Courtesy of ‘Duk at Big League Stew comes word that the wackiest of all baseball stories — long in development hell — may finally be coming to the big screen:
The Trade, a film that tells the true tale of
2 New York Yankees pitchers who caused a national scandal by swapping
wives in the sexually-free 1970s, has finally hit the big leagues. Ben Affleck has become attached to direct and potentially star in the Warner Bros film . . . Teammates Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich stunned the country when they
disclosed in spring training 1973 that they were trading wives.
Peterson had fallen in love with Susanne Kekich and his teammate fell
in love with Marilyn Peterson. Fritz and Susanne remain a couple till
this day, while Mike and Marilyn drifted apart.
I seem to remember that the reason this movie was held up in the past was that Major League Baseball and/or the Yankees didn’t want to allow filmmakers to use their logos and names and stuff in a movie that would put them in an seedy or unseemly light. That always seemed a bit fuddy-duddish to me. The Kekich-Peterson thing is more silly than immoral, more of a cultural curio than a social threat.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.