Films from Past Years/ High & Outside
Documentary Feature | USA | 2007 | 84 mins. | Not Rated | Website
Director Peter J. Vogt
Featuring Bill “Spaceman” Lee
Labeled “The Spaceman,” Bill Lee preferred the nickname “Earthman” because it reflected the things he cared about deeply. Bill became the spokesperson for a generation that came of age in the 1960s and frequented the right field bleachers at Fenway. Lee was a voice of reason and sanity in a game corrupted by “planet-polluting owners” and the corporate mindset.
Bill was all business on the mound, and a human highlight reel in the interview room – consistently unpredictable, “a free man, and a free-radical, not owned by any corporation,” yet becoming “increasingly difficult to handle.” Meanwhile, Bill ran to the ballpark every day, shagged balls in a coonskin cap, a gas mask, or pinwheel beanie, and won 17 games three years in a row for the Red Sox. He was a key figure in the labor movement, elected American League Rep his entire career because he was intelligent, tough, and he wouldn’t back down.
In 1975 “Spaceman” was flying high, winning 17 games and pitching brilliantly in the World Series. Bill gave it all to the Sox, the workhorse of the staff, and the conscience in the clubhouse. Yet in 1978, he was traded to Montreal, and after the 1981 strike, banished from the game forever, unable to hook onto another team at an age when many pitchers are coming into their prime. What happened?
Through interviews and archival film, High and Outside traces Bill’s baseball pedigree, looks at his union activism, and uncovers his poignant political awakening and finds some surprising answers behind Bill’s banishment from baseball. The film discovers Bill today – still playing ball, still high and outside.