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Lot # 654: 1957 "Fear Strikes Out" One-Sheet Movie Poster Signed by Jimmy Piersall to Barry Halper

Starting Bid: $200.00

Bids: 14 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "2024 Winter Classic",
which ran from 2/25/2024 10:00 AM to
3/16/2024 10:00 PM

Displayed is a riveting Fear Strikes Out one-sheet movie poster that has been signed and inscribed by Jimmy Piersall to noted memorabilia collector Barry Halper. Piersall, an outfielder who was mainly a center fielder, played in 17 seasons of the Major Leagues, breaking in with a "cup of coffee" with the 1950 Boston Red Sox. In his rookie season of 1952 with the Red Sox, Piersall suffered from what was then called a manic-depressive disorder - now called bipolar disorder. Piersall had had a turbulent time controlling his behavior in the minor leagues even before 1952, and he frequently argued with umpires and fought with opposing players, and sometimes even fought with his teammates. In games, he would derisively imitate opponents such as Satchel Paige and even teammates, such as walking behind fellow Red Sox outfielder Dom DiMaggio and imitating DiMaggio's walk. One time, he shot a water pistol on home plate, telling the umpire that he could now see the plate, and Piersall once "stole" the game ball from the pitcher's mound and wouldn't give the ball back. Over his minor and early Major League years, Piersall had to be hospitalized on more than one occasion for what has variously been called nervous exhaustion or a nervous breakdown. Piersall played for five Major League clubs: Boston Red Sox (1950 & 1952-58), Cleveland Indians (1959-61), Washington Senators (1962-63), New York Mets (1963), and the Los Angeles/California Angels. The colorful poster features a large head shot of Anthony Perkins, who portrayed Piersall in the movie. A smaller two-shot photo on the poster depicts Perkins and Norma Moore, who played Piersall's wife, Mary. Karl Malden co-starred as Piersall's father, shown in the movie as aggressively pushing Piersall towards baseball success. The movie was based upon Piersall's autobiography, by the same name, written with Al Hirschberg. The film was directed by Robert Mulligan and Piersall even gets one of the writing credits. Years after the film was released, Piersall disowned the picture, saying that the movie portrayed his father as far too pressuring towards his only son, and Piersall stated that he felt most of the blame for his emotional troubles should not have been placed on his father. With the modern advances in treating mental illness, we now realize that the real culprit behind Piersall's aberrant behavior was a chemical imbalance. The film was released in 1957, and it obtained mostly very favorable reviews. The Hollywood Reporter wrote of Perkins, "Every recent young star has been compared to James Dean. From now on the standard is Tony Perkins." Perkins would go on to great acclaim for his performance as Norman Bates in the 1960s. The poster is framed to 28.5x43". Writing in black ink, Piersall wrote a fascinating inscription - one that shows his wit and humor - to precede his signature: "To Barry Halper, "I am really not nuts"/"I am just a little goofy"/"Stay well"/Jimmy Piersall." The movie, as befits its title, does have an upbeat side as Piersall is shown overcoming his problems to successfully make an inspiring return to the ball field. The poster is in excellent condition, and it has cross-appealed to fans of baseball and of the cinema.

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