The Real Story: Million Dollar Arm

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 8:00 am

It sounds like a movie.  No, it sounds like a fairy tale, but it really happened.  A sports agent named J.B. Bernstein found two cricket-playing Indian athletes named Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel by staging a reality television show and brought them to the US to play baseball. More than 30,000 men tried out on the show, which was Bernstein’s idea as a way to find a source for possible overlooked players with potential — and for possible new fans for baseball from the world’s second most populous country.

Even though they had never played baseball before, Bernstein found USC trainer Tom House (played by Bill Paxton in the film) to taught them to pitch so well that eight months after arriving in the US they were professional baseball players for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was inevitable it would become not just a movie but a Disney movie, along the lines of “The Rookie” and “Miracle.”

The upcoming film starring “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm as Bernstein and Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal as Singh and Patel has over the closing credits some photos and video clips of the real players.  Here’s a news story about their journey.

Singh finished 2012 with the Class A West Virginia Power of the South Atlantic League, and Patel was released in 2010.  He is back in India and still involved in athletics.  They met with the filmmakers and the actors who played them on screen and had a chance to relive some of the incredible events by watching the filming.

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