fear down swinging

by Jesse Marinoff Reyes

… Anthony Perkins…!

You were expecting Psycho? It’s still baseball’s spring training!


Never mind Chuck Knoblauch (throwing yips) or Rick Ankiel (fireball pitcher who completely lost the plate), after several increasingly bizarre on and off field incidents which led to his being committed to a mental institution, Jim Piersall was diagnosed as bi-polar. Piersall’s road to recovery is the stuff of well, Hollywood—and his memoir, seen here, was made into a movie starring Anthony Perkins. He made it back to the majors with his team, the Boston Red Sox and he later played with the Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, New York Mets, and the California/Los Angeles Angels. He was an All Star in 1954 and 1956, and won the American League Gold Glove as an outfielder in 1958 and 1961. After his playing career he became a broadcaster. Last season (2010) he was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story
Bantam Books, 1957
Illustration: uncredited
Photographs: Paramount Pictures

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