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Thu Sep 16, 2021, 12:25 PM

Netflix: The Battling Bastards of Baseball

Really an interesting, entertaining documentary on Bing Russell and the Portland Mavericks, an OR baseball team he started in 1974. They were, at that time, the last truly independent baseball team playing in the US...all other minor league teams were farm teams for the ML clubs.

Bing was an actor and Kurt Russell's father. He played a sheriff on Bonanza, as well as many Westerns made in the 40s/50s. Lots of footage on this team and that era of minor league baseball. He took a collection of characters and ML has beens (Jim Bouton) and became a powerhouse team in the pacific Coast League.

Well worth the watch!

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Original post)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 12:37 PM

1. This is an excellent movie. Highly recommended

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Original post)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 01:38 PM

2. Thanks.

I can’t find the documentary on Moe Berg “The Spy behind the plate” 😡

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Original post)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 05:58 PM

3. Bing Russell was a serious baseball sage - He learned early from the best

As a boy, Bing was an unofficial mascot of the New York Yankees, becoming good friends with such players as Lefty Gomez, Joe DiMaggio, and Lou Gehrig.



I love the Jim Bouton 'Big League Chew' story, but here's the brilliant Bouton talking the knuckle ball on Johnny Carson. Funny Stuff.



I love The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Hell I've seen it eight, ten, twelve times, and I'm still pulling new stuff out of it

Here's the trailer for the grand film:





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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 08:08 PM

4. Thanks for posting the BoutonCarson dialog......how cool was that?

I read Ball 4 when it came out.....upset the MLB srstem......

I would have spent big bucks to spend a night around a campfire - having more than a few beers and some shared mushrooms - with Jim Bouton and Bill Lee. What I would have learned about baseball and the art of zen-fun would have been worth the price of admission.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 09:27 PM

9. Here's a cool video on the Big League Chew story as told by Rob Nelson, co-inventor



Talk about the price of admission: For a whopping three dollars, I could have caught Bill Lee set a cool pitching record.

On Aug 23, 2012, at age sixty-five, Bill Lee became the oldest man to win a professional game. He went the distance throwing for the San Rafael Pacifics in an independent North American League game against the Maui Na Koa Ikaikamissed


Note: Bill lee grew up in unincorporated Terra Linda, just north of San Rafael, and '420' was coined in San Rafael, Marin County. Coincidence?



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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 09:32 PM

10. 9 goddamn innings?

65. Sounds like Bill, the cosmic baseball pitcher.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Reply #10)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 09:36 PM

11. He kinda, sorta, broke the record two years later when he played all nine positions...

in one complete game.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #11)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 09:38 PM

12. Thats when the 70's guys got the game.

Play for the Joy.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Reply #12)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 11:44 PM

13. That's what he discovered when he took his show to Cuba

He saw and experienced the purist form of baseball in the world

We feel it in our hearts and in our blood, we have it. Like the air we breathe – we can’t be without it. Cuba can not survive without baseball. It is like being without music. For me, baseball is passion. I can watch the kids play baseball all day. If I can still walk, if I can still move, if I can still see.. I will play baseball.


His first game is in Havana was against a team of retired steel workers. It really was baseball stripped down to its core. Simple and pure. Goats, pigs and roosters roam beyond the outfield fence. Bill Lee was wearing his old Montreal Expos hat and still throwing his famous big looping curve as well as his eephus pitch. The Cubans can tell he was once a big leaguer but they knew something was wrong with his shoulder. He was 58, and the clock was ticking, but his love of the game allowed him to dig deep.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 08:18 PM

5. Bing's love of the game was true.

Kurt's commentary (He was in the MLB system back then) was incredibly great father-son dialogue.

One thing I did not know.....Kurt was born in Rangely, ME? I think Bing may have started a lake-plane bizmess on Rangely Lake before going to Hollywood, CA/.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Reply #5)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 08:40 PM

6. Bing Russel's father owned a floatplane business in Florida and was a close friend of Lefty Gomez

Remember, the Yankees had their Spring Training camp in Florida.

Maine? Curious, I wonder if Bing's father did business in Maine AND Florida.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 08:58 PM

7. Probably was connected to Ted Williams and LL Bean. My Guess.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Reply #7)

Sun Sep 19, 2021, 01:07 PM

14. I fleshed out more of the story -

Lefty Gomez and Warren Russell, Kurt's grandfather, was the connection.

Lefty Gomez was totally a flying nut, but the Yankees prohibited him from flying, so he flew with Warren Russell on the quiet. And it looks like it was not a mere 'floatplane' business; during this period, Lefty Gomez earned his pilot license.

Russell's grandfather was an aerobatic pilot with over 45,000 hours who flew "well into his sixties" and had also spent time as a senior check captain for TWA and a test pilot for Howard Hughes. However, Russell himself never took up the opportunity to fly with his grandfather – a decision he came to regret as it was not until 1988 when he himself finally caught the flying bug and began his pilot training under the watchful eye of his grandfather.


It's fair to say Lefty Gomez became a lifelong friend with the Russell family, and so it was fitting and really special when Lefty Gomez made his cameo appearance in the film to present Bing some sort of baseball award in Portland.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 16, 2021, 09:01 PM

8. Kurt mentions Rangely, ME in the doc.

Given Bings floatplane biz in FL, Rangely,ME would have made sense if he saw opportunity there. But then, he went to Hollywood and died a thousand deaths....

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