NEW YORK -- Bing Crosby often found himself dreaming of the Pittsburgh Pirates, too, even while on vacation in Paris during the 1960 World Series.
His zealous support and superstition wound up being a good thing for baseball fans: Found in his wine cellar was film of the deciding Game 7, in which Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski hit a game-ending homer to beat the New York Yankees, that was thought to be lost forever.
The New York Times reported in a story published in Friday's editions that the complete NBC broadcast had been discovered in Crosby's longtime home in Hillsborough.
The silver-tongued crooner, whose recording of "White Christmas" has sold millions of copies worldwide, was part owner of the baseball team from 1946 until his death in 1977. But the avid sportsman was such a nervous wreck watching the Pirates that when they played the Yankees in the World Series, he went on a European vacation with his wife, Kathryn. "He said, 'I can't stay in the country. I'll jinx everybody,'" Crosby's widow said.
It was thought that one of the greatest games ever played had survived only through radio broadcasts, grainy photographs and the written word. Then in December, while Robert Bader was combing through tapes and reels of Crosby's old TV specials, the vice president of Bing Crosby Entertainment stumbled across two gray canisters in a pile stretching to the ceiling.
They were labeled "1960 World Series" and looked as though they hadn't been touched in years. An hour of searching revealed three more reels.
Bader screened the 16-millimeter film and realized it was the complete broadcast of Game 7, with the Yankees' Mel Allen and Pirates' Bob Prince calling the action. The cool and dry conditions of the wine cellar meant the film had survived in pristine condition. "I had to be the only person to have seen it in 50 years," Bader said. "It was pure luck."
Crosby couldn't bear to watch the game live, although he did listen by radio while in Paris, so he had hired a company to record the broadcast by kinescope, an early relative of DVR.
The five reels have since been transferred to DVD, and fans will get a chance to view the game during the offseason on the MLB Network.
"Bing Crosby was way ahead of his time," said Nick Trotta, senior library and licensing manager of Major League Baseball Productions.
"It's a time capsule."