The Battered Bastards of Baseball is one of baseball’s last great, unheralded true stories. In 1973, Hollywood veteran Bing Russell (best known for playing Deputy Clem on “Bonanza”) created the only independent baseball team in America at the time, the legendary Portland Mavericks. Bing operated without a Major League affiliation while playing in a city that was considered a wasteland for professional baseball. Tryouts for the Mavericks, which were open to the public, were filled with hopefuls who arrived in droves from every state in America, many of whom had been rejected by organized baseball. Skeptics agreed it would never work. But Bing’s Mavericks generated unprecedented success: they shattered attendance records, signed Kurt Russell – Bing’s son – as a player and team Vice President, produced the most successful batboy in baseball (filmmaker Todd Field), re-launched the controversial career of Jim Bouton, hired the first female general manager in Baseball, and inspired one of …
User Reviews: Where do I begin?
I remember my dad driving us cross-country to see this team play. That’s how big the phenomenon was at the time.
I was all of 11, when we loaded into the Plymouth Fury, and by the time we made it to Portland, I was amped up to see this ‘miracle team’ play.
Dad was a student of baseball; he knew everything, everyone and every stadium intimately. When word got around about this team, he had to go, and I was lucky enough to witness firsthand the greatness of this team/organization.
The storytelling of this documentary took me right back to those days and even threw a few curveballs at my brain.
I didn’t realize at the time that I had watched Kurt Russell playing baseball, or that Todd Fields was the ballboy, or that Bing Russell was Kurt’s dad.
Such a well done picture that really takes you into the time and sets a beautiful scene of triumph, heartbreak and a longing for what used to be.
Thank you for this amazing piece that draws you in and never lets go.