Tag Archives: D.C. Sports History

Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” was turned into a TV series featuring a Washington baseball team

New to me — through Mark Hornbaker’s Washington D.C. Baseball History Facebook group, I learned that Jim Bouton starred in a sitcom based on his book, Ball Four. Unlike the book that detailed his time on the Seattle Pilots, the team here is called the Washington Americans. The opening features a shot of RFK Stadium:

It apparently lasted five episodes, though the whole season was filmed. Harry Chapin sang the opening song and former Oakland Raiders great Ben Davidson made his triumphant return to Washington (he played for the 1962-1963 Redskins), so it couldn’t have been all bad. I’ll admit, it’d be fun to have an Americans replica jersey.

Has anybody milked a book for as long as often as Bouton did with Ball Four?

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Remembering the 2005 Washington Nationals

Nostalgia is a form of depression. The cliche has its roots in truth, but in this case, it’s a reminder of joy. The 2005 Washington Nationals were an exciting team that brought the national game back to the nation’s capital after an unconscionable 34 year absence. It didn’t seem real back then — when my then fiancee went to the first exhibition game in RFK Stadium or on Opening Day in Philadelphia a few days later when two friends and I went practically on a whim. When they started the season 50-31, it was so incredible that a 31-50 finish couldn’t dim the appreciation for a magical first season.

I blogged about the new Nats almost daily; something I would continue for several years. Now, it’s more sporadic. However, in celebration of a decade of D.C. baseball and that incredible 2005 season, I have been sharing those original blog posts in three places:

my twitter account:

this blog’s Facebook page

Washington, D.C. Baseball History Facebook page

I’ll be linking to blog posts ten years after the events described in them happened which means 10 years minus 1 day in most cases.

Since these blog posts are 10 years old, there is going to be a lot of dead links being pointed at and that cannot be helped. Also, some of the blog posts got lost through migrations over the years and have been rebuilt. The good news is these new blog posts and really, all of them, are cleaned up a little bit and tagged better.

Oh and that’s not your imagination, that’s really the voice of John Chancellor reading them back to you in your head, just like he did for Ken Burns’ Baseball.

It took several years for me to get past the “I can’t believe we finally have a team” and think of all of this as normal. I think being able to share the Nats with my oldest son helped make it seem real in some respects. I’m so glad he and his younger brother get to grow up having a baseball team just a Metro ride (or eventually a bike ride) away.

Let’s hope that 2015 is a wonderful season for the Nats. I hope you’ll join me in remembering the 2005 one that was so unexpected.

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R.I.P. Earl Lloyd

Earl Lloyd, an Alexandria native, integrated the NBA in 1950 with the Washington Capitols. I blogged about this on 60th anniversary. He didn’t last long before entering the Army while the Capitols folded in early 1951. Lloyd would play for the Syracuse Nationals, winning the 1955 NBA title. His final two years were with the Detroit Pistons where he would also become head coach, the second African-American to hold the top job after Bill Russell.

More on Earl Lloyd:

Wizards Magazine Extra: Remembering Earl LloydMonumental Network

Earl Lloyd, first black player in NBA, dead at 86NBA.com

Earl Lloyd, first African American player in the NBA, dies at 86The Post

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