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A&E Home Video presents
Vintage World Series Films: Oakland Athletics (2006)

"La Russa needed a solid season from his starting pitchers, and he got it."
- Al Michaels

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: September 14, 2006

Stars: Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Jose Canseco, Vida Blue, Tony La Russa
Other Stars: Mark McGwire, Carney Lansford, Joe Rudi, Bert Campaneris, Ken Holtzman, Sal Bando, Al Michaels
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 02h:55m:00s
Release Date: June 27, 2006
UPC: 603212010722
Genre: sports


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ A+C-C- D-

DVD Review

I live, eat, and breathe Oakland Athletics baseball even though I live about an hour north of Cincinnati. However, since I was a kid I was sold on the As for one overriding reason: their storied tradition. After stints in Philadelphia and Kansas City, the franchise moved to Oakland in 1968. Once in the Bay Area, they were still the same old Connie Mack-led team, but it wasn't until 1972 that they captured their first World Series Championship in their new home.

After reviewing The Cincinnati Reds 1975 World Series: Collector's Edition, I was expecting a similar boxed set chronicling one or more of my beloved Athletics' three consecutive World Series championships from 1972-1974. When I heard this would be a "greatest hits" release for my team, anger, then disappointment ran their emotional course. After experiencing this abbreviated version, however, I am more than pleased with how my team is represented in their inaugural DVD venture.

This single disc packs a hell of a punch in a small, inexpensive package. The simple fact is, unless you're a die-hard fan of a given team in any sport, you're not likely to sit through the 17-plus hours of game footage that those larger comprehensive sports boxes offer. This makes such condensed releases much more appealing to all baseball fans, regardless of their loyalties, as they provide a brief yet almost equally informative trip down memory lane. At a running time of nearly three hours, four of the best seasons in franchise history are covered via footage from in and around Oakland and its Coliseum, the games, and interviews with players and others close to the team.

The first short film takes a look at the beginning of the real '70s dynasty when the As faced the Cincinnati Reds in 1972. This classic series—nearly forgotten in my neck of the woods, thanks to the abundance of Reds fans—featured Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, and other As greats going up against the Big Red Machine. Going the full allotment of seven games, some amazing pitching performances and timely hitting helped Oakland nail down the championship.

Next is the 1973 World Series, pitting the As against the New York Mets. Again lasting seven games, the "Swingin' As" (dubbed as such due to their in-clubhouse fighting as well as their hitting prowess) took down the Big Apple. Sealing the deal on the dynasty, the AL team dispatched of the Los Angeles Dodgers in a quick five-game 1974 World Series. Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando led the As this time, but Hunter, Blue, and Ken Holtzman more than handled their pitching duties.

The final series covered is the 1989 Bay Area battle between the Oakland and their Bay Bridge rivals, the San Francisco Giants. This much hyped events was sadly overshadowed by a massive earthquake that killed many Bay Area residents and pushed the series back awhile. After resuming play, the Oakland boys needed only the minimum four games to topple these Giants, but this emotional series transcended baseball.

The history books speak for themselves: the Oakland Athletics are one of the most successful franchises in baseball history. Now everyone can be a fan, thanks to this DVD.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: This old footage (the newest is from 1989) shows up in its original format and is far from demo material. In this case, the shoddy quality (drab colors, soft images) matters little, as watching these games in their original grainy glory only adds to the nostalgia.

Image Transfer Grade: C-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix that doesn't fare any better than the video. Still, the speakers can be clearly understood, as well as the necessary ambient sounds. Those aspects, combined with the solid music make for an adequate track that suits the footage just fine.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 4 cues and remote access
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: There aren't any extras on this DVD.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Oakland fans can relive some of their team's greatest moments in Warner Home Video's DVD. Chronicling four of the team's most memorable World Series victories, this disc will spin numerous times in fans' players. While there aren't any extra features, the audio and video are exactly what we would expect from such old footage.

 


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