Batting in the Artists and Writers Charity Softball Game has enhanced the careers of many people over the years. When Bill Clinton came to play, he was just the governor of Arkansas. Later he became president of the United States. After Carl Ichan played all those years ago, a stadium with his name on it got built on Randall’s Island. This sort of thing can happen to you.
Consider the actor Alec Baldwin. When he first played he was just another handsome male actor who starred in action movies. After playing in the Artists and Writers Game, he become famous worldwide, especially for 30 Rock and later for his performance as Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.
Martha Stewart was just a writer of cookbooks and catering guides. After playing in the game, she went on to build a homemaker’s lifestyle empire unparalleled in the English-speaking world.
Abbie Hoffman, the hippie, played back in the early years. He took a ball and a strike and then ran off to steal first base. Although he got called back, the idea blossomed into a bestselling book called Steal This Book. After that, there was no turning back.
Woody Allen played when he was in town filming Annie Hall in 1977. The following year, the movie won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and after that the award-winning films just flowed out of him. He won a Best Picture Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters in 1987 and Midnight in Paris in 2012—all because he batted in the Artists-Writers Game.
Supreme Court Judge Stephen Breyer umpired in 1996. In that game, he famously called a fly ball foul, and then, after a chorus of objections, 20 seconds later reversed himself, resulting in the Writers getting two runs that helped them win the game. After that, he went on to greatness on the court, a reliable anchor of liberal decision-making. No further call reversals ever happened after the game.
Avery Corman was considered a good but not great writer before playing the game. After playing, his great and widely celebrated novel Kramer vs. Kramer sprang out of his typing fingers full blown.
Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning played in the first Artists and Writers game in 1948. Neither of them was a household name at that time, but afterwards, their work was considered fabulous and fame followed, especially for Willem de Kooning. Jackson Pollock’s work burned brighter after the game, but it was cut short by his untimely death in 1956.
New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra threw out the first ball in the 1990s event and afterwards became famous in a book about the things he said, such as “It ain’t over till it’s over” and “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
Bianca Jagger played in the Artists and Writers game. Before it she was just known as Mick Jagger’s wife. Afterwards, she was celebrated as a reformer in her native Nicaragua.
When Jerry Larsen played, he was just the chief of police of East Hampton Village. After the game, he went on to become a mayor who in a very short time has done a whole lot of good.
Sen. Eugene McCarthy played in the Artists and Writers game in 1968. Before the game he had run in a primary against President Lyndon Johnson and lost. But after McCarthy played in the game, President Johnson concluded McCarthy had come so close to winning that he, the president, should decline to run for another term, a decision that ended his political life.
The painter Larry Rivers was already an accomplished and celebrated artist before he played in the game, but afterwards his paintings were selling for 10 times more than they had been selling for before.
Actress Mercedes Ruehl was just another good film actress before she played in the Artists and Writers Game, but afterwards she won an Academy Award for her role in the film The Fisher King.
Neil Simon played in the game but afterward he stopped writing his great Broadway shows. He is the exception that proves the rule, as a result of what happened to him.
Paul Simon was famous for his songwriting before he played in the game, and he was just as famous after the game. He couldn’t have climbed much higher in the music business before the game came along, so because he continued on at his high level for so many years, we have to consider it a win-win. He also was a great softball player.
Sir Howard Stringer announced the game for 10 years and afterwards moved to Japan where he served as chairman and CEO of Sony for the next nine years. Upward and onward.
Celebrated author Kurt Vonnegut played in the game after moving to Sagaponack in 1976 and afterwards made a modestly successful second career as an artist.
Author Tom Wolfe played in the game in 1986 and the following year wrote Bonfire of the Vanities, a book that some consider his greatest work.
Yes, celebrities, up your game by playing in the annual event. The Artists and Writers Charity Softball Game will be played on Saturday, August 21, 2021, on the sandlot baseball diamond behind the Stop & Shop in Herrick Park, East Hampton.
Be there or be square. Interested? Email me at [email protected] for further consideration.