It was reported that Kevin Costner was angry with Universal Pictures because they cut his full-frontal shower scene. Costner told Newsweek that the studio lacked "real courage" by insisting that the film have a more kid-friendly rating. But a studio executive told New York magazine that a test audience in Arizona gave a thumbs-down to Costner's manhood. "The audience giggled at Kevin's penis... Then, in focus groups, they said, 'Do we really need to see Kevin Costner's penis?'"
The scene in which the ball bounces off of Mickey Hart's head is based on the famous incident in which the same thing happened to Texas Rangers outfielder Jose Canseco. Afterward, when Billy and Mickey are talking in the clubhouse, Mickey jokes "It'll probably end up on ESPN." In fact, Canseco's incident became blooper reel fodder for ESPN for the remainder of that year.
Dave Eiland, who played a relief pitcher in the bullpen and celebration scene, was also Kevin Costner's pitching double in some long shots. He later went on to serve as pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals.
On the DVD, under the "on the mound" section, you can answer a series of questions about the perfect game. If you answer all of these correctly, you will get an Easter Egg: the short black and white film "Play Ball with Babe Ruth" will play.
Facing Ken Strout in the bottom of the 9th inning, Chapel says to himself "Think Billy, don't just throw." In the film Bull Durham (1988), Costner's character Crash Davis gave the opposite advice to pitching protégé Nuke LaLoosh when he said, "Don't think. Just throw."
The book next to Billy Chapel on the airplane after he finds Heather is "The Killer Angels". This book was also written by Michael Shaara, who wrote "For Love of the Game" and "The Killer Angels" was also made into a movie called Gettysburg (1993).
The manager of the New York Yankees is played by Augie Garrido, who befriended Kevin Costner while he was the head coach at Cal State Fullerton. Garrido has been the head coach at the University of Texas since 1997, and the two remain good friends.
At the end of the game, the last Yankee uniform to go into the dugout has the number 61 on the back - an important number in NY history (Roger Maris' record in 1961). The uniform number, when he first walked to bat, was number 60. It was changed to 61.
According to the Fox Sports graphic displayed at the beginning of the game, Billy Chapel's stats for the year (coming into the game) are as follows: 8 Wins, 11 Losses, 30 Games Played, 30 Games Started, 2 Complete Games, 1 Shutout (Meaning in one other game he pitched a complete game - which doesn't have to be a full 9 Innings - and allowed an opposing run), 211 Innings Pitched, 98 Walks Allowed, and 111 Strike Outs.
According to Kevin Costner, Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner was becoming agitated that the Yankees would be seen losing in a movie filmed on location at Yankee Stadium. Costner said he was able to calm Steinbrenner down by explaining that Billy Chapel, and not necessarily the game itself was the movie's major focus. Costner also explained that the game would mean nothing to the Yankees, and that it wasn't played as a "Winner Take All" scenario. Costner convinced Steinbrenner that in the movie's universe, the Yankees would clinch the AL East division the next day, keeping alive their World Series chances. Costner said that he later received a Yankees 1999 World Series ring as a Thank You gift from Steinbrenner.
Sam Tuttle, the best hitter on the team, wears #13 and plays 3rd base. Alex Rodriguez also wears the same number and played the same position. Furthermore, Rodriguez played for the Texas Rangers and Michael Papajohn, the actor playing Tuttle, was drafted by the Rangers.
Both Jane's career (writing) and name (Jane Aubrey) are probably references to Jane Austen, one of the most famous writers of all time. Additionally, the title of Jane's article that Billy Chapel reads during spring training, "Scents and Sensibilities", is an obvious play on "Sense and Sensibilities", one of Jane Austen's most famous novels.
Throughout the film, everyone is talking about what a great pitcher Billy is. One person even says to Billy "You've got a room reserved for you in Cooperstown". There is a visual representation of Billy's past triumphs in the film. During the montage scene of Jane constantly asking Billy questions, in the scene when she asks him how he likes his chicken, the camera pans over to Billy and on the wall to the right, there are three plaques mounted on the wall. Those plaques are Cy Young Awards. The Cy Young Award (Named after the all-time leader in wins with over 500 victories) is given to the pitcher in each league who is the best in the league for that year. Essentially, it means that Billy was the best pitcher in the American League (the league the Tigers are in) on at least three different occasions. The winner of the award is usually the league leader in wins and other major categories like lowest ERA (Earned Run Average) and most strike outs.
The movie's production and release coincided with the fact that two real life perfect games were pitched at Yankee Stadium during that time frame. David Wells of the Yankees threw a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins at the Stadium in May 1998, six months prior to the filming of game scenes there. David Cone, also of the Yankees, would pitch a perfect game at Yankee Stadium against the Montreal Expos in July 1999, almost exactly two months prior to the film's release.
A lot of the Yankee hitters use actual Yankee stats from the 1998 season. An example is Matt Crane, the pinch hitter to lead off the ninth. He was hitting .373 with 10 HRs and 27 RBIs. These were Shane Spencer's stats in 1998. Davis Birch used Paul O'Neil's stats.
The Tigers are shown to be going into the game with a season win-loss record of 64-97. The number wound up being very close to the real life Tigers final record of 69-92 for the 1999 season (The time of the film's release). The Yankees were noted as closing in on clinching first place in the American League East Division, and would actually do so in the 1999 season. In real life however, the Yankees clinched the division prior to their final series of the regular season.
At one point where Billy flashes back seeing his parents in the stands a 1984 World Series banner is visible. The Tigers were actually in the 1984 World Series, which they won four games to one against the San Diego Padres.
After pitching his perfect game at Yankee Stadium, Kevin Costner's character carries John C. Reilly to his hotel room, where Reilly says to him, "you're the cream in my coffee." In Costner's movie JFK (1991) a woman on the street comes up to him asking if he remembers singing with her at a party to which he responds, "oh right, we sang 'you're the cream in my coffee'" as he walks away.
A batted ball bounces off Mickey Hart's head and into the stands for a home run allegedly in Boston. Chappy mentions to Mickey, the next time in Boston they'll play the wall together". As Mickey Hart plays Right Field for the Tigers, a batted ball could not bounce off of Mickey's head up into the stands. Boston's Fenway Park has a very low Right Field Fence which extends all the way to Center Field. And there is no way the ball would bounce off Mickey's head and over the Green Monster (Left Field wall) for a Home Run.