Remembering the Impossible Dream

By Laura Hayner

After many weeks of joining my fellow WGBH and BPL interns in puzzling over curious, sparse and vague WHDH catalog cards, I was surprised to come across several that were crammed with text, directing footage seekers to several reels of film. Almost all entries were dated; many made detailed note of the location where the footage was shot, of interesting personalities featured and of the activities caught on film. The volume of descriptive information was much greater than on the cards surrounding them. What garnered so much attention? Required so much detail?

The Red Sox! (Duh.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present a brief history of “The Impossible Dream.” The year was 1967. The Red Sox hadn’t been doing so hot. Fans had low expectations. Yet, the season started out strong. Team captain Carl Yastrzemski, an outfielder in his eighth year with the Red Sox, set multiple team records, becoming the first player since Ted Williams to achieve a Triple Crown.  The team went on to beat the Minnesota Twins and win the American League Championship, 21 years after their last Pennant victory in 1946, by one game.

Given the dates on this batch of catalog cards, most of the footage seems to depict the aftermath of that last game of the American League Championship when the Sox sealed their place in the World Series. Additional footage appears to show hometown enthusiasm on World Series home game days. And then there’s a line, dated 10/12/67, titled “FENWAY PARK OBIT,” for the day the Sox lost game seven and the World Series victory to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The dogged reporters and camera operators captured a variety of footage of the Sox and their fans, both excited and eccentric. Here’s a breakdown:

The good: “LOCKER ROOM champagne scenes after / twins victory” on 10/1/67. Also, “Red Sox wives;” the first reality show?

The bad: “KENMORE SQ night scenes celebration after / Red Sox defeated Minnesota…police..crowds / and someone hurt being removed.”

The weird: “WHEELBARROW. Man being pulled / to game after winning bet.” Can someone re-enact this for me?

It is said that 1967 is the year that revitalized Red Sox fans and made them what they are today. While footage of this landmark season is available, I hope these newsreels show newsgathering at its best, with reporters and cameramen flying by the seat of their pants to faithfully cover these historic games and surrounding local fervor.

Intern disclaimer: I am not from here. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs pretending to understand basketball and idolizing Michael Jordan who lived ten minutes from my house! Anyway, while I have double-checked my Red Sox facts, if I did make any errors, please leave corrections in the comments. And maybe throw in a phonetic pronunciation guide for the name “Yastrzemski.”