A series of filmed home run contests between two sluggers of the late 1950s/early 1960s, one National Leaguer, one American Leaguer. The batters had to swing at every pitch in the strike ... See full summary »
A series of filmed home run contests between two sluggers of the late 1950s/early 1960s, one National Leaguer, one American Leaguer. The batters had to swing at every pitch in the strike zone. Any called strike or batted ball that did not go for a home run was an out. (Three outs per inning.) The batter with the most runs at the end of nine innings won $2000. The loser got $1000. As an added incentive, any batter who hit three home runs in a row got a $500 bonus. Each consecutive home run after the first three in a row was worth an additional $500. While one hitter was at bat, the other sat in the press box with host Mark Scott and talked about both his and the other hitter's career. Filmed at Wrigley Field--home of the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels--where the power alleys were a generous 345 feet from home plate. Written by
Steven W. Siferd <email@example.com>
The winner's award of $2,000 doesn't sound like much now but if one adjusts for inflation that amount would be equivalent to almost $16,000 in 2013 dollars. Hank Aaron, due to his success over several contests, earned the equivalent of a bit over $100,000, which isn't too bad for a day's work. See more »
I think that I may have found a new favorite show-- "Home Run Derby" from 1959-60. Why, you might ask? Several reasons, as a matter of fact.
--First, it was the thrill of seeing some of the greatest players hitting homers without all the "styling" of today's Derbies.
--Secondly, it was the fact that the game was played in a compact, easy- to-enjoy half-hour format, unlike today's Derbies, where one batter can stay up at the plate for at least that long or much longer than that, so long as he keeps hitting homers.
--Third, very simple rules: one, that any ball not hit as a homer was an out (of which each player got three per inning, just as in real ball; a swing and a miss, or a pitch that was taken in the strike zone, also was an out), and for a string of three homers, there was a $500 bonus; the same for a fourth, and every home run after that got an additional $1000. The winner got $2000, and the runner-up $1000. The pitcher who threw the most homers also got a bonus (don't know how much it was).
--Finally, it was the inherent feeling of sportsmanship; the two players shook hands before the start of the game, and again afterward, as well as shaking hands with presenter/announcer Mark Scott (sadly deceased).
In short, all these reasons are why I enjoy looking at "Home Run Derby," and why I think you will too, whether you see it on ESPN Classic, or get one or all of the DVD releases.
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