BRONX, N.Y. — On this date, Jan. 9, 1960, the original “Home Run Derby,” made its debut. The first matchup two legendary center fielder’s square off. The New York Yankees Mickey Mantle faced the San Francisco Giants’ Willie Mays.
Older fans may remember the original series which was filmed in Dec. 1959, ran from Jan. 2 to July 9, 1960. Or if you’re a fan of my age you probably first watched it on Classic Sports.
The series took place at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, Calif., where broadcaster Mark Scott called the competition between baseball’s elite sluggers.
Hank Aaron posted the most wins on the show with six, while Mantle crushed the most homers with 44.
It didn’t have the buzz or fanfare of the modern All-Star Game derby (they hit in an empty stadium) but as someone who loves the history of the game, I thought it was cool to watch legends I never saw play, mashing the ball.