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Cubs historical film: 1963 at the Polo Grounds

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There’s some great game action in this one.

Flagstaff Films

The folks at Flagstaff Films already posted some home movies of the game in question, and I wrote about that last month. So there isn’t much sleuthing to be done here, but I wanted to post these videos so you can see the game action from a Cubs/Mets game at the Polo Grounds in New York June 26, 1963.

First, let’s be clear. These posts contain an error in the date, as noted by Flagstaff Films in this correction over the weekend:

So now that we know the date of the game, what scenes are we looking at? The play-by-play tells us.

At :09 of the first film, that’s Ron Santo hitting a single to center, moving Billy Williams to third. Billy later scored.

At :20, that’s Andre Rodgers hitting a double down the right-field line. You can see him pulling into second base. The Mets shortstop wearing No. 40 is Al Moran.

Bob Buhl, the Cubs starter that day — strange seeing a Cubs No. 31 who isn’t Greg Maddux or Fergie Jenkins, right? — is shown at :30. It appears he’s giving up a hit of some kind, but since we don’t see the baserunner, it’s impossible to know which Met was batting.

At :38, Mets starter Al Jackson throws a couple of pitches to Williams, who strikes out. That happened in the fifth inning. The Mets catcher, a former Cub, is Sammy Taylor.

The last scene in the first film shows a Mets hitter whose number is difficult to read popping up to Rodgers at short. That has to be Tim Harkness, who batted in the inning after Williams’ K.

The second film begins with Rodgers drawing a walk. That happened with two out in the top of the sixth, and Rodgers was stranded. Then you see Ernie Banks at first base. He was warming up the other infielders between innings, probably the bottom of the sixth. The Mets coach wearing No. 52 is Solly Hemus, who played 11 years for the Cardinals and Phillies and later managed the Cardinals.

The next scene, at :25, shows Mets manager Casey Stengel trudging to the mound. No Mets pitcher was removed mid-inning in that game, but you can tell who the pitcher is even though you can’t see any number on his uniform. Look at the scoreboard at :32. It’s 4:25 p.m. The game started at 2 p.m. It looks like No. 35 or 36 is pitching for the Mets, and sure enough, No. 36 is Tracy Stallard, who threw the ninth inning of that game. Two and a half hours seems about right for nine innings in that era.

In the next scene, at :39, a Cubs righthander is throwing and the time is about 5:40. That’s Jack Warner, who threw 4⅔ innings in relief. It’s the bottom of the 13th and the Mets have the bases loaded with one out. Chico Fernandez hits into a force play at the plate.

The last part of this film shows the walkoff grand slam hit by Harkness off Jim Brewer. The time of game is listed in the boxscore as 4:08, and the clock says approximately 6:08. It looks like Harkness (No. 3) batting, and Brewer was a lefthanded pitcher. Brewer faced only two hitters. He walked Taylor to load the bases, and Harkness was the next batter.

These are great films and though whoever shot it either stopped filming or didn’t have enough film to complete showing the walkoff slam, these still show more highlights of any game from that era that I’ve seen. A great slice of baseball history from 55 years ago.