Sandlot Baseball – They Don’t Make Them Like That Anymore
As a kid, there was one movie that meant more to me than any other. I never could get enough of it. Every Sunday morning I’d scour the movie listing section of the TV insert in the Boston Globe praying it would be aired. The few times that I would find it, I’d write down the day and time, and then begin the countdown to show time.
Linda and I watched it the other night: Pride of the Yankees, the film made in the early 40s about the life of Lou Gehrig, starring Gary Cooper. The real Babe Ruth even had a role in it. So did Bill Dickey, the Yankees big-time catcher in the 20s and 30s.
The old cliché, “They don’t make them like that anymore,” rings true when it comes to this classic, black & white flick. Where can you find a movie where the background music is almost like another character with its many variations of Always and Take Me Out to the Ball Game? It’s loaded with old-fashioned values, clean content and dialogue that you’ll never hear again – like this:
Lou: Is it three strikes, Doc?
Doc: You want it straight?
Doc: It’s three strikes.
(when Lou learns of his terminal disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which would later be known as Lou Gehrig’s disease)
My first brush with a dictionary came from this movie. It compelled me to look up the word, pride. I learned that the word had many meanings but the one germane to this story was, “the best in a group or class.” That was Lou Gehrig, a true source of pride for the New York Yankees and for Major League Baseball from 1925 to 1939, during which time he never missed playing a game. It was a streak that would last for decades until broken by Cal Ripken, Jr., in the late 90s.
If you haven’t seen Pride of the Yankees in a while, you might want to revisit it. Just like Lou Gehrig, the film has durability. And just like the “Iron Man,” it’s a winner.
“People all say that I’ve had a bad break. But today –today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Lou Gehrig
PS Contrary to the Tom Hanks’ line in A League of their Own: “There’s no crying in baseball,” it’s permitted when you watch this one…