This is a guide to some video and audio resources from baseball before World War Two, in the spirit of this blog’s general attempt to unearth and re-present useful or at least entertaining material from baseball’s past. I don’t claim that this will be comprehensive, but I hope to provide some links to interesting material that would be pretty hard to find through web searches.
First of all, for some general collections, there’s the Hall of Fame’s Sights and Sounds section, which ranges from recent inductees to video clips of Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby to Connie Mack, with a host of video biographies of, last I checked, 176 Hall of Famers. The Library of Congress has some of its baseball collection online, with a focus on Jackie Robinson.
On YouTube, a guy has put together montages of pictures of dead ball-era ballplayers and set them to music, in one set and then another set. Another fellow, who calls himself InitialNoticeBlack, has a nearly 10-minute set of clips of “Rare Deadball Era baseball footage.” InitialNoticeBlack’s channel has around 15 videos of baseball stars (and the one-armed Pete Gray) dating from Christy Mathewson to Willie Mays doing their thing on the diamond. Also on YouTube, this user has around nine videos spanning a similar time frame, and I believe all of the videos are taken from Ken Burn’s Baseball series.
As for audio clips, Babe Ruth looms over professional baseball between the world wars, and I’ll recognize that by linking to two clips of him from those days. There’s also this clip of the Babe talking about his called shot in the ’32 World Series, and this one of him speaking at Yankee Stadium for the last time, in 1948, a few months before he died from throat cancer. Coca Cola sponsored a show called Top Notchers in 1930, and there’s a pretty compelling recording from then, with Grantland Rice interviewing Ty Cobb about his career (the Cobb section starts about 11 minutes in). The Cobb interview has been posted as a separate YouTube “video” as well, with pictures of Cobb flashing by as the audio plays. But if you have a slow Internet connection, don’t like YouTube/Google, or just want to hear the whole show, which is interesting on its own, the audio-only link is better. Also, there’s five clips of old major leaguers, including Charlie Gehringer and Enos Slaughter, talking about life in the majors from the ’30s into the ’50s. And, four clips of memorable/interesting moments from the ’40s and ’50s, including Ted Williams’ homer to win the ’41 All-Star game and Connie Mack talking during World War Two. Also, it’s from after World War II, but Yankee fans will be interested in these clips of Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra.
Finally, people say there were plenty of major league-caliber players in both the Negro Leagues and the Pacific Coast League in the years before World War Two, but the PCL players don’t get the recognition the black players do. So, as a little redress of that obscurity, here’s a silent video of the Oakland Oaks parading through town to celebrate the start of the 1918 season, as well as a site commemorating the ’46 through ’48 Oaks, but also with some video from their 1939 season. And, there’s six clips of the Pacific Coast League’s Seattle Rainiers over the ’30s to ’50s time span.