Thanks to the film restoration expertise of Rare Sportsfilms, Inc, a long-lost ABC sports TV show is now available on DVD for nostalgic viewing to baseball fans everywhere! With the recent heightened interest in Willie Mays created by the release of an official Mays biography, fans will especially enjoy this beautiful one-hour COLOR film on Mays created almost 50 years ago! But not only is it an in-depth look at the Giants superstar, it concentrates on Mays during the final two weeks of the down-to-the-wire 1966 National League pennant race between the Dodgers, Giants and Pirates!
Narrated by Chris Schenkel, the program includes all of the original TV commercials for General Motors Trucks, Kool Cigarettes, Accutron Watches and Haggar Slacks. The story begins at Giants spring training and the team getting ready for 1967. You’ll see highlights from Arizona games against the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs. The previous year was a history-making season for Willie, as he finished the year second only to Babe Ruth in career homers, had 100 or more RBI’s for the 8th year in a row and tied Lou Gehrig’s record of 13 consecutive years with 300 or more total bases! Giant’s manager Herman Franks is interviewed in his office and gives his thoughts on Willie being the leader of the ballclub. Mays himself speaks often in this film, commenting on a variety of subjects, including facing Sandy Koufax, knock down pitches, his superstitions, how momentum can help a team win, playing in New York in front of the Mets fans, why the Giants came on strong at the end of the season and his thoughts on 1967. A short segment of the film follows Willie to his beautiful home overlooking SF Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. There, Willie talks about fan mail, his boyhood and playing ball with his Dad in Alabama. You are with Willie in his car on the way to Candlestick Park for a game as he talks about the importance of his son getting a good education before thinking about playing baseball.
But the real story of 1966 picks up in August (26th) with the Giants playing their arch-rivals, the Dodgers in a three game series at old Candlestick Park. Koufax beats Bob Bolin 4-0, despite a fantastic throw from Willie to the plate to cut off a Dodger score. Highlights are shown from the next day’s game, a 4-2 win for Juan Marichal over Don Drysdale. The Giants fall out of first place in early September and when the hard-hitting Pirates beat the Giants 3 out of 4 to end the Giants home season, the Giants are in third place, 6 games out with 8 to play! The last pitch of the home season however, is a Juan Marichal home run off Roy Face in the last of the ninth inning to beat the Pirates and win his own game, 6-5! On the last road trip of the year, Marichal beats the Braves in Atlanta in the first game of a three game series. The next night, with SF trailing 3-1, May’s 3-run homer off Pat Jarvis helps the Giants to an eventual 6-3 victory! In the series finale, Tito Fuentes is hero, with his 3-run homer off Tony Cloninger providing Gaylord Perry with his 21st win of the year and a Giants sweep in Atlanta! Next, it was off to Pittsburgh for the final three games of the year, with the Giants now three games behind the league-leading Dodgers. On Friday night, the Giants and Bucs are rained out. The Dodgers are at Philadelphia for their final three games and lose to Chris Short. The rainout means a Saturday doubleheader for the Giants. Juan Marichal gives up a home run to Roberto Clemente and 13 Pirate hits, but wins a tough DH opener, 5-4. The Dodgers and Phils are rained out Saturday, and so THEY must play a DH on the final day! Meanwhile, Bob Bolin is spectacular in the second game, pitching a 2-0, 1-hit shutout! On Sunday at Connie Mack Stadium in the first game, Don Drysdale and the Dodgers are once again beaten by the Phils and Richie Allen! At Forbes Field with Jesus Alou on base in the third inning, Mays hits his final home run of the year, his 37th and his 103rd RBI. It’s a see-saw game and with the score tied 3-3, reliever Lindy McDaniel gets out of bases loaded jams in the 9th and 10th innings before Willie McCovey’s game-winning homer brings the Giants victory! The Giants finish the season winning their last six games in a row and 8 of their last nine games, clinching second place! However, Sandy Koufax’s dramatic complete-game pitching effort in the second game of the DH in Philadelphia (his 27th win), wraps up the pennant for Los Angeles. The cameras show a happy Giant clubhouse at Forbes Field, and later an even more joyous clubhouse in Philadelphia as the Dodgers clinch the pennant. This show is truly a dramatic story of a true superstar in the heat of an exciting pennant race! Particularly outstanding are beautiful color shots of Juan Marichal, Mays, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Richie Allen and Roberto Clemente, as well as scenes from those great old ballparks Forbes Field, Connie Mack Stadium, Atlanta Stadium and early Candlestick Park!
You can get your own copy of “Portrait of Willie Mays” on DVD
for only $29.95 plus $4.00 shipping and handling:
(Illinois residents must add $2.00 tax)
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