Quantum Leap (1991) – Play Ball, and Hurricane

Batter up!

Sam (Scott Bakula) finds himself in the body of minor league pitcher, Lester ‘Doc’ Fuller in Play Ball. This episode was penned by Tommy Thompson and had an airdate of 25 September, 1991.

Sam is in 6 August, 1961, and he and Al (Dean Stockwell) are having problems figuring out his mission. There are so many options… a couple of lovely ladies in Doc’s life who may need Sam’s help, there’s the team’s mascot, and there’s an angry young new pitcher, Chucky (Neal McDonough) who has a drinking problem, but has a helluva arm. Things are complicated though, because Doc is sleeping with the team’s owner, Margaret (Maree Cheatham), and may get the start on a playoff game, instead of Chucky, with the knowledge that there are scouts in the stands, and possibly even Chucky’s father.

I love that Sam doesn’t get a chance to say ‘Oh, boy’ in this episode, the young bat boy stumbles in on Sam, and a woman at an awkward moment, and makes the trademark exclamation himself.

The familiar face of Don Stroud plays the coach of the team, the Galveston Mustangs, while Royce D. Applegate plays the Mustangs’ regