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The Vine: February 28, 2014

Submitted by on February 28, 2014 – 10:22 AM21 Comments


I have something I've been researching for ages, and I'm hoping that you, as a devoted baseball fan, can help me.

Although, I admit, it's only tangentially related to baseball. I'm looking for somewhere that references the national-anthem performers at the World Series — historically, not recently. And I'm possibly looking for something more — all postseason-play national-anthem performers at Red Sox games in the 1970s.

I'll explain: the US Navy Sea Chanters were to perform the national anthem before a Red Sox game in the 1970s, and it had rained just prior to the game. This being pre-wireless, amplifying sound for performers required running wires across the field. The powers that be were concerned about electrical shorts, and instead, asked if the Sea Chanters had a single performer who had a powerful enough voice to perform without a mic. They chose my father. The problem is that there's some debate/disagreement between my mother and her cousin about the year this happened. They agree that it was at Fenway Park, but in my research, I've found that the only year the Red Sox appeared in the World Series in the '70s was 1975. They don't quite agree that it was 1975, which is why I've considered that it might have been at some other postseason game.

You might think that the Navy would have some sort of record, or if not, might have someone who would be willing to help with this research. Not so much. I've considered contacting MLB, but I'm not sure what department. Or possibly the Red Sox, but again, I'm not sure which department. Do you, or your readers, have any suggestions?

I would love to track down video of this. For one, it was before I was born, and I'd love to see it. For another, my dad's been in a veterans' home with Alzheimer's for the past four years, and this is something I'd like to…remind him, a little? And it's sometimes hard to remember things like this, so last, I want it for my mom. I'm willing to purchase said video — I'm not looking for a handout. But I want to make sure I'm buying footage from the correct year. And, I guess, a secondary part to my question: do you know whether those compilations that MLB or ESPN or whoever puts out of the entire World Series of whatever year actually includes the performance of the national anthem?

Any help would be appreciated greatly. I'm at my rope's end with this research.


Dear A.L.,

Off the top of my head: I'd start with the Hall Of Fame. Its primary function is as a museum and it has a huge archive. The library/media collection has a page here that might be a good starting point for tracking down that information.

And you could also try browsing the Sons Of Sam Horn forum; it's devoted to all things Red Sox/Boston sports, and you never know who might remember that game, or at least know where there's a YouTube stash of Fenway anthem footage.

…Hold the phone: looks like it's Game 2 of the '75 Series, as noted here. Various search strings aren't getting me video — the entire game is available on YouTube, but the footage starts with the teams taking the field — but now that you have a date, you should be able to track it down. Good luck!

Readers, if any of you can find this footage, or even audio, please do post it here.

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  • attica says:

    My instinct would be to contact Fenway. On the contacts page for the RS, there are links for both broad/radio cast contacts or executive offices. I'd start there, and see if they can point you further. Good luck!

  • Kelly says:

    Well of course the one time when my moving image archivist skills might actually be helpful to someone, Bunting knocks it out of the park :) I think I now have to offer you my job, Sarah — it's a Highlander-kinda thing.

    So yes, HOF is the best place to go for this; I don't know how comprehensive their non-World Series collection is, but if they don't have it they'll at least know the best place to find it. Good luck, and these are the kinds of requests librarians and archivists adore, so just go for it!

  • Nanc in Ashland says:

    Contact the Red Sox directly. In my experience (well, with the Chicago Cubs–my mother's been a fan for 71 years this June . . . ) the PR department LOVES helping out with stuff like this. I know the Cubbies (or maybe it's Wrigley Field) have an historian on staff and I would think the Red Sox would, too.

    Most importantly: please report back! You're doing a great thing for your dad and this is a wonderful story–you know the Nation is pulling for a happy ending.

  • jennie says:

    I have nothing to add that's helpful, just that this is a totally awesome thing you're doing and it made me cry at my desk. Even though, as they say, there's no crying in baseball.

  • Kerry says:

    I asked a friend at the Sox. He said he didn't think the Red Sox had a video crew back in the 70’s. He thinks the best places to look are with the local TV stations like WBZ-TV (Ch 4), WCVB-TV (Ch 5), or WHDH-TV (Ch 7). I tweeted at Keith Olberman (encyclopedic baseball knowledge), the Sox and MLB. Hopefully someone can help.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    If you're a member of Bill James Online or know someone who is (you do) (me), maybe you could send it in as an Ask Bill, which is what it sounds like. Someone in that readership will know where to look and James works for the Sox.

    @kerry if you can tweet that at me, I'll bounce it to Hardball Talk and Sports On Earth.

  • Nanc in Ashland says:

    Aw, can I just say Go Nation! We do love a challenging task!

  • JenV says:


    I'm not crying; my eyes are just a little sweaty today.

  • Amy says:

    I am not even a baseball fan (and if I had to pick a team it would be the Sox in the correct color … which is not red…) BUT THIS MADE ME CRY.

    What a great story. What an awesome quest. Let us know how it works out!

  • Sarah says:

    I've tweeted this out to my baseball people, let's see if something comes up. I hit ESPN's Keith Law and HBT's Craig Calcaterra as well as my general followers. I would think the Red Sox historian is the person to start with, and presumably you could get them on the phone by just calling the business office?

  • slices says:

    You've already gotten a lot of solid leads, it seems, but I'll just throw this out too. This question reminded me of a piece I heard on the local NPR affiliate, WGBH Boston, a few months back about the sounds of Fenway, where they interviewed the house DJ and organist. I just found the article online and it linked to the organist's Twitter "@jtkantor" I would think he might have some idea how/where to track this down? I'm not on Twitter so I can't tweet him. Best of luck!

  • slices says:

    And here's a link to the full article, which i also meant to include:

  • Molly says:

    According to Wikipedia (so take it for what it's worth), "NBC broadcast the [1975] Series on television and radio . . . This was also the final Series broadcast for NBC Radio, which had retained exclusive rights to the event since 1957. CBS Radio would become the exclusive national radio network for MLB beginning the following season." So if the resources others have mentioned don't yield results, maybe try calling the local NBC affiliates?

  • Kim says:

    If the Hall of Fame doesn't pan out, I'd suggest contacting the Boston Public Library. They may have contacts at the local television stations (as a former TV associate producer/researcher I can tell you that local station archives can be very difficult to navigate and they often don't have anyone on staff to help) or even have special collections within the library.

    Good luck!

  • Nanc in Ashland says:

    A.L., I know you said you hadn't had much luck with the Navy, but I notice the Sea Chanters webpage has Facebook and Twitter links. Might be worth throwing the questions out thataway (says she who doesn't do either . . . )

  • Deezydubya says:

    Try your National Archives &Records (for the Navy angle), a local historical society or the team itself (for the sports angle), but I wouldn't hold my breath for TV footage, because in those days of TV only Carson himself could force a TV network to not record back over those expensive tapes. You may also want to try a local radio station; it was cheaper to save audio so sometimes that's easier to find.

  • RC says:

    I have nothing to contribute, but please let us know how this turns out! I hope you find it!

  • CatrionaK says:

    The Special Library Association has a baseball caucus. I have no idea if this is in their wheelhouse, but worth a try?

  • Sam says:

    Mary's got the goods; found a recap of the game (“I told you we’d win four games in this World Series. We won the game today, so that means if we win three more my prediction will come true. I was born on the day Lincoln was shot and the Titanic sank.”) (I don't understand baseball people.) and the guy linked to those dvds.

  • Lisa says:

    All major networks have archives that include the 1970s. Mary found the DVDs but MLB will also have masters.

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