Larry Granillo has an interesting item up over at Baseball Nation today: a look at the broadcast rights fees paid to teams in 1961. Those familiar with Larry’s work know that he’s great at finding old gems in old magazines and stuff, and his finding these rights fees — which he stumbled across in a March 1961 issue of Sponsor magazine — is one of his better finds.
The high end: the Yankees, who got a combined $900K for TV and radio. The low: the Senators, who got $300K. Adjusted for inflation that’s a tad over $7 million for the Yankees and a bit over $2.3 million for Washington. In contrast, the smallest TV rights deal today is probably the Royals who pull in around $20 million or so a year. Go read the article for the whole chart.
Of course, back in 1961 the teams didn’t have to pay their players much money as they were basically indentured servants thanks to the reserve clause, so the owners did just fine, thank you. They just got a lot more money from the turnstiles than they did from the rabbit ears.
Today is the 13th anniversary of one of the most exciting and iconic plays in postseason history. On October 17, 2004, the Yankees and the Red Sox faced off in Game 4 of the ALCS. The Yankees had a 3-0 lead in the series and held a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the ninth. The Red Sox were three outs from being eliminated by the Yankees. Again.
Kevin Millar led off the inning facing Mariano Rivera and worked the greatest closer in baseball history for a walk. Terry Francona inserted Dave Roberts as a pinch runner. Everyone in the building knew that Roberts had one job: get to second base and scoring position. Despite everyone knowing it was coming, Roberts swiped second base. He’d come around to score, the Sox won the game in 12 innings, would win the next three and the World Series, completing the greatest comeback in postseason history and ending an 86-year championship drought.
Understandably, the Red Sox wanted to remember that wonderful day today. So they tweeted about it:
The Yankees, however, weren’t gonna let that one go by: