70s-era MLB team tried mind control

From the archives of 60 Minutes, a look back at Morley Safer's 1975 report on a bizarre strategy one pro baseball team used to gain an edge

As the Cincinnati Reds prepare to host the 86th annual MLB All-Star Game, 60 Minutes Overtime decided to take a look in the broadcast's archives to get into the spirit of summer baseball.

What we found is an odd July report from 1975 on just how far one major league team went to gain an edge. The story is Morley Safer's "Guru in the Dugout," and it shows the strategy the Chicago White Sox players implemented to overcome their shortcomings on the field: mind-control techniques.

At the time, Las Vegas bookmakers had given the team the least chance of winning the American League pennant -- the longest odds possible: 60-to-1 against. So, instead of practicing harder, the Sox decided to hire a mind-control instructor to tap into the players' inner psyches.

At the team's training camp in Sarasota, Safer found players lying on the floor of a darkened room trying to "lower their brain waves." They were also instructed to bring their baseball bats and gloves to their foreheads in an attempt to become "one" with the equipment. On the field, they could be found meditating in an attempt to raise their batting averages.

In the report, Safer called the techniques "psychic mumbo jumbo," but he still walked away with an open mind:

"For a lot of these players, it does work, and the mere act of taking the course and becoming a believer seems to have given them that something extra they say you got to have to be a winner."

"Guru in the Dugout," produced by Jim Jackson and reported by Morley Safer, aired on 60 Minutes in July of 1975.

60rgurudugout1280.jpg

60 Minutes App

New Look. New Season. The 60 Minutes app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch!

More 60 minutes Overtime

Comments