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Angels in the Outfield

(1951 b 99')

En: 5 Ed: 6

An angry manager hears an angel’s voice and tries to control his temper so that his team can win the pennant.

         Household-hints reporter Jennifer Paige (Janet Leigh) covers a Pirates baseball game. The announcer Fred Bayles (Keenan Wynn) says manager Guffy McGovern (Paul Douglas) fired him. Jennifer tells her editor that McGovern bullies his players. She studies McGovern. Bayles threatens to run McGovern out of baseball, and McGovern slugs him.

         In a rhubarb McGovern is ejected. He makes sarcastic cracks to his players. He goes back on the field looking for his good-luck piece and hears the voice of an angel, who tells him to reform, and he will win the pennant. The angel promises him a good third inning, which comes to pass.

         McGovern keeps his temper, and the Pirates win ten in a row. When he gets angry, they lose. The angel tells McGovern that his team of angels will help them.

         On a train the players give McGovern a tough steak. Two nuns bring orphan girls to a game. Bridget White (Donna Corcoran) says she sees an angel behind each Pirate. Jennifer writes the story. McGovern sees it and goes to see Bridget. Sister Edwitha (Spring Byington) tells him to forget it, but he asks Bridget to describe the angels. Bridget says she prays for the team. Edwitha turns away reporters.

         Jennifer calls on McGovern and refuses to leave. He bakes her shoes, and he carries her to a cab. Jennifer takes Bridget to a game. Reporters give her hot dogs and ice cream, and later she sees nine angels. Bridget gets sick, and Jennifer and McGovern visit her.

         McGovern gives the orphanage a television. Jennifer and Bridget surprise McGovern with a birthday party in his apartment. Jennifer tells him his changing made the difference. She cooked with the wrong oil, and they go out. Bayles asks McGovern to pay his dental bill and hits him. McGovern carries Bridget in and asks Edwitha about adoption. He tells Jennifer that he was disappointed in love.

         McGovern looks at Jennifer and is hit by a ball. He tells reporters that he talks with an angel. Bayles comments on McGovern and interviews a groundskeeper who heard him talking to an angel.

         The last game is for the pennant, and the angel urges McGovern to pitch the aging Saul Hellman (Bruce Bennett). Commissioner Hapgood (Lewis Stone) holds a hearing on McGovern and angels. A psychiatrist has doubts. McGovern calls a minister, rabbi, and a priest for the defense, and they say they believe in angels. Bridget comes in and testifies. Bayles says that McGovern is trying to adopt Bridget. McGovern slugs Bayles, and it thunders. Hapgood sees a feather and dismisses the case.

         In the cab the angel reprimands McGovern and says he is on his own. McGovern has Hellman pitch. Announcer Bayles is negative toward the Pirates. Hellman pitches well but gives up a home-run. The Pirates take the lead 2-1. Bases are loaded; but McGovern leaves Hellman in, and the Pirates win the pennant. The angel tells Bayles to shut up. McGovern is with Jennifer and Bridget, and he thanks the greats.

         This spiritual fantasy suggests that a major attitude change in a manager can affect the performance of the whole team. Sarcasm can be an occupational hazard for coaches, but faith in the power of goodness that children know so well can have a positive influence.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

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