Rated as one of the best sports movies of all time, Bull Durham is a romantic comedy loosely based on the director’s experience as a minor league baseball player. Despite playing with the Bluefield Orioles, Stockton Ports, Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs, and Rochester Red Wings, the director chose to set the movie in Durham, North Carolina, the home of the Durham Bulls. Kevin Costner plays veteran catcher “Crash” Davis, brought in by the team’s management to help their pitcher make it to the major leagues. The female lead, Susan Sarandon, is torn between her relationship with the pitcher (played by her real-life husband, Tim Robbins) and Costner’s character.
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Once Robbins’ character, “Nuke,” is called up to the major leagues, Crash is released from the team. Wanting to prove that his baseball-playing days aren’t over yet, he joins the Asheville Tourists, where he breaks the league’s record for the most career home runs. Though many of the shots are filmed in and around Durham, Lewis McCormick Field in Asheville is the site of Crash’s record-breaking home run. Built in 1924, the stadium is the oldest minor league ballpark still in use today.
Hear about the history of Lewis McCormick Field:
Asheville Tourists aren't a fictional movie team. They are Asheville's minor league baseball team and currently play in the Class A South Atlantic League. Enjoy watching the Asheville Tourists play ball in this historic field where the scoreboard reads Visitors for the opponents and Tourists for the home team.
In addition to having a supporting role in Bull Durham, McCormick Field was also the site of a 1925 exhibition game between the Yankees and the Dodgers. The roster included baseball legend Babe Ruth, but he was rushed to the hospital for a medical emergency before the game. Six years later, however, he returned with the team to play two games against the Asheville Tourists. He and fellow teammate Lou Gehrig led the Yankees to victory in both games.
Cover image by Baseball Bugs is licensed in the public domain.