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June 27th, 2002

The Baseball Bunch

This morning I saw a commercial for… uh, something or other… and it ended with a quick shot of former baseball player Johnny Bench flashing a smile at the camera. I had an instant flashback to a favorite Saturday morning show from my childhood: The Baseball Bunch.

Johnny hosted the show aimed at kids between 9 and 13 and each week he was out on the field with some kids and a famous baseball player, giving tips on how to improve your Little League game. The “team” (made up of boys and girls, how progressive!) even had their own Phillies-esque uniforms, if I remember correctly. The show would almost always end with the San Diego Chicken playing some sort of joke on the guest of the week. Tommy Lasorda was the “Dugout Wizard.” The show aired from 1980-1983 (and, presumably, for a couple years after in reruns).

While the show was somewhat high on the cheese factor, I absolutely loved it. The production values, the stars, the quirky little segments: it was all great for a young kid who played baseball (with varying degrees of success).

There’s precious little information on the web about the … Bunch aside from the above link and this Jump the Shark entry (ignore all the negative nellies).

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday June 27, 2002 -- 9:58:35 am
If you want to relieve your childhood Rust Library has a couple of episodes on VHS - they are in the kids section.

Breck checked them out and thought they were great

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday June 27, 2002 -- 10:42:15 am
Chris -- You just made my day. Guess where I'm going after work tonight?

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday June 27, 2002 -- 11:32:53 am
I would like to see that "Centerfield" dance.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Thursday June 27, 2002 -- 1:22:20 pm
Did Morganna(sp) make a guest appearance at all with her cannons?

FROM: Maria
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 6:29:27 pm
I had never heard of "The Baseball Bunch" until your ping, and then today I was searching for a video in our collection. I found that the wrong video was in the case for the video I wanted, so then I checked the case for that video, and in that was a "Baseball Bunch" video. I have no idea where that came from and neither does my younger brother, but we had definitely never watched it before. We managed to sit through about 10 minutes before getting bored of it, but it featured the spokes-whatever from Kool-Aid (that red pitcher), Joe Panella (sp?) and two other baseball players. And the chicken.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 9:31:17 pm
Maria -- That is very cool. I'm jealous.

FROM: Lockjockjr
DATE: Thursday November 14, 2002 -- 11:27:42 am
And Pete Rose Taught The Kids Was an Over-Under is.

FROM: luke langer
DATE: Tuesday December 17, 2002 -- 9:29:38 pm
I loved The Baseball Bunch, it was on right before "This Week In Baseball" and was my inspiration to wake up on Saturday mornings. Where can I find old episodes? Didn't the kids play games against other teams? What were the kid' s names. Can anybody help me remember?

FROM: shelly
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 9:08:25 am
I would love to buy old tapes of the baseball bunch . Where could I find them??

FROM: dpops
DATE: Sunday July 27, 2003 -- 5:26:14 am
With ESPN Classic now showing "This Week In Baseball" (weekdays 8:30am). Hopefully The Baseball Bunch will make Classic's airwaves soon.

FROM: Susan
DATE: Monday December 22, 2003 -- 9:59:02 am
I remember watching The Baseball Bunch with Johnny Bench teaching the kids about baseball at the time I was young and very interested in baseball collected baseball cards and alot of other baseball items.I lost my dad when I was 151/2 years old my dad died suddenly of a heart attack I used to sit and watch baseball games with him usually the Cincinnati Reds,Chicago Cubs,and Atlanta Braves my dad was a big Glenn Hubbard baseball fan after I lost my dad the baseball fan in me went on for a few years I watched the Atlanta Braves baseball games the Championships and World Series I will never forget the Championship the Atlanta Braves had against the Pittsburgh Pirates and down the stretch he comes he is safe Braves Win Braves Win good old Sid Bream won the game for the Atlanta Braves and injured catcher Greg Olson wanted to join in the victory so one of the baseball players carried him out on the baseball field piggy back it was a great game.I'm not much of a baseball fan now but I do like Greg Maddux he is the best baseball pitcher i've seen since Kent Tekulve and Dave Dravecky.Some of the things that have caused me to not be a baseball fan anymore is my dad isn't here to watch baseball games with me anymore,my lack of time I would rather be on the internet getting e-mails and doing searching for alot of different things,and the baseball strikes the money those guys make and they want to strike

DATE: Tuesday January 6, 2004 -- 11:19:56 am
IT was a great show my sister played michele, and I met some of the Jonny Bench and he was so very kind.

FROM: Eric
DATE: Friday August 6, 2004 -- 1:24:32 am
I lived in Tucson where it was filmed at Palo Verde Park. I remember Pete
Rose being kind of a jerk to the kids. And I met a kid who was on the show at a University of Arizona football game around 1983. I think his name was Louie Santamaria or something like that.

FROM: Linda
DATE: Friday August 27, 2004 -- 8:52:29 pm
Believe it or not, this is the actual "Kate" of the Baseball Bunch. It's nice to see that the show is remembered. I sure had fun filming it in Tucson in February, 1981. I have lots of wonderful memories.

FROM: Juan Casero
DATE: Tuesday May 31, 2005 -- 11:12:15 pm
I remeber the baseball bunch growing up in south florida. While I loved (and still do) the game of baseball I started at it too late to be able to catch up to the skill level of players in my age group. I used to wake up every saturday morning just to watch the baseball bunch. It was the only show I cared about for a long time. It did help me improve my game a little. I guess this is where I picked up a fondness for the cincinatti reds. Even to this day I still like that team.

FROM: damian
DATE: Tuesday November 8, 2005 -- 9:24:05 pm
any videos or pics of the baseball bunch form the early 80s would be cool

FROM: Walter Wojciechowski
DATE: Monday February 20, 2006 -- 11:10:02 am
I also just found that video that Maria mentions above.

It had Lou Pinella, Jim Rice, and an excellent segment with Ted Williams. The family video has a free sports and fitness section and i joked and decided to look to see what is FREE, but there was a baseball bunch video. Why are these not out on DVD now?

FROM: Sammy Reed
DATE: Monday February 20, 2006 -- 10:53:10 pm
There was a video series of 3 videos that were made in 1986. They showed clips of 3 episodes per tape, along with "nowadays" segments with Johnny Bench and, as he said, "the only 3 players who have been on my Baseball Bunch team for all 5 years - Sam, Michelle, and Luis". Michelle was a little older and nicer-looking. The 3 tapes dealt with "Hitting", "Fielding", and "Pitching". It is kinda painful to see a 16-ish Michelle try to act like she gives a flying duckbill about "It's Kool-Aid Man!", but these are quite entertaining videos.

Bud Templin April 15, 2007, 11:03 am

Iam 46 and grew up with Mel Allen and Baseball bunch. I miss those days.. I would watch the bunch and then go to the little league game. I wish I could watch them again.

Ed Tonai June 1, 2007, 3:18 pm

I’m 34 and was on “The Baseball Bunch” with Linda (comment above). We, along with the San Diego (Famous) Chicken and original cast member Erik, were recently interviewed for the podcast “Just My Show”.


Ryan June 1, 2007, 3:28 pm

Excellent, Ed! Thanks for sharing the link.

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