Yankees TO SIGN BILLY CRYSTAL, STAR OF STAGE AND SCREEN,
AND INVITE HIM TO MAJOR LEAGUE SPRING TRAINING
The New York Yankees today announced that they will sign Billy Crystal, star of movies, television and Broadway to a one-day contract and invited him to Major League spring training.
Crystal will join the Yankees on Wednesday, March 12 to work out with the club at Legends Field in Tampa, Fla., and then play in the Yankees’ game on Thursday, March 13 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates at Legends Field. Commissioner Selig approved the Yankees’ extension of the contract to Crystal.
Crystal, who will turn 60 years old on March 14, will don uniform No. 60 with the Yankees. He has created one of the most versatile and prolific careers in the entertainment industry, finding success in front of the camera, as a performer in film and television, and behind the scenes as a writer, director and producer. The Hollywood icon has starred in movies such as Running Scared, Throw Momma from the Train, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers, Mr. Saturday Night, Forget Paris, Hamlet, Deconstructing Harry, Analyze This, Monster’s Inc. and America’s Sweethearts.
“I’ve been waiting 50 years for this call,” Crystal exclaimed. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of the Yankees and Commissioner Selig. I know this’ll be tougher than the Broadway Softball League, but I’m looking forward to helping the younger players…which, by the way, is all of them. Oops, I have to go, Scott Boras is on the phone.”
A captain of his Long Beach (N.Y.) High School baseball team, Crystal batted .348 in his senior season. He is regarded as one of the best baseball players in Hollywood today.
“The Yankees are excited to welcome the newest member of our team known for his humor and wit as well as his undying love for the Yankees,” said Lonn Trost, Yankees Chief Operating Officer. “The Yankees are very grateful to the Commissioner’s office for allowing us to extend this special invitation to Mr. Crystal.”
In 2001, Crystal directed and produced the film *61 which chronicled the historic seasons of Yankees greats Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle as they sought to break Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record. The film garnered 12 Emmy nominations including nods for “Best Director” and “Best Made for Television Movie” and also earned Crystal a prestigious Director’s Guild nomination.
Crystal made his Broadway debut in 2004 with 700 Sundays, an autobiographical one-man play that became the highest grossing non-musical in the history of Broadway and garnered Crystal the Tony Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and the prestigious Drama Desk Award. A dedicated human rights advocate, Crystal co-hosted, with Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg, all eight “Comic Relief” telethons on HBO which brought the plight of the nation’s homeless to the public and raised over $40 million for housing and medical care for the needy.
A native of New York, Crystal has been married for 37 years to Janice, with whom he has two daughters, Jennifer and Lindsay, and granddaughter’s Ella and Dylan. He proclaims himself to be a lifetime fan of the New York Yankees, idolizing Mickey Mantle during his youth.