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Jim Piersall is groomed by his loving but hard-driving father (living vicariously through his son) to play major league baseball. His desire to succeed to please his father leads to mental illness and a nervous breakdown. Can he overcome those difficulties and return to the major leagues? Written by
Jerry Milani <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Most of Jimmy Piersall's teammates on the Boston Red Sox have unusually high uniform numbers, ranging from the 50s through the 80s. Since numbers that high were rarely used, this move may have been done to avoid associating any real players with the movie. See more »
Piersall is show wearing uniform number 37 immediately upon his promotion to the Red Sox. During his first two years, and part of a third year, he wore uniform numbers 24, 26, 2, and 34, not donning his well-known number 37 until partway into the 1953 season. See more »
More than just Peanuts and Crackerjacks in this baseball movie.
This is not what one would call a pleasant film to watch particularly about Baseball. It tells the true story of former major league ball player Jim Piersall of the Boston Red Sox and his eventual mental breakdown. While certain events are not exactly the way they took place the story nonetheless sticks pretty much to fact. Anthony Perkins puts in a dynamic performance as Piersall. A kid who likes baseball but is driven to madness by his domineering perfection minded father played by Karl Malden. Also included in the cast is Norma Moore as Jims devoted wife Mary and Adam Williams as the psychiatrist Doctor Brown.
The first half of the picture deals with Piersall growing up practicing and playing baseball always under the scrutiny of his father. Whatever Jim did on the playing field it could always have been done better according to his Dad. The second half of the film deals with Piersalls mental breakdown and subsequent treatment and recovery. While watching a ball game on TV he makes remarks that his doctor picks up on and uses to unlock the reason why he cracked up. These same circumstances are no doubt still occurring today as many parents push their children relentlessly in everything from sports to academics to beauty pageants. Jim Piersalls story fortunately became a book and later this fine film that perhaps has and will continue to serve as a message to those who watch it. Whether you're a baseball fan or not this is a movie to be seen.
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