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Death on the Diamond

Death on the Diamond(1934)

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Crying Boy

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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At the start of spring training, major league baseball manager and owner Pop Clark brings Larry Kelly, a highly promising young pitcher from the Texas league, to his struggling St. Louis Cardinal team. After chasing off two former players who were kicked off the team for gambling, Pop confides in his daughter Frances, the team's secretary, that if the Cardinals fail to win the pennant, he will lose the franchise to greedy business rival Henry Ainsley. That night, Larry is befriended by the wealthy Joseph Karnes, but is advised by veteran sports reporter Jimmie Downey that Karnes is a notorious gambler. After Mickey, the ballboy, discovers two men tampering with the pitchers' mitts, the team physician announces that the mitts had been covered with a serious skin-damaging substance. Slugger Dunk Spencer, who, like Jimmie, is infatuated with Frances, accuses Jimmie of sabotaging the mitts as a means of reducing his competition. Frances, however, dismisses Spencer's claims and forces the two men to bury their hostilities for the sake of the team. Although the Cardinals are given only twenty-to-one odds to win the pennant, they quickly climb to second place behind Larry's pitching and Spencer's hitting. Worried that he will lose one million dollars, Karnes, who bet against the Cardinals, tries to bribe Larry by leaving $10,000 on his hotel pillow. Larry, however, shows Pop and Jimmie the money, and the bribe attempt is made public. Later, a taxi carrying Larry and his hotdog-loving teammate, Truck Hogan, is shot at and crashes. In the accident, Larry suffers a foot injury that forces him out of the game for two weeks. While Larry is recuperating, the Cardinals move into first place and need to win only two out of three games to clinch the pennant. During the first crucial game in Chicago, Spencer is shot and killed by a gunman in the stadium as he is about to score the winning run. Because of his rivalry with Spencer, Jimmie is questioned by the police but is not charged. Just before the second game, pitcher Frank Higgins is called to the telephone and, in spite of tight security overseen by groundskeeper and former Cardinal player Patterson, is strangled in the locker room. After Truck leads the Cardinals to victory, one of his hotdogs is laced with poison, and he dies before identifying the killer to police. Although the police want to cancel the last game with the Cincinnati Reds, Pop insists on playing and slates Larry to pitch. When Frances confesses to Pop that she loves Larry, Pop starts to pull him from the lineup but is persuaded by Jimmie, who wants to trap the murderer, to keep his star in the game. During the game, Larry sees someone in the dugout placing an explosive in his warm-up jacket and hurls his baseball at the saboteur's head. After the explosive is safely detonated, the killer is revealed to be Patterson, whose anger at being hired by Pop as a groundskeeper instead of a coach, drove him to conspire with Ainsley to ruin the Cardinals. The mystery solved, Larry slugs the game-winning hit and embraces Frances, his bride-to-be.