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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
Craig Calcaterra said...
MS: Yes, that was an oversight. Throw Mamma was a good movie.
Sam: That’s the most groan inducing of these yet.
Posted 09/25 at 12:30 PM
I think there is another possibility…
A new coach came in after his freshman season and purged (or revoked the scholarships of) all of the previous coaches recruits.
I don’t know if this is considered an acceptable practice today, but I would imagine that even if it is not, it is likely that at the time it was.
Posted 09/28 at 01:10 AM