A star of the 1950s Red Sox recounts his career and his battle with mental illnessWhen Jim Piersall first donned a Boston Red Sox uniform, he quickly distinguished himself as one of baseball’s most colorful figures. Prone to wild rages, he argued with umpires, managers, and his fellow teammates, showing off an unpredictable personality that fans and sportswriters ate up, but which infuriated his club. His behavior became more erratic until he suffered a violent breakdown that saw him institutionalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Cowritten with Boston sportswriter Al Hirshberg, this is the story of Piersall’s collapse and his subsequent attempt to return to the major leagues. A shattering confessional of mental hardship, Fear Strikes Out is an unforgettable look at the difficulties of playing sports at the highest level.
Major League star Jimmy Piersall fights to save his sanity.
Release Date: March 20, 1957
Release Time: 100 minutes
Anthony Perkins as Jim Piersall
Karl Malden as John Piersall
Norma Moore as Mary Piersall
Adam Williams as Dr. Brown
Perry Wilson as Mrs. Piersall
Peter J. Votrian as young Jim Piersall
Richard Bull as Reporter Slade (uncredited)
Bart Burns as Joe Cronin (uncredited)
Edd Byrnes as Boy in Car Assisting Jimmy Up Stairway (uncredited)
Art Gilmore as Broadcaster (voice, uncredited)
Brian G. Hutton as Bernie Serwill (uncredited)
Morgan Jones as Sandy Allen (uncredited)
Bing Russell as Ballplayer Holding Trophy (uncredited)
Gary Vinson as High School Ballplayer (uncredited)
Jim Piersall (b. 1929) began his baseball career with the Boston Red Sox, where he distinguished himself with his capable offense and strong defensive play. But he is best known for his strange sense of humor—he once came to bat in a Beatles wig—and for the battle with bipolar disorder that threatened to end his major league career before it began. His account of that struggle, Fear Strikes Out, was adapted for the screen in 1957. Once he recovered his mental health, Piersall went on to spend another fifteen years in the major leagues. He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2010.
Al Hirshberg (1909–1973) spent four decades as a preeminent Boston sportswriter. In addition to his newspaper work, he wrote several books about the Red Sox.