30 for 30: Season 1, Episode 27

Fernando Nation (26 Oct. 2010)

TV Episode  -  Documentary | Biography | Sport
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"The Natural is supposed to be a blue-eyed boy who teethed on a 36-ounce Louisville Slugger. He should run like the wind and throw boysenberries through brick. He should come from ... See full summary »



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Episode credited cast:
Mike Brito ...
Himself (as Stan Brooks)
Al Campanis ...
Himself (archive footage)
Henry Cisneros ...
Don Drysdale ...
Himself (archive footage)
Al Ferrara ...
Paul Haddad ...
Orel Hershiser ...
Stu Nahan ...
Himself (archive footage)
Mike Scioscia ...
Himself (voice) (archive footage)


"The Natural is supposed to be a blue-eyed boy who teethed on a 36-ounce Louisville Slugger. He should run like the wind and throw boysenberries through brick. He should come from California." Steve Wulf, Sports Illustrated, 1981. So how was it that a pudgy 19-year-old Mexican left-handed pitcher from a remote village in the Sonoran desert, unable to speak a word of English, could sell out stadiums across America and become a rock star overnight? In Fernando Nation, Mexican-born and Los Angeles-raised director Cruz Angeles traces the history of a community that was torn apart when Dodger Stadium was built in Chavez Ravine and then revitalized by one of the most captivating pitching phenoms baseball has ever seen. Nicknamed "El Toro" by his fans, Fernando Valenzuela ignited a fire that spread from LA to New York -- and beyond. He vaulted himself onto the prime-time stage and proved with his signature look to the heavens and killer screwball that the American dream was not reserved for ... Written by ESPN Films

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Release Date:

26 October 2010 (USA)  »

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References Rocky (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

So that's what happened to Fernando....
14 January 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Back in the early 1980s, the hottest name in baseball was Fernando Valenzuela. So big, that he won BOTH the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards in his first full season in the Major Leagues. However, by the early 90s, he disappeared from baseball and I always wondered what happened to him. While this is not THE main focus of this episode of "30 for 30", this question is answered. What the show IS about is his arrival at baseball as well as how important this was to the Mexican-American community in L.A. at that time. As usual for the series, it's fascinating, well made and worth seeing even if you aren't a big fan of baseball. Not among the best episodes of the series, but still quite good. What is the most interesting thing I learned from this show? That during this award-winning season, Valenzuela was paid the league minimum salary!! Crazy.

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