The Marty Appel interview of Jimmy Piersall was unusual to say the least. Jimmy Piersall is now approaching 85 years old, an unforgettable character in baseball in the 1950’s. Piersall wrote a book of his bizarre actions on the baseball diamond. He was diagnosed with mental illness and was sent to an institution and received electric shock treatments for a cure. Marty Appel was a Public Relations Director and TV Producer for the New York Yankees.
Marty met Jimmy when he was a play-by-play announcer for the Texas Rangers. Marty was the New York Yankees baseball clubs public relations director at the time. Piersall was interesting to say the least to Appel because of some of the antics Jimmy did at Yankee Stadium. One incident was he sat down in Monument Park in the out field and seemed to be talking to the monuments. There are also several pictures of Piersall kicking a fan that ran onto the field looking like a punt kicker in the National Foot Ball League. (NFL)
As Marty interviewed Piersall, Jimmy asked Marty if he was “sane.” Marty told him he thought so! Then Jimmy asked him “if he had papers to prove he was not insane.” Jimmy pulled a paper out of his pocket. It was a discharge document from a mental institution saying he was not ill any longer and therefore “sane” Marty had no proof he was “sane.”
Jimmy Piersall wrote two very interesting books.
Fear Strikes Out
The Truth Hurts
The year was 1948 and Jimmy Piersall was 18 years old and signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox. By 1952 he made it to the big leagues with Boston. Jimmy was a very popular player with the Red Sox Fans. After all he was from “Red Sox Nation” as he was from Waterbury, Ct. He had problems from the start. He started fights as he eluded a mean temper. He argued too much with umpires and therefore his action was thought of as many might say “He’s Crazy.” He even started a fight with Billy Martin of the Yankees however that probably wasn’t difficult. The Red Sox sent him back to the farm system in 52′ where he continued to have behavioral problems. He was committed to a mental health institution to receive his shock treatments. However he was “cured” as Marty said “just check his papers!”
He returned to the Red Sox in 1953 and was one of the most talented center fielders in the game replacing Dom DiMaggio. Ted Williams said Jimmy was the best outfielder he had ever seen. In 1954 he was on the All Star Team and in 1953 was ninth in the voting for the Most Valuable Player award. (MVP)
Piersall played for the Red Sox of course, the Indians, Senators, Mets, and Angels, He retired in 1967. He is most famous for his antic in 1963 while playing for the NY Mets for running the bases backwards. His team mate Duke Snider hit his 400th home run without much fan fare. Piersall was closing in on his 100th home run. He thought he would do something out of the ordinary. When hitting his 100th at the Polo Grounds he ran the bases backwards. It got him fired Casey Stengel released him for the prank.
Charlie Findley owner of the Oakland Athletics hired him only to serve drinks etc. to his company and friends at ball games. It was an embarrassment for Jimmy and for baseball
As mentioned before he was a baseball broadcaster for the Texas Rangers. He also worked with the famous Harry Carey for five years with the Chicago White Sox. In 1985 Jimmy published his second book “The Truth Hurts” this book criticized White Sox management ant they fired him over it. Gregg Luzinski spoke to White Sox management about not signing another year if Piersall was in the broadcast booth.
THE PIERSALL INTERVIEW BY MARTY APPEL WAS VERY UNUSUAL
Jimmy Piersall a tremendous baseball talent and personality!
MARTY APPEL well know Yankees PR Director and TV Producer has written 18 Books on Baseball!
Including his most recent best selling book.
A New York Times Best Seller
“MUNSON: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A YANKEE CAPTAIN”
AVAILABLE HERE NOW ANY OF THE APPEL BOOKS