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Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Waterbury Wizard

"He's great, but you have to play him in a cage." - Casey Stengel -

Jimmy Piersall was one of baseball's most colorful personalities. He had an above average career with a number of major league teams in the 50's and 60's but is probably best known as the subject of the Tony Perkins/Karl Malden movie "Fear Strikes Out".

His battles against fans, coaches, opposing players, umpires and scoreboards were legendary. Later diagnosed with bi-polar, Jimmy was forced to miss much of the 1953 season as he was sent to Westborough State Hospital for "nervous exhaustion".

Among his most infamous acts was coming to bat wearing a Beatle wig and playing air guitar with his bat, taking bows after catching routine fly balls and as depicted below, running the bases backward after his 100th career home run. The aforementioned Stengel fired him days later, not amused by the stunt.

Jimmy went on to a checkered career as a broadcaster for a number of teams. He was ultimately fired for calling the teams wives a "bunch of horny broads".

He disowned the bio calling Anthony Perkins a "sniveling wuss". Couldn't agree more....

Jimmy is alive and well at 80 years of age, insulting radio talk show listeners with his opinions of the current state of major league sports. He remains as a true legend of the game.


Tom McMahon said...

Jimmy Piersall: Are You Headed Up To the Major Leagues, Or Are You Just Playing Against Those Who Are?. This little bit of advice is something I've remembered for over 20 years now, and is probably the best advice I've published on my site in 7 years.