Big Leaguer (1953)

70 mins | Drama | 21 August 1953

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writer:

Herbert Baker

Producer:

Matthew Rapf

Cinematographers:

William C. Mellor, Harold Lipstein

Editor:

Ben Lewis

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Eddie Imazu

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The character of sportswriter "Brian McLennan" provides voice-over narration throughout the film. John "Hans" Lobert (1881--1968), a well-regarded third baseman, played professional baseball for fourteen years, including three years as a member of the New York Giants. After coaching at West Point and managing in the minor leagues, Lobert returned to the Giants. From 1945 to 1967, he worked with Carl Hubbell, the former Giants pitcher who directed the team's player development program.
       According to a 27 Jan 1953 HR news item, Henry Morgan was originally cast in the role of the sportswriter. The film was shot on location at the Giants' training camp in Melbourne, FL. Big Leaguer was dancer Vera-Ellen's first nonmusical role, and her last assignment at M-G-M. The picture also marked Robert Aldrich's film directing ... More Less

The character of sportswriter "Brian McLennan" provides voice-over narration throughout the film. John "Hans" Lobert (1881--1968), a well-regarded third baseman, played professional baseball for fourteen years, including three years as a member of the New York Giants. After coaching at West Point and managing in the minor leagues, Lobert returned to the Giants. From 1945 to 1967, he worked with Carl Hubbell, the former Giants pitcher who directed the team's player development program.
       According to a 27 Jan 1953 HR news item, Henry Morgan was originally cast in the role of the sportswriter. The film was shot on location at the Giants' training camp in Melbourne, FL. Big Leaguer was dancer Vera-Ellen's first nonmusical role, and her last assignment at M-G-M. The picture also marked Robert Aldrich's film directing debut. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Jul 1953.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jul 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
24 Jul 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jan 53
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 53
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 53
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 53
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Jul 53
p. 1918.
Variety
15 Jul 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on a story by
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
SONGS
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game," music by Albert von Tilzer, lyrics by Jack Norworth.
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 August 1953
Production Date:
16 February--early March 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
13 July 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2765
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70
Length(in feet):
6,344
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16459
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Every year, young men dreaming of a career in professional baseball come to the New York Giants training camp in Melbourne, Florida. On the first day, the eager young athletes are greeted by John B. "Hans" Lobert, a former third baseman who now runs the camp. Hans is pleasantly surprised by the arrival of his niece Christy, who works in the Giants' front office. Later, new roommates Tippy Mitchell, Bobby Bronson, and tough-talking Julie Davis get acquainted, and the others are impressed to learn that the shy Tippy's father is famous first baseman Wally Mitchell. Meanwhile, Christy tells her uncle that the home office is under pressure to replace him with someone who can get better results, and Hans pins his hopes on the new group of trainees. While walking on the diamond, Hans and Christy encounter a late arrival, third baseman Adam Polachuk, who has come from a small mining town in Pennsylvania. Training begins the following morning, and sports columnist Brian McLennan shows up to write a story about the camp. Hans puts the young players through their paces, taking particular interest in Adam. As the week goes on, Christy befriends Adam, who confides that his mother deserted the family when he was a teenager. At the end of the first week, the first cut is made, and the remaining players are assigned to teams. Adam becomes depressed when he learns that Brian's column will be published in his home town newspaper, and his poor performance at practice alarms Hans, who tells Christy that the great pitcher Carl Hubbell will arrive soon to make his report to the front office. ... +


Every year, young men dreaming of a career in professional baseball come to the New York Giants training camp in Melbourne, Florida. On the first day, the eager young athletes are greeted by John B. "Hans" Lobert, a former third baseman who now runs the camp. Hans is pleasantly surprised by the arrival of his niece Christy, who works in the Giants' front office. Later, new roommates Tippy Mitchell, Bobby Bronson, and tough-talking Julie Davis get acquainted, and the others are impressed to learn that the shy Tippy's father is famous first baseman Wally Mitchell. Meanwhile, Christy tells her uncle that the home office is under pressure to replace him with someone who can get better results, and Hans pins his hopes on the new group of trainees. While walking on the diamond, Hans and Christy encounter a late arrival, third baseman Adam Polachuk, who has come from a small mining town in Pennsylvania. Training begins the following morning, and sports columnist Brian McLennan shows up to write a story about the camp. Hans puts the young players through their paces, taking particular interest in Adam. As the week goes on, Christy befriends Adam, who confides that his mother deserted the family when he was a teenager. At the end of the first week, the first cut is made, and the remaining players are assigned to teams. Adam becomes depressed when he learns that Brian's column will be published in his home town newspaper, and his poor performance at practice alarms Hans, who tells Christy that the great pitcher Carl Hubbell will arrive soon to make his report to the front office. That evening, Adam sadly packs his suitcase and prepares to leave the camp. Christy finds him at the bus stop and presses him for an explanation, and Adam admits he told his hard-working immigrant father that he was leaving home to attend college. Christy urges Adam not to give up on himself, and he embraces her. The next cut is made, and Bobby, a brash but talented pitcher, is let go. The day before the big game against the Brooklyn Dodgers rookies, Hubbell arrives at the camp, along with Tippy's father Wally. Hans is unable to tell Wally that Tippy is not a very strong player, and against his better judgment, puts the young man in the starting lineup. The following morning, Tippy insists he does not deserve to be a starter, but Hans does not waver, despite the pressure to win the game. Right before the game is to start, Christy introduces Hans to Adam's father and little brother Joe, apprising her uncle of Mr. Polachuk's opposition to his son's baseball career. Hans reluctantly agrees to cut Adam from the team after the game, and Mr. Polachuk and Joe take seats in the stands, next to Wally. The Dodgers easily seize the lead, due in part to Tippy's weak performance, and Wally realizes his son is not cut out for a career in baseball. Mr. Polachuk, on the other hand, learns that many immigrants, such as Joe DiMaggio, have used their athletic abilities to achieve great success. During the seventh inning, the Dodgers bring in a replacement pitcher, and Hans and his team are stunned to see that it is Bobby. The Giants are still behind when the ninth inning begins, and a minor injury forces Bobby to leave the game. With two men out and two men on base, Adam hits a home run and wins the game. Mr. Polachuk proudly approaches Adam on the field and encourages him to be like DiMaggio. Camp ends, and Adam receives a contract to play with the farm team in Sioux City. As Adam and Christy kiss, Hans warmly says goodbye to the departing players. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.