Baseball is only a means to an end in this highly effective dramatization of the tragic results that can come from a father pushing his son too hard towards a goal he, himself, was not able to achieve.
In trying to be the major leaguer his father had wanted to be, Jim Piersall so filled his life with pressure and tension that he went into a complete mental breakdown right after smashing a home run for the Boston Red Sox. Confined to the Westborough State Hospital under restraint, Piersall gradually started to respond to electro-shock treatments and was eventually restored. When the 1953 season opened for the Red Sox, Piersall was back in right field.
Anthony Perkins, in the young Piersall role, delivers a remarkably sustained performance of a sensitive young man, pushed too fast to the limits of his ability to cope with life’s pressures. Karl Malden is splendid as the father who gets his own ambitions mixed up with love for his son.