Friday, November 30, 2007

Home Run Derby

3 DVD's from this series were recently released. I must say we were very creative about inventing games at Tanahey Park and Coleman Oval . One of my favorites was Home Run Derby, which we adapted from this 1959 show. It was a game we would play if there were just a few of us around. The only problem was that it was a pain to chase down a ball if one of us hit a homer. I remember playing it with a stickball bat and a spalding at Tanahey where we created a baseball diamond from the 2 eastern most basketball courts. In that way we would have both a right and left field fence. It was a game I played a lot with Rich Karney. He would switch hit. In fact I believe he was our only real bona fide switch hitter, (Marvin did a little too). The homers I hit were little consolation for the one I never hit at Coleman Oval in the little league.
Note: all switch hitters mentioned here were literal, not figurative. Or is it the other way around Not that there's anything wrong with that.
About Home Run Derby
Home Run Derby was a 1959 television show held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles pitting the top sluggers of Major League Baseball against each other in 9-inning home run contests. The show was produced and hosted by actor and Hollywood Stars broadcaster Mark Scott
The rules were similar to modern home run derbies, with one notable exception. The show's rules were that if a batter did not swing at a pitch that was in the strike zone, that also constituted an out, although this rarely happened. Nine future Hall of Famers would eventually participate in the series. Art Passarella, a major league umpire who would go on to a TV acting career, served as the plate umpire. There were also umpires in the outfield to help judge fly balls that were close calls. The participants were:
Hank Aaron, Bob Allison, Ernie Banks, Ken Boyer, Bob Cerv, Rocky Colavito
Gil Hodges, Jackie Jensen, Al Kaline, Jim Lemon, Harmon Killebrew,
Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays, Wally Post, Frank Robinson,
Duke Snider, Dick Stuart, Gus Triandos

Aaron won the contest 6 times. Mantle played in the initial match vs Mays and I read online that he was so hung over that he whiffed on a few pitches. Later in the 6th inning, of the simulated game, he sobered enough to blast a few tape measure jobs

Out of the 19, eight are dead and tragically the host of the show, Mark Scott died 6 months after the filming of the series. He had a heart attack and was just 45 years old.

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