A&E Home Video presents
Chicago Cubs Legends: Great Games Collector's Edition (2007)
"It's hard to believe we would ever see a Cubs player with 60 home runs, But not only that, 60 home runs with still 13 games left to go."- Steve Stone
Stars: Ryne Sandberg, Rick Sutcliffe, Andre Dawson, Mark Grace, Kerry Wood, Sammy Sosa, Greg Maddux, Derrek Lee
Other Stars: Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Holtzman, Ron Santo, Ron Cey, Larry Bowa, Gary Matthews, Bob Dernier, Keith Moreland, Leon Durham, Steve Trout, Jody Davis, Steve Stone, Harry Caray, Dave Martinez, Jerry Mumphrey, Jim Sunberg, Paul Noce, Les Lancaster, Jerome Walton, Dwight Smith, Luis Salazar, Shawon Dunston, Joe Girardi, Mike Bielecki, Grant Brown, Mickey Morandini, Henry Rodriguez, Jeff Blauser, Sandy Martinez, Kevin Orie, Chip Caray, Lance Johnson, Jose Hernandez, Glenallen Hill, Gary Gaetti, Scott Servais, Steve Trachsel, Dusty Baker, Nomar Garciaparra, Corey Patterson, Moises Alou, Paul Bako, Todd Walker, John Koronka, Michael Barrett, Todd Hollandsworth, Ryan Dempster, Jeromy Burnitz, Neifi Perez, Enrique Wilson, Jack Brickhouse, Mitch Williams
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 20h:49m:00s
Release Date: 2007-05-29
DVD ReviewNo one can ever accuse Major League Baseball of issuing skimpy "best of" discs, because over the past few years they have begun to continually release pricey, full game multi-disc sets focusing on everything from the World Series to individual team milestones. These are big, heavy sets, appealing to the kind of baseball fan that wants the whole thing, not just bits and pieces. Rather than cherry-picking the juicy parts and slapping together a single disc highlight reel, MLB has cleverly given the baseball faithful a chance to relive every pitch of each key game. It may seem kind of silly to those who aren't that into it—why would you want to watch an entire game from 1984?—but that's one of those things that is hard to explain.
You either get excited about that, or you don't.
And for fans of the Chicago Cubs, the mere act of getting excited can sometimes be a challenge. Sure, there have been some memorable moments, but with nearly a century (seems like two if you ask me) passing without a World Series title, the ability to keep a stiff upper lip season after season can be exhausting. Chicago Cubs Legends: Great Games Collector's Edition is the latest MLB entry, an eight-disc set that isolates one spectacular game for eight individual Cubbie heroes from 1984 through 2005. It's a solid sampling of recent era fan favorites, including Ryne Sandberg, Rick Sutcliffe, Andre Dawson, Mark Grace, Kerry Wood, Sammy Sosa, Greg Maddux, and Derrek Lee.
It's probably Sandberg's oft-cited 1984 two home run/ seven RBI game against the Cardinals—and that exciting 9th inning game-tying shot—and the rookie Kerry Wood's staggering 20 strikeout game in 1998 versus the Astros that constitute two of the biggest Cub moments of the past few decades. Each of these perpetually referenced games are represented here in their entirety, as are other Cub-history bright spots like leaping Sammy Sosa's two-home-run game—numbers 61 and 62—in 1998 against the Brewers, and durable Greg Maddux's 300th career victory in 2004 versus the Giants. There's also a couple of post-season nuggets, like when Rick Sutcliffe threw seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts against the Padres in 1984 and Mark Grace went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in NLCS Game 2.
The games are a mix of national and local coverage, and if nothing else it's interesting to watch the progression of how stats and the like were presented (and improved upon) onscreen over the years, And since only two of the games in this collection were on the road (Maddux and Derrek Lee), there's the added bit of Cub cool by also starring the ivy-covered friendly confines of Wrigley Field in the other six featured classics. Plus, there's the "oh yeah, I remember that Cub" nostalgic fun when players like Mickey Morandini, Bob Dernier or Jerry Mumphrey make an appearance.
There's a whole lot of great baseball here, and I know not everyone is going to want to sit down and relive the entire Andre Dawson three-home-run game in 1987 or watch Derrek Lee go 5-for-5 against the Dodgers in 2005, but they're here if you want to. That's the dumb beauty of a set like this. There's a quote on the cover from first baseman Mark Grace about the Wood 20 K game, and he says "That was simply the greatest pitching performance I've seen in my life. You might never see another game like this for the rest of your life."
Baseball geeks—in this case all of diehard Cubdom—will no doubt get a warm tingle just knowing it's there on the shelf.
