MLB’s Home Run Derby held its first official event back in 1985 – which has somehow become more than 30 years ago – but traces of its existence date back to 60s-era Hollywood.
Indeed back in 1960, MLB filmed a (reality?) TV show called Home Run Derby at the beautiful Wrigley Field … in Los Angeles. The show pitted some of MLBs top sluggers – like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, and others – against each other in a nine-inning home run contest.
And guess what, you can watch it in all its original black and white glory.
Episode one is an especially good matchup, featuring two of the all-time greats, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays:
Did you catch the $500 bonus for hitting three home runs in a row, and the $2,000 grand prize? And can you believe they actually tied it up in the 8th inning, making the ninth that much dramatic? This is legitimately great TV.
But it doesn’t end there.
As the video mentioned, the winner returns the following week to take on the next challenger. In week 2’s case, that’s Mickey Mantle v. Ernie Banks. This show is a collection of legends:
But Mickey Mantle is the Mickey Mantle of Baseball, so he won the first three weeks of the show:
Before he was finally dethroned by Harmon Killebrew in episode 4: