The New York Yankees entered the 1965 season on the tails of a World Series defeat, in seven games, to the St. Louis Cardinals. With a new manager at the helm - Johnny Keane, the man who managed the aforementioned Cardinals to that World Series victory - and a new majority owner in CBS, the team looked to secure its sixth consecutive division title.
Alas, it was not meant to be, as 1965 kicked off 11 straight seasons where the Yankees failed to make it to the playoffs. It might not have been a banner year for the team, but what New York lacked in in tangible, on the field success it made up for with a series of spectacular scorecards and official programs, the likes of which aren’t seen across ballparks today.
This was a time when everyone in America where every man, woman, and child sucked down a pack of flavorful cigarettes day and when mass advertisements held a visceral appeal that, from our current perspective in the 21st century, we can only think of as both quaint and saccharine.
So what do you find in these 30 pages? A slew of print ads that will take you back to a better time when smoking was not only safe but recommended, mustard could still be new and refreshing, and where alcohol was an integral part of the game day program.
Key Stats (30 Pages)
- Tobacco Ad Count: 10
- Alcohol Ad Count: 8
- Sexism Meter Raining: Uncomfortable
- Monsanto Mentions: 1
Wow, 25 cents for a scorecard? That comes out to $1.86 in 2013 dollars, which is still less than the bootleg scorecards they sell outside of Fenway Park.
Immediately upon turning the cover we’re treated to a full-page ad that extolls the virtues of smoking Winston Filter Cigarettes, namely the “Flavor” and “Champ” that make these ballpark treats so delicious. Let’s never forget that Winston tastes good like a cigarette should, or that real man - aka real ballplayers - smoke cigarettes, preferably while batting, pitching, and/or fielding.
You get the feeling that then manager Johnny Keane had his head on right when explaining his views on baseball strategy. Pitching and batting, inextricably linked by a hearty dose of power, were his keys to winning. My how the game has changed over the last 48 years.
Also note that this section of the program mentions the second season of “Suburban Nights,” which ran for ten Wednesday night home games. Based on the information available in the program, this promotion doesn’t appear to signify anything particularly special, outside of a 7:00 pm start time for every scheduled Wednesday night game at Yankee Stadium. Day games were much more common during the week back then, so there’s some merit in setting aside a set number of games for the working masses to attend outside of their jobs.
Of course, according the program, this start time “will enable Dad to get home from work, pick up the family, get to Yankee Stadium and still be home at a reasonable hour on a ‘working’ night.” I’m glad that in 1965 the Yankees were looking out for men in a time dominated by the presence of females in domestic settings.
Sexism rating: uncomfortable.
"Yesterday, I smoked only cigarettes!”
Eight pages in and we’ve got our second tobacco advertisement. I’d like to note that in 1965 prices, you could purchase five Phillies Tips for the price of one Scorecard and Official Program of the New York Yankees. This guy smokes only cigarettes, but now he’s moved on to Phillies Tips. Who knows where that slippery slope will lead him?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far, it’s that today’s game needs more smokers.
Tobacco ad count: 2
Beech-Nut All-Star Lineup
Chewing gum is the new market inefficiency. What’s truly mind-boggling about this is that Cotton Candy Cloud is nowhere to be found in the starting lineup, despite his great numbers against the hard-throwing Caramel Nougat Surprise Bar.
Peppermint should also be hitting higher in the lineup. Don’t let some nutrition-head listing flavors in his mom’s basement.
I’m a dog’s best friend!
This ad for Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard describes the condiment as “The first mustard made especially for meat.” That makes me proud to be a consumer of Gulden’s whenever I buy a hot dog or sausage at Fenway. I’m still waiting for the first mustard made especially for doctoring baseballs.
In 2013, the same ad might say, “The first vegan, gluten-free mustard made especially for accompanying soy-based veggie patties.”
White Owl, Tom Tresh, and Tiparillos
On page 14 we’re treated to two tobacco ads sandwiching a picture of Yankees outfielder Tom Tresh, his wife, and his two children. We can only assume that Tresh is about to light up a White Owl cigar, “The big cigar for the big moments,” and bathe his family in the sweet, sweet scent of secondhand smoke.
In 1965, Tom Tresh hit .279/.348./.477, with 26 home runs and 74 RBI. He was worth 4.2 WAR and won a Gold Glove. All because of, or in spite of, the effect that smoking had on his body.
Tobacco ad count: 5
All Star Lineup!
1965 seems to have been a good year for the “inanimate consumer products as all star baseball lineup trope.” This tobacco-charged team needs only four players for victory: Viceroy, Kool, Raleigh, and Belair. Read those names out loud, they’ll sound like: character names from a Pixar movie about various pieces of sentient sports equipment; call signs from a Top Gun sequel; Axe deodorant spray scents.
"It’s Almost Illegal"
Not to be confused with heroin, which is definitely illegal (and was illegal in 1965). But really, this is a genius way to describe a candy bar. I’d die for one, and that’s no ad speak!
The Cigar League
Smoke. Do it.
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