With its immutable measurements of 60 feet and 6 inches between the pitcher's mound and home plate and 90 feet between each base, there is a timelessness to baseball that renders it recognizable in nearly any incarnation. Even in this astounding color footage unearthed (and uploaded to YouTube) from the 1939 World Series between the Yankees and the Reds, the game and the actions of the players look quite familiar. By contrast, vintage basketball and football footage doesn't like quite like today's iterations of those games.
The true beauty and value of this color footage from 1939 may be in the glimpses it affords to life off the field and around the game. From the fedoras and skinny ties sported by most of the men in the stands to the period advertisements covering the walls at Yankee Stadium, this footage offers a rare look back in time. Perhaps most indicative of the differences in attitudes and decorum was the fact that fans were permitted to exit ballparks by walking across the field to gates in the outfield, as can be seen here. How would that go over today?
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Of course, the Yankees were still in the World Series with regularity back then, so not everything changes. Having won 106 games during the 1939 regular season under manager Joe McCarthy, the Yankees breezed to the American League pennant, winning the flag by a staggering 17 games. In the '39 World Series, New York won games 1 and 2 at Yankee Stadium -- moments from those contests are captured in the footage above -- en route to a sweeping the Fall Classic.
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