The book: “Bats, Balls, and Hollywood Stars: Hollywood’s Love Affair with Baseball”
The author: Joe Siegman
The vital statistics: Educator’s International Press, 124 pages, $34.95
Find it: On Amazon.com, on Barnesandnoble.com, on powells.com.
The pitch: The Dodgers’ 2015 pro-
motional calendar includes all kinds of giveaways — 10 bobble-
heads, an assortment of fleece blankets, collectable pins, caps, T-shirts … all the usual stuff that will get people to come through the metal detectors.
And then there’s return of the Hollywood Stars Night, set for Saturday, June 6, prior to the Dodgers-Cardinals game.
We’ll believe it when we see it.
An event that was once a signature event on the Dodgers’ calendar didn’t necessarily jump the shark — although Henry Winkler could have been there to do it — but it wasn’t as important in the Frank McCourt Era after he purchased the franchise from Fox in the early 2000s.
In 2004, McCourt, who “appeared to know nothing about Hollywood Stars Night,” as Siegman writes in the final chapter of this coffee-table sized book, had told Siegman and partner Jack Gilardi, orchestrators of the annual event since the mid-1960s, that their services were no longer needed. It had devolved into something of an MTV-type B-list celeb softball game, and the Dodgers’ in-house staff could easily take care of booking it.
In 2010, Siegman and Gilardi were asked to come back and plan a Hollywood Stars Night, to be played in August. But two weeks before it was to happen, it was canceled. Then it was pushed to the final weekend of the season. Then it was dropped altogether.
“The game has ended,” Siegman writes, “but the memories linger on.”
Those memories, in words and more importantly photos, are pulled together by the entertainment publicist and producer who could call on his connections to bring all kinds of Hollywood hotshots onto the field to play what was actually a decent brand of baseball.
Siegman explaines that the genesis of the event came from a Hollywood Entertainers League made up of actors, agents, writers, publicists and friends that played competitively in the early 1960s, getting together at the Mandeville Canyon High School or Hamilton High School fields on Sunday mornings. With the help of the Dodgers’ marketing guru Danny Goodman, the event became a Dodger Stadium regular event and grew in popularity during an era where it was Hollywood hip to be into baseball. Continue reading