Thursday, June 1, 2017

A White Whale...with an asterisk

A year or so ago, with some detective work on my part and by grilling the uncle who always supplied our tickets, I was able to determine the first big league game I ever attended. The date was Sunday, July 24, 1960. It was a doubleheader with the White Sox playing the Yanks at Yankee Stadium. The crowd of 60,002 turned out to be the largest of the season. My father and I were the '2'.

My man Billy Pierce pitched (which I knew and was the first clue I had in tracking the game). He won his 9th of the year that day. I don't really have many memories of the game other than my father talking about Pierce and Whitey Ford (who didn't pitch that day), the hot dog vendors coming through the stands, the scoreboard with the trains running behind it all day, and my Dad pointing out that the Yankees took the covering off the bleachers in dead center to accommodate more fans. The many white shirts out that way made it tough on hitters trying to pick up the pitch.

Last week I was able to track down a program from the day at Yankee Stadium. that's the cover up top. It was in pretty decent shape other than the scorecard centerfold being held in place by only a bit of one staple. I decided that I'd go ahead and scan it for a post, most of it anyway.

First a bit about programs back then. Teams (or at least the ones I knew of) published programs a few times a year but had scorecard inserts done for each series. The cover below is from the first edition of the NYY 1960 game program. Lot's of similarities with mine from mid-season.

Inside the front cover is this amazing ad for Camel cigarettes with endorsements from Warren Spahn, Ted Kluszewski, Milt Pappas, Whitey Ford and Pete Runnels! I like how the pitchers are so very suave while the hitters look like extras from a filming of Mayberry, RFD

Across from that is the intro page. The Yanks note the tough second half schedule and note a few positives from the first half.

Casey Stengel graces the next page here along with some info on games from early in the year which have been rescheduled, general notes and a couple of ads.

Opposite the Ol' Professor is a shot of the Yankees voted onto the 1960 All Star squads for the two games played earlier in July.  And more ads.

Next is a page of Yankee 'trivia' including AL titles, Series titles and league leaders. 

A couple of full page car-centric ads bring us to the scorecard insert. This one is kind of fun...

...but this one is pretty much just a wall of text.

Then there is this page of ticket and game time info...

...and the coaching staff.

Here the slicker stock paper gives way to the scorecard and more up to date info. There are ads and a preview of the upcoming Indians-Yankees series and then the scorecard page itself. Easily my favorite part of this thing. My scanner wasn't quite big enough to capture it all.

I was always fascinated by the listing of pitchers on the stadium scoreboard with the key included in the insert. And I eventually learned how to keep score. I was probably doing that by 1962 or so. Whoever kept the score for this game had a standard system and decent enough handwriting. I like how he noted the (slightly inflated) attendance. 

Here is a somewhat closer look at the scoring. And here you will see why this is a White Whale with an asterisk. This is the scoring of the second game of the doubleheader! I would have loved to have found a program with the Pierce game but this program was bought and used that same day so I'm not going to quibble too much. I also note with interest (and regret) that my Dad's cigarette brands (L&M, and later Kent) are part of the centerfold. 

I also see that one of my Dad's favorite Yankees, Hector Lopez, led off and got two hits in that second game. He called him 'Hector's Pup' for some reason I never could figure out. LOL

This ad page with a preview of a series against the A's is next. Below this I've posted the preview of the Cleveland series that was on the first page of the centerfold insert. The Jimmy Piersall picture makes it more interesting.

Here is Piersall..with his friends listed as well. Note the mid-week doubleheader. We hit a few of those. Usually my mother would put me on a bus to NYC and my Dad would take off early from his job in Rockefeller Center with Shell and meet me at the Port Authority. Then off we'd go, getting to the Bronx in the middle of the first game at worst. 

Here is the rest of the program without much commentary. I did zoom and crop the picture of the old timers for your enjoyment!

The roster (as of mid-July when the program was done).

Ads and directions. I don't think we drove to the Stadium and parked more than a handful of times. It was either train/bus into Manhattan and then subways to the Bronx or driving to the Port Authority and subway rides north. I bet my old man would have rather see the Yanks drop a pair on a Sunday than drive to the Bronx and park at the Stadium. 

Ads and Yankee bios.

I smoked Newports....for about 30 minutes in  1976. Terrible. Glad I gave it up many, many years ago.

The remaining Yankee schedule for 1960.

I had the 1960 Yankee yearbook. My Dad bought them for me at Manny's Baseballand across Jerome Avenue from the right field Stadium entrances. He always read them first though.

Inside and outside back cover...full page ads.

Ballantine was the Yankees' primary beer sponsor..."Make the 3-ring sign and ask the man for Ballantine!" 

No baseball program is complete without an ad for Coke. The vendors back then sold Coke in those wax paper cups with cellophane covers sealed across the top.

Well that's it. A program from the day I attended my first live baseball game. I was lucky enough to pull this one done with a lowball offer. Unless I could find one with the Billy Pierce end of the doubleheader scored I'm through looking.


  1. I love old programs and magazines and media guides like this. What a great piece of memorabilia from your childhood -- even if it doesn't mention Billy Pierce!

  2. Great find Bob. Love old programs. I still have the one from the first game I attended. July 71. Gary Peters pitched.
    What a catching trio the Yanks had

  3. Awesome post, I thoroughly enjoyed reading through that. I imagine it was a good bit of work to scan everything, thanks!

  4. Love the old ads, especially the car ads. Note that the Ballentine beer ad talks about being top of the east yet clearly shows the Rockies? Interesting!

  5. I'm with all the others - old programs are the best!

  6. Thanks for sharing! I have to admit, the two things I pay attention to most in a vintage scorecard are the scoring (if present) and the ads. My favorite ad is for Renault... especially how they took a picture of the car with kids around it so that it's not quite as apparent how small the car is (but it gets up to 40 mpg!)

  7. Love the program-smokes and booze-super cool

  8. Wow. Now that's a legit white whale. Congratulations crossing that one off of your list. I have no idea what my first baseball game was. I'd ask my brother who took me, but there's no way he'd remember.