Donald King. We attended the third game of the World Series last year, as well as the third game ever played by the Colt .45s, and the first game in the Astrodome.

    Jon Gray has been an enigma, capable of pitching no-hit ball for several innings, cruising along until there’s a bloop single or error, and the wheels come off. As a Rockies fan, I was hoping he would find his groove–but not against my first love, the Astros.

  2. Randy Foltin Says:

    Wow. I truly love this footage. Those NY Giants sweaters from 1904 are incredible. The amateur footage at the end was my favorite. That was baseball really at its pinnacle as far as my tastes are concerned. Thanks for sharing this treasure. I’m sure to watch it repeatedly.

  3. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Thanks for sending around…this is why I love baseball

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