Here's the disc-by-disc lineup:
Disc 1 (03h:11m:22)
2 Home Runs, 7 RBI
Cardinals v Cubs
June 23, 1984
Disc 2 (02h:20m:56s)
7 Innings, 0 ER, 8 Strikeouts
NLCS Game 1
Padres v Cubs
October 2, 1984
Disc 3 (02h:38m:57s)
3 Home runs, 5 RBI
Phillies v Cubs
Aug 1, 1987
Disc 4 (02m:26m:48s)
3-For-4, 4 RBI
NLCS Game 2
Giants v CubsOctober 5, 1989
Disc 5 (01h:52m:12s)
Astros v Cubs
May 6, 1998
Sammy Sosa (03h:09m:06s)
Home runs 61 and 62
Brewers v Cubs
Sept 13, 1998
Disc 7 (02h:34m:48s)
Cubs v Giants
Aug 7, 2004
Disc 8 (02h:42m:13s)
5-For-5, 4 RBI
Cubs v Dodgers
June 1, 2005
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: There's a disclaimer at the start of each disc that the content features "audio and video imperfections inherent in the master tapes", which is polite talk for saying the quality is barely better than mediocre on these full-frame transfers. The more recent games look best, with the early 1980s footage easily the roughest, but comparing this to the HD sports broadcast quality we're used to now today would be a little unfair.
More archival than reference.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. Announcer play-by-play is understandable (and that's really the core of these discs), but occasionally suffer from sounding rather tinny and crackly, especially the early 1980s games. Nothing terribly noteworthy about the audio, and it exists somewhere on the just-below-average scale, with not much in the way of being anything more than ordinary.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 148 cues and remote access
Packaging: Box Set
Extras Review: The packaging alone earns high marks, as each case is adorned with a wealth of info on each particular game. Lineups, detailed box scores, team trivia, length of game, even a picture of the game ticket for that day or the bat used by the highlighted player. All eight discs are in clear plastic thinpak cases inside of a thick cardboard slipcase, and the presentation matches the look and feel of the other MLB boxed sets, which is key if you're a symmetry nerd like me.
All of the extras are tacked on Disc 8 and feature 15 assorted Cubbie highlights, timewise beginning with the Last Two Outs of Ken Holtzman's No Hitter: June 6, 1968 (:39s)—featuring a thrilling against-the-ivy catch by Billy Williams—and ending with Aramis Ramirez Hits 3 Home Runs in a Game Twice in 2004 (01m:51s). Naturally there's Ernie Banks 500th Home Run (02m:43s) in May of 1970 and the followup Ernie Banks Post-Game Interview on 500th Home Run (04m:38s), which is actually the longest of all the supplements; Mr. Cub also is featured as Ernie Banks: MLB All-Century Team Member (02m:12s).
A pair of Sweet Swinging Billy moments, one of which is incorrectly titled Billy Williams Day: Speech to Wrigley Fans June 29, 1970 (01m:25s)—which actually was in 1969, not 1970, honoring his breaking of Stan Musial's record 896th consecutive game—and Billy Williams Wrigley Highlights (01m:25s), featuring amongst others a long off-the-wall drive that has announcer Jack Brickhouse shouting "Willie Mays goes baaack." The Hall-of-Fame-robbed Cubbie third baseman gets some of the glory too with Ron Santo Wrigley Highlights (02m:25s), and this provides another classic Brickhouse phrase during a home run shot: "Baack, baaack, baaaack...Hey! Hey!"
With the mid-to-late 1970s largely ignored (and I think all Cub fans know why), the remaining extras focus on the unusual—Cubs Turn a Triple Play: June 2, 1983 (01m:56s)—and fan-friendly pomp like Dunston, Sandberg, Dawson 1990 All-Star Game Intros at Wrigley Field (01m:34s). Harry Caray Hall of Fame Speech Highlights (06m:02s) and Ryne Sandberg Hall of Fame Speech Highlights (08m:42s) are nice touches, with Caray's being the most enjoyable because I don't think anyone would ever label Ryno a riveting public speaker.
Lastly, the final outs of the most important three victories in the past 20+ years of Cub history are here, represented by Cubs Clinch 1984 NL East Title (:45s), Cubs Clinch 1989 NL East Title (:47s) and Cubs Clinch 2003 NL Central Title (03m:59s).
Extras Grade: A-
Final CommentsHere's a big ol' eigth-disc reminder that exciting stuff does happen to the Cubs on occasion, even if a coveted World Series title is not one of them.
Baack. Baaack. Baaaack. Hey Hey! Highly recommended—for Northsiders, no matter where you live.
Rich Rosell 2007-05-29