Friday, October 9, 2009

Rare Video Found: Babe Ruth Strikes Out

Last week we marveled at the amount of attention being paid to a short snippet of an Anne Frank home movie, the only known moving images of her. The mesmerizing power of video transcends the "realness" of still images of the same subject.

This week, in its video report The Great Bambino Resurfaces, the New York Times shares freshly discovered 8-millimeter footage of Babe Ruth, circa 1928. It's only 90 seconds long, but nonetheless noteworthy:

It features the only in-game footage of the baseball legend playing the outfield, where he spent more than 2,200 games. It also features a rare glimpse of Ruth striking out, then arguing with the umpire, while a young Lou Gehrig looks on.
The Times offers an in-depth print story and blog item about the discovery, and the Major League Baseball archivists who helped identify it. But it's the Times video story that actually shows us the video itself.

For most newspapers, that alone would have been sufficient. But the Times video admirably goes behind the scenes and introduces us to those two archivists, who oversee and log 150,000 hours of footage dating back more than a century. That treatment enables us to better appreciate their detective-like skill and expertise -- not to mention their passion -- for scanning grainy old footage for details, and sorting out when and where particular games were played, and (we can't resist) who's on first.

Though you'll probably be mired in this season's playoffs this weekend, take a trip back in time to enjoy some vintage baseball footage -- and the story behind it. We've posted it on KobreGuide for your viewing pleasure.

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