Billy Crystal to Headline Salute to 61* to Lead Off 2010 Baseball Film Festival, Oct. 1, in Cooperstown

Event to Include Reception, Discussion and Screening; Bob Costas to Moderate Program

September 08, 2010
Billy Crystal, a lifelong Yankees fan, signed to a one-day contract with the team in 2008 to celebrate his 60th birthday. (Courtesy of the New York Yankees)

COOPERSTOWN, NY – Billy Crystal has spent much of his film career celebrating his love of baseball.

On October 1, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will celebrate Crystal's 2001 classic film 61* to open the fifth annual Baseball Film Festival in Cooperstown, with an evening reception and discussion, moderated by Bob Costas, followed by a showing of the film, in an exclusive Hall of Fame event, presented in conjunction with HBO® Sports.

Crystal's appearance leads off the Hall of Fame's Baseball Film Festival, Oct. 1-3, as the Museum honors the tradition of baseball at the movies. As part of the three-day event, Crystal – the legendary actor who directed and executive produced 61* – will be on hand as the Hall of Fame celebrates his 2001 production that told the story of the 1961 New York Yankees and chronicled the efforts of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle to break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record. As part of the celebration, Crystal will donate to the Museum the bound shooting script from June 2000 of 61*, and the Museum will feature a special exhibit opening of artifacts from the film.

The evening salute to 61* will feature an hors d'oeuvres reception with Crystal, Costas and Ross Greenburg, President of HBO Sports and executive producer on the film, from 6-7 p.m. in the Hall of Fame Gallery. A discussion of the film will follow in the Grandstand Theater with Crystal, Costas and Greenburg participating from 7-8:30 p.m. The Museum will screen the film beginning at 8:30 p.m. on October 1.

A free screening of 61* will be shown at 8:30 p.m. on October 1 in the Museum's Grandstand Theater. Tickets for the reception, discussion and screening have been sold out.

Crystal, a longtime baseball fan who appeared in a Spring Training game with the Yankees in 2008, was nominated in 2002 for a Directors Guild Award for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement" for his work on 61*. The film, which premiered on HBO on April 28, 2001, received a total of 12 Primetime Emmy® Awards nominations and was recognized with two Primetime Emmys®.

"We're honored to welcome Billy Crystal to Cooperstown as we celebrate the legacy of his riveting film about Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and the 1961 New York Yankees," said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. "61* brought the triumph and trials of that season to life for millions of fans, and the film is a classic example of Hollywood's long-standing fascination with baseball – as evidenced by our 'Baseball at the Movies' exhibit – that has extended the reach of our national game to worldwide audiences for nearly a century."

Several films will be screened on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3, in morning and afternoon sessions as part of the Baseball Film Festival. A complete list of the films to be screened is available at www.baseballhall.org .

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The Museum observes regular hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend. From Memorial Day through the day before Labor Day, the Museum is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Ticket prices are $16.50 for adults (13 and over), $11 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $6 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.