What is Roy Hobbs Baseball?
Roy Hobbs Baseball is adult amateur recreation baseball, servicing teams and leagues across the United States, Canada, and the Carribean. Roy Hobbs Baseball is affiliated with the American Challenged Athletes and works directly with Challenged Athletes and baseball.
Roy Hobbs Baseball is more than 700 teams across the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and in Europe, representing more than 9,000 players, who participate in Roy Hobbs-sanctioned leagues and tournaments each year.
Roy Hobbs Baseball is people who love the game of baseball and have determined that anyone can play the greatest of America’s team sports … regardless of age. Since the founding days, Roy Hobbs has expanded its view to include all ages 30 and over and to include for a number of years women’s teams as a specific division (although women are welcome to play on the men's teams).
Roy Hobbs’ current national tournament play is in these age groups:
• Veterans 35-and-over, with a limited number of players 30-34
• Masters (45-and-over)
• Legends (53-and-over)
• Classics (60-and-over)
• Vintage (65-and-over)
• Timeless (70-and-over)
• Forever Young (75-and-over)
Roy Hobbs Baseball’s signature event is its annual World Series, which celebrates its 28th anniversary in 2016 in Fort Myers/Lee County, Florida, at the spring training homes of the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox, City of Palms Stadium, historic Terry Park, site of MLB spring training from 1925 through 1987, and the Player Development Complex, which is now the year-round home of Roy Hobbs Baseball. Roy Hobbs Baseball and Lee County officials have agreements in place to keep the World Series in Lee County through 2024.
The World Series in Fort Myers has grown from the 54 teams in 1993 to 240 in 2015, when more than 4,000 players participated, and champions were crowned in 24 divisions and more than 825 games were played.
Roy Hobbs Baseball also offers players the option of Locker Room accommodations at the World Series, where players get their own locker in a Major League locker room, complete with professional sports trainer services, laundry services, breakfast and snacks and post-game refreshments. Yes, there is a fee, but for 6+ days of full amenities, the locker room option usually sells out.
Other events include the Sunshine Classic, which consists of 3 weekend events in February at the Player Development Complex. The events include Father-Son and age level competition for 35+, 45+, 50+, 60+ and 65+. The weekends are capped at 16-18 teams. There is also the Sea Otter Baseball Festival over July 4 weekend in Monterey, California, with divisions in 2017 for 45+, 55+ and 65+.
Who is Roy Hobbs?
Roy Hobbs is the character in the book, “The Natural,” by Bernard Malmud, written in 1952, and turned into a Hollywood production in 1984, thrusting the fictional baseball hero Roy Hobbs on the American public.
The book was hardly a best seller … the movie, however, has survived 25+ years and remains a staple of cable television, with Robert Redford playing the role of Roy Hobbs.
Ron Monks chose the name “Roy Hobbs” for his baseball organization in 1989. For Monks, the choice of Roy Hobbs was easy as he could see the parallels from the Roy Hobbs character to our own participation in baseball as adult amateurs. Roy Hobbs is drawn away from baseball at an early age and returns in later life to enjoy and appreciate the game for what it is. The history of Roy Hobbs as a fictional character is interesting since it brings several of our oldest mythological stories to new life.
According to Wikipedia, Author Malamud, supposedly not a baseball fan himself, created “the Natural” story and his Roy Hobbs character from the real life of Eddie Waitkus, a major leaguer in 1941 and 1946-55. He took the basic elements of the Waitkus story and wove them along with various baseball legends (notably Joe Jackson), into his morality tale novel.
Waikus, whose career batting average was a very respectable .285, started with the Chicago Cubs in 1941, returning to the Cubs in 1946 after WWII where he fought in the Phillipines and earned 4 Bronze Stars; he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1949.
Wikipedia reports that “Just a few years into the start of what seemed a very promising career, Waitkus was shot in the chest by Ruth Ann Steinhagen, an obsessed fan, on June 14, 1949, at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago.
“Steinhagen had become infatuated with him when he was a Cub, but seeing him every day in-season apparently kept her obsession in check. Once he was traded to the Phillies and would only be in Chicago 11 games in the season, her obsession grew to dangerous proportions. She checked into the hotel using the alias of a former high school classmate of his, and left a note at the desk asking him to come to her hotel room on an urgent matter. She then shot him with a rifle, the bullet barely missing his heart. He nearly died several times on the operating table before the bullet was successfully removed. Steinhagen never stood trial, but instead was confined to a mental institution. …
“The DVD extras for the 1984 film contain a biography of Waitkus, which points out that writers in his rookie year often called Waitkus "a natural", a fact which Malamud presumably picked up on. Malamud's version of the tale ended tragically, and unknowingly foreshadowed Waitkus' own downfall as a player.
“The DVD biography makes the point that Waitkus essentially suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his shooting, which ultimately affected both his career and his marriage. …”
Beyond the realities of the lives of both Waitkus and Shoeless Joe Jackson, Malmud touched on the Arthurian legend, which became a central theme throughout the movie. Like Arthur’s sword Excalibur, Roy Hobbs Bat, “Wonderboy,” holds mythical powers. It was even created from an act of nature, being made from a tree struck by lightening.
Roy’s quest is to become the greatest baseball player ever. Roy is tempted by a beautiful woman and, by allowing himself to be drawn from his “quest,” he is punished by being injured; disabling him from playing the game he loves.
Roy is driven to succeed finally, not through a quest for personal achievement, but through a desire to get Pop Fisher (The Fisher King) his grail, the pennant. Roy’s talent is finally realized through the unselfish pursuit of a goal for another person.
Roy fights his way back to the game as an older adult and, when tempted again, he chooses to protect the integrity of the game rather than sell it out for financial security.