Babe Ruth Shows Gary Cooper The Finer Points of Gripping A Baseball Bat
In the 1942 film The Pride of The Yankees which tells the life story of Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth took his role of playing himself very seriously. He also wanted to make sure Gary Cooper got it right as well.
Babe shows Cooper where the trademark should be when holding a bat so it won’t shatter should he make contact.
Interestingly, Cooper is holding the bat left-handed as Gehrig was a lefty. Even though Gary Cooper was good on a horse, he was not much of a baseball player.
For the filming of the movie, it was determined there was no way the right handed Cooper could convincingly swing a bat left handed. All the films sequences with Cooper hitting were shot with Cooper batting righty and the Yankee uniforms were reversed with the “NY” emblem placed on the other side of his chest. Cooper would run to third after hitting the ball. The filmmakers then reversed the negative in these sequences so everything was in its right place in the final movie print and it would appear Cooper was running to first. Hollywood magic at its simplest.
UPDATE 2/10/13 – Or was Cooper really playing left-handed? See the article here.