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The importance of “Mr. Baseball’

Martinez admitted to having such doubts before getting an admission of how things were going there.

“They had some really unique balance-shifting exercises where you use a barbell or stick on your shoulders, shuffle from side to side, and land on one foot, putting your glutes in a sort of powerful position,” Martinez recalls. “When you do it for the first time, it looks really stupid, so you kind of half do it, because it just looks like an eye wash. But when you take the time to learn it and get into the rhythm, you’re like, “Dude, I can feel my butt.” It makes you more aware of your balance and where your strength comes from. It’s pretty cool.”

Rex Hudler is most likely the first player to be able to use the movie as a resource. He signed with Yakult Swallows after the 1992 season, just after the film’s release. His introduction to it was the amusement of flying on a plane that took him to Tokyo to become the real-life version of Jack Elliot.

“I used it as a reference,” Hudler said. “No one on the plane was going to play Japanese baseball, so everyone was laughing. I was guarded and I soaked it all up like a sponge.”

Hudler then played for Hall of Fame managers Yogi Burr, Earl Weaver, Whitey Herzog and Joe Torre in eight major league seasons. This did little to prepare him for Katsuya Nomura, his manager in Japan and a Hall of Famer seeker notorious for his outspokenness and distrust of foreign players.

Hudler recalled being startled when Nomura sent an interpreter to circle the deck with untimely hit reminders. Hudler relied on ingenuity and diplomacy to survive in Japan.

“I said to the translator, ‘Hey, listen, I’m a little offended by this over here,'” Hudler said. “I’m a professional baseball player with 15 years of experience, so the next time he sends you here, don’t you dare tell me what he says. Just say, “Hey Hud, make a big hit.” He will never know what you told me. Since then, whenever he appeared, he always said it, and everyone was happy.



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