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Big Leaguer

Big Leaguer(1953)

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Every year, young men dreaming of a career in professional baseball come to the New York Giants training camp in Melbourne, Florida. On the first day, the eager young athletes are greeted by John B. "Hans" Lobert, a former third baseman who now runs the camp. Hans is pleasantly surprised by the arrival of his niece Christy, who works in the Giants' front office. Later, new roommates Tippy Mitchell, Bobby Bronson, and tough-talking Julie Davis get acquainted, and the others are impressed to learn that the shy Tippy's father is famous first baseman Wally Mitchell. Meanwhile, Christy tells her uncle that the home office is under pressure to replace him with someone who can get better results, and Hans pins his hopes on the new group of trainees. While walking on the diamond, Hans and Christy encounter a late arrival, third baseman Adam Polachuk, who has come from a small mining town in Pennsylvania. Training begins the following morning, and sports columnist Brian McLennan shows up to write a story about the camp. Hans puts the young players through their paces, taking particular interest in Adam. As the week goes on, Christy befriends Adam, who confides that his mother deserted the family when he was a teenager. At the end of the first week, the first cut is made, and the remaining players are assigned to teams. Adam becomes depressed when he learns that Brian's column will be published in his home town newspaper, and his poor performance at practice alarms Hans, who tells Christy that the great pitcher Carl Hubbell will arrive soon to make his report to the front office. That evening, Adam sadly packs his suitcase and prepares to leave the camp. Christy finds him at the bus stop and presses him for an explanation, and Adam admits he told his hard-working immigrant father that he was leaving home to attend college. Christy urges Adam not to give up on himself, and he embraces her. The next cut is made, and Bobby, a brash but talented pitcher, is let go. The day before the big game against the Brooklyn Dodgers rookies, Hubbell arrives at the camp, along with Tippy's father Wally. Hans is unable to tell Wally that Tippy is not a very strong player, and against his better judgment, puts the young man in the starting lineup. The following morning, Tippy insists he does not deserve to be a starter, but Hans does not waver, despite the pressure to win the game. Right before the game is to start, Christy introduces Hans to Adam's father and little brother Joe, apprising her uncle of Mr. Polachuk's opposition to his son's baseball career. Hans reluctantly agrees to cut Adam from the team after the game, and Mr. Polachuk and Joe take seats in the stands, next to Wally. The Dodgers easily seize the lead, due in part to Tippy's weak performance, and Wally realizes his son is not cut out for a career in baseball. Mr. Polachuk, on the other hand, learns that many immigrants, such as Joe DiMaggio, have used their athletic abilities to achieve great success. During the seventh inning, the Dodgers bring in a replacement pitcher, and Hans and his team are stunned to see that it is Bobby. The Giants are still behind when the ninth inning begins, and a minor injury forces Bobby to leave the game. With two men out and two men on base, Adam hits a home run and wins the game. Mr. Polachuk proudly approaches Adam on the field and encourages him to be like DiMaggio. Camp ends, and Adam receives a contract to play with the farm team in Sioux City. As Adam and Christy kiss, Hans warmly says goodbye to the departing players.