Sunday 23 August 2015

Jimmie Foxx Basis for A League of Their Own Character

"He has muscles in his hair." (Lefty Gomez, New York Yankees pitcher)

Jimmie Foxx, who played professional baseball for 20 seasons, was only the second person in history to score 500 home runs, after Babe Ruth.  Foxx was the inspiration for Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own.

Born and raised in Maryland, Foxx was signed by the Athletics in 1925 at the tender age of 17.  Four years later, Foxx had a breakthrough year batting .354 and scoring 33 home runs, meriting him a spot on the cover of Time.  

By 1933, Foxx earned the Triple Crown of Baseball, with a batting average of .356 and 48 home runs.  Lefty Gomez, a New York Yankees pitcher, explained:  "He has muscles in his hair."  It was Gomez who pitched a ball to Foxx which the latter hit into the third deck of Yankee Stadium, a rare feat.

The Great Depression forced the Athletics owner to sell Foxx's contract to the Boston Red Sox.  Foxx played in Boston for six years in which he earned 50 home runs one season, a feat not duplicated until 2006.

Foxx's skills diminished after 1941, possibly the result of drinking.  He finished his career with the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies.  Often referred to as the "left handed Babe Ruth", Foxx ended his career as a pitcher.  He played with such greats as Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg.  

Foxx passed away in 1967 but his jersey hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  He will also be remembered as the character Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, in the 1992 movie A League of Their Own.  

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