It's A Home Run, Or Nothing –
In late 1959, Ziv Television Programs, Inc. – The Production Company responsible for such TV gems as Bat Masterson, Boston Blackie, Highway Patrol, and Sea Hunt – Bought the idea of pitting Major League Baseball's greatest Superstar Sluggers against one another, one-on-one, in a contest of hitting power, and this syndicated program was born. Produced by Lou Breslow and hosted by Actor and Baseball Broadcaster Mark Scott, it was released in the Winter of 1960. The line-up was stellar, over the short run of the series, with 19 of MLB's greatest stars – Including 9 future Hall-Of-Famers – Competing.
The rules were really quite simple. Any pitch within the strike zone that wasn't swung on, any swing-and-miss, any foul ball, and any fair ball not hit over the wall was counted as an out. In short – As Mark Scott stated, numerous times, during the series – It was "A home run, or nothing, on Home Run Derby". Each batter was, of course, allowed 3 outs per inning, and the batter with the most out-of-the-parkers, at the end of 9 innings was the winner. The winner was awarded a check for $2000, and was invited back to face a new opponent, in the next contest, and the loser would receive $1000. Any batter who hit 3 consecutive homers during the contest would receive a $500 bonus, a 4th would be worth another $500, and any consecutive homers after that were worth a thousand bucks, each. And, in an interesting reversal of one of the hazards of regular baseball, the Pitcher who threw the most home run balls was also awarded a bonus, rather than being replaced.
The show was filmed at Los Angeles's Wrigley Field, a park which was chosen for 2 reasons: 1.) It was available during the off-season, and 2.) It was mostly symmetrical, it's fence distances nearly the same on each side, which meant that a left-handed batter would have the same advantage as a right-hander. Famed MLB Umpire (And future Actor) Art Passarella did the judging behind the plate, and other Umps were placed along the 1st and 3rd baselines, to judge foul balls, and confirm the homers.
During one participant's turn at bat, Scott and the other participant would sit together in a makeshift broadcast booth, situated in an open-sided tent, not far from home plate. Scott, in typical Baseball Announcer-type fashion, would deliver the play-by-play (Or, in this case, pitch-by-pitch), and, between pitches, would make light, informal conversation with the other participant, usually about one or the other's performance in the contest.
Mark Scott died not long after the filming of the 1st and only season, and, unfortunately, the series died with him. The Producers decided not to replace him, and simply brought the series – Which was only moderately popular – To and end. But many a baseball fan – Especially the older ones – Would find this interesting, short-lived series a lot of fun to watch.moreless