Results tagged ‘ Pride of the Yankees ’

Baseball Film Festival Returns this October

Light_90.jpgBy Stephen Light

“Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die; follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”

The Babe gave this advice to young Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, who was trying to help his friend Scotty Smalls out of a big pickle after losing his step father’s autographed Ruth ball. The Sandlot easily ranks among my top baseball movies of all time, but what are yours?

7-9-09-Light_FilmFestival.jpgAs manager of museum programs here at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I have some pretty unique opportunities from time to time. But one of my favorite events is our annual Baseball Film Festival, held each fall. The action and suspense of the game have always translated well on the big screen. Think of the list: Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, The Natural, Major League, Pride of the Yankees, Rookie of the Year and I could keep going.

The diversity of entries at our annual film festival makes this event so unique. Take, for example, the 2008 Film Festival: The Best Film Award went to Dreaming in Blue (Fuera de Liga), a documentary on the Cuban team Industriales; The Award for Baseball Excellence went to a film focused on the game’s English origins entitled Base Ball Discovered; and the Award for Filmmaking Excellence went to a humorous short film entitled Gandhi at the Bat, a fictitious account of Gandhi’s one and only plate appearance at Yankee Stadium.

7-9-09-Light_Awards.jpgIn addition to these excellent films, we screened a film about Dummy Hoy, the first successful deaf major leaguer, as well as parts of a miniseries about the New England Collegiate Baseball League. We even had a documentary called Cobb Field: A Day at the Ballpark, which brought to life a full day at the Billings Mustangs old ballpark.

This year’s festival will take place October 2-4, and we recently started accepting submissions. Who knows what great movies are in store?

To be considered for entry into the festival, films must have been released in the last five years and baseball must be a primary or secondary theme of the film. Films may be of any length and genre. If you have a film that meets these criteria, or you know of someone who does, all you need to do to submit your film for consideration is mail two copies to the following address (along with any promotional materials you may have):

Manager of Museum Programs
25 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326

If, like me, you just enjoy watching baseball films, be sure to mark down October 2-4 on your calendar. Tickets to the screenings of each film are free (with the price of Museum admission), and with the fall colors and crisp air, it’s a great time to be in Cooperstown.

Check out these trailers from last year’s films:
Base Ball Discovered
Cobb Field: A Minor League Day at the Ballpark
Dummy Hoy: A Deaf Hero
Eye on the Dream
Gandhi at the Bat
Mathematically Alive: A Story of Fandom

Stephen Light is manager of museum programs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

7-9-09-Light_FilmFlyer.jpg

A tribute to character

Francis_90.jpgBy Bill Francis

Hall of Fame legend Lou Gehrig delivered his memorable “…I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech on July 4, 1939. Seventy years later, little Gehrig Hopson was delivered.

It was on June 10 that Jeff Hopson, a supporter of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Membership Program since 2007, called the Hall of Fame seeking some insight into the life of Lou Gehrig – explaining that he and his wife were considering naming their soon-to-be-adopted son after the longtime Yankees first baseman. 7-9-09-Francis_Hopson.jpgJeff is a big baseball fan, especially the history of the game, and wanted to know if there was anything he may have missed in the Iron Horse’s past that could change his mind.

There wasn’t. In fact, when the Hall of Fame held its first Character and Courage Weekend on Nov. 1, 2008, it unveiled statues of Gehrig, Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson as symbols of the finest characteristics of the human race.

Gehrig James Hopson was born in Glendale, Ariz., on June 12, 2009, the 70th anniversary of the Hall of Fame’s official dedication. Soon after, the Hopsons, Jeff and wife Amy, brought their new son back to their home in Hilliard, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus.

Coming up with a middle name was relatively easy, as both Jeff and Amy’s fathers are named James. But that first name would take a little more consideration.

“I probably came up with the idea after I read the Jonathan Eig book (Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig),” said Jeff Hopson in a recent telephone interview. “I’m adopted myself and I started thinking I’d really like to have a boy, and if I have a boy I wonder what I’d name him.

“When I went to the Hall of Fame for the first time two years ago (a 40th birthday present from his wife), I bought three or four Lou Gehrig things. And then I was like, ‘I really like that name Gehrig. It’s unique and it’s different.’ At first I was wondering if my wife would like it.”

According to Amy Hopson, it didn’t take much convincing.

“When my daughter was born (5-year-old Jaelyn) we wanted to come up with a non-traditional name, so hers is a combination of my middle name and the J from Jeff. So when we were thinking of boys names we wanted a non-traditional name as well,” Amy said. “We talked about Gehrig and some other names, and of course that’s the name he’ll have for the rest of his life, so we wanted to make sure we thought about it.

7-9-09-Francis_Gehrigs.jpg“Ultimately, we just liked Gehrig the best. It was nice to find a name that was unique but also stood for something – his character and who he was and how he was courageous through his life. Not just respected as a player but as a man.”

The Hopsons did not tell anyone of their choice until the big day came.

“The first that we told was the birth mom. We told her why, she really liked it, and that made us feel good,” Amy said. “But now that we’ve shared it with family and friends everybody just thinks it’s the greatest. We’ve had a couple people say, ‘Oh, I wish I’d have thought of that.'”

Recently retired pitcher Curt Schilling, a longtime supporter in the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named his first son Gehrig.

“Last night the Gary Cooper movie, The Pride of the Yankees, was on and I was watching it and my daughter came in and she said, ‘Why did she call him Gehrig,?'” Jeff said. “I told her, ‘That’s Lou Gehrig. That’s who we named your brother after.’ And she ended up sitting there and watching the whole thing with me.”

Bill Francis is a library associate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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