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Thursday, September 24, 2009
Has Billy Crystal embellished his baseball resume?No, I'm not talking about the stuff in which he claims to be the product of Mickey Mantle's assexual reproduction. We all know he made that up and we're all content to let him go on thinking we believe it. I'm talking about his actual baseball playing. As reader Bob Tufts points out, Crystal's Wikipedia page notes the following:
Crystal attended Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, on a baseball scholarship, having learned the game from his father, who pitched for St. John's University. Crystal never played a game at Marshall because the program was suspended during his freshman year and he didn't return as a sophomore, staying back in New York with his future wife."
The claim is repeated on his IMDB page:
At Long Beach High, Billy played second base and was varsity captain in his senior year. This earned him a baseball scholarship from Marshall University in West Virginia which he accepted. However, he would never end up playing a game as the baseball program was suspended during his freshman year. This would lead him to leave the university and move back to New York. He then enrolled at nearby Nassau Community College, majoring in theater."
The only problem is that, according to Marshall's media guide, the baseball program was fully active when Crystal was of college age. Indeed, the only seasons it was ever suspended was during World War II. Bob speculates that maybe Marshall suspended the JV or freshman program or something, but if Crystal was really on scholarship, wouldn't he have been on the main team or have been fixed to make the team in a year or two anyway, all while getting a free education? Possibilities:
(1) Bob and I are simply ignorant of the intricacies of Marshall baseball in the 60s and the story is exactly how Crystal's bio says it was, in which case I withdraw the implied allegation in the title of this post;
(2) Crystal got the scholarship but left Marshall for his own personal reasons such as bad grades or the severe culture shock of being a New York Jew plopped down in Huntington, West Virginia in the mid 60s. If it's the grades or some dark secret, shame on him for letting an inaccuracy hang out there like this; if it was the culture shock, well, I fully understand because I'm kinda afraid of Huntington I'm from freaking West Virginia; or
(3) Crystal is Bill Richardson-style sham when it comes to his baseball history and as a result of his lies, lies and more lies, all of his baseball-related entertainments and all of his non-baseball output apart from "Soap," "Running Scared," "The Princess Bride," and his season on "Saturday Night Live" should be thrown into a shredder and banned for all time.
Wait, let's do number three regardless of where this baseball business comes down. In the meantime, I'd like to know what the deal is here.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:14pm
Steve Stein said...
Have fun storming the castle! (If this works, it’ll be a miracle.)
Posted 09/24 at 04:35 PM
Bob Tufts said...
Maybe the program was “mostly dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.”
Posted 09/24 at 04:46 PM
Rob Moore said...
Clearly he said, “to blave.” And as we all know, “to blave” means to bluff.
Posted 09/24 at 04:56 PM
It’s a bit harsh to assume he endorses this version of his baseball career. The two websites you have cited rely on the public to supply information. On both sites, anyone can put anything anywhere. To hold him responsible for that is unfair. If you cite his autobiography… then that’s another story altogether.
(I understand IMDB is a little stricter, but I have posted biography information for people there, so it’s not too hard.)
Posted 09/24 at 04:58 PM
More importantly, is a “Mr. Saturday Night II” in the works?
Posted 09/24 at 05:06 PM
He was on the team, then the king’s stinking son fired him. And thank you for bringing up such a painful subject. While your at it, why don’t you give him a paper cut and pour lemon juice all over it.
Posted 09/24 at 05:41 PM
Also, can we keep Monster’s Inc? Not my favorite Pixar film, but thats like saying Grienke isn’t dominant because he isn’t Pedro circa 1997-2000.
Posted 09/24 at 05:46 PM
Michael Cox said...
That reminds me: I have to insert my name as co-writer of “Born to Run” on Wikipedia. Thanks, Craig!
Posted 09/24 at 05:47 PM
Bob Tufts said...
Kevin - I checked other bio information sites and they all same the same thing - even the one used for Conedy Relief.
Posted 09/24 at 05:52 PM
For the grammar police: “While you’re at it.” “Monsters Inc.” I apologize.
Posted 09/24 at 05:53 PM
Chris Kash said...
Been to Huntington lately Craig? It’s brutal.
Posted 09/24 at 05:59 PM
Greg Rollins said...
Don’t get me started ...
Posted 09/24 at 06:01 PM
You’re going to ban When Harry Met Sally? and City Slickers? and The Academy Awards?
You’ve got very high standards.
Posted 09/24 at 08:45 PM
Playing baseball at Marshall is the greatest thing in the world! Except for a nice MLT, mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean…
Posted 09/24 at 09:26 PM
Chris H. said...
Go away, or he’ll call the Brute Squad.
Posted 09/24 at 09:43 PM
The Princess Bride and Monsters Inc are the only Billy Crystal-related things I am willing to coutenance. Otherwise, he’s an insufferable [insert expletive here].
Posted 09/25 at 01:31 AM
Hey, if we’re divving up the Crystal ouvre (such as it is), I’m putting in my vote to keep “Spinal Tap”. (I know, the catering mime isn’t a huge part; I just don’t want this swept out along with the rest in fit of zeal.)
Posted 09/25 at 08:50 AM
I’ll assume that leaving out Throw Mamma From The Train was an oversight.
I know that Devito and Anne Ramsey (RIP Mama Fratelli) WERE the movie, and Crystal could have theoretically been replaced by anyone up to and including Steve Guttenberg, but still…he was in the movie.
Posted 09/25 at 11:11 AM
No more perpetrating the baseball myth, I meanut.
Anybody want a peanut.
Posted 09/25 at 12:06 PM
Sam (Boston) said...
No more perpetrating the baseball myth, I meanut.
Anybody want a peanut?
Posted 09/25 at 12:07 PM