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 / Sports
Baseball DigestBaseball Digest

Baseball Digest

November/December 2019

The Oldest and Longest-Running Baseball Magazine in the United States

United States
Grandstand Publishing
Read More
6 Issues


9 min.
the natural still the gold standard of baseball movies

Why the call was routed to me by the receptionist I will never know. It was just a few months into my tenure as MLB’s Assistant Director of Information in early 1983 and, as the junior man in the department, an inquiry from someone identifying himself as a “movie producer” was unlikely to end up at my desk. But, thankfully, it did. The caller’s name was Mark Johnson and, at the time, he had a single screen credit as a producer—of the surprise critical and box-office success story of 1982, Diner. Six years later, he would take home an Oscar for 1988’s Best Picture, Rain Man, and would enjoy a decades-long career in the industry with such hits as Good Morning Vietnam, The Notebook, Galaxy Quest and Bugsy (nominated for 10 Academy Awards).…

1 min.
confession of a baseball consultant

It’s been 35 years since The Natural opened in theaters across the country, so I think this story can finally be told. I had seen the movie several times, on a big screen or home video, when producer Mark Johnson again reached out to me at the Commissioner’s Office. He was searching—ultimately in vain for video of a Yankees-Orioles telecast from the early 1960s to be shown on a diner’s TV in another collaboration with director Barry Levinson—1987’s Tin Men. During the course of our conversation, I couldn’t help but ask Johnson about something I noticed a “blooper —in a key scene in The Natural. “When Roy Hobbs comes to bat for the first time and knocks the cover off the ball,” I told him, “there are two different home-plate umpires in that…

7 min.
the fans speak out

ROOKIE POWER SHOW When Pete Alonso of the New York Mets broke the franchise record for home runs in a single season on August 27, I heard that he was the first rookie to break a club’s single-season home-run record since Johnny Rizzo of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1938. I was wondering if any rookies had accomplished this feat before Rizzo. Terence McMahonEvanston, IL With 23 home runs as a rookie in 1938—breaking Arky Vaughn’s Pirates franchise record of 19 home runs (1935)—Johnny Rizzo became the sixth rookie in the modern era to break an existing club record for home runs in a season. Ralph Kiner tied Rizzo’s rookie mark in 1946, but did not break the Pirates record until the following season, when he hit 51. Rookies Who Broke a Franchise Home-Run Record…

4 min.
baseball and the movies

SCORING 10 of 10 • Hall of Famer 8 or 9 • MVP 6 or 7 • All-Star 5 or less • Rookie 1 In the 1942 classic, The Pride of the Yankees, two future Hall of Famers played themselves opposite Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig. One was Babe Ruth. Name the other Hall of Famer who portrayed himself in the movie. 2 Which former Rookie of the Year was cast as a member of the New York Knights, the fictitious National League team in the 1984 baseball classic, The Natural? 3 In Hollywood’s attempt to cash in on their 1961 home-run chase, New York Yankees Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris starred as themselves in a 1962 movie, Safe at Home! Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford and manager Ralph Houk also played themselves along with one other former…

14 min.
q&a with trevor bauer

Baseball Digest: Let's go back to the days before the trade deadline. You were prominent in trade rumors. What was that like for you? Were you following the news as it unfolded? Trevor Bauer: I was following. It's hard not to. It was on MLB Network, and even if I chose not to watch MLB Network, it's on in the clubhouse. If I choose not to go on social media, other teammates see it and ask you about it. It's impossible to ignore. It didn't bother me at all. That's going to be the majority of my career—signing one-year deals. So, it's par for the course. It doesn't change anything. You show up to the field, do the best you can, do your job, and whoever you play for is who…

10 min.
simply the best

Dodger Stadium was packed and loud, like it always is when the Angels come up the freeway for their annual regular season visit, and Dino Ebel had a split-second decision to make. The Dodgers’ third-base coach saw a hit rocketing into center field and Max Muncy was charging around third. As Mike Trout picked the ball up on one hop, Ebel waved Muncy to the plate. Trout launched a throw that Statcast would record as 98.6 mph, the hardest throw he’d made in the five seasons that major-league outfielders’ throws have been tracked. It was on the money, and Muncy was out, in a game the Angels would win by one run. After that game in late July 2019, Ebel took full responsibility for the critical decision. He, of all people, knew.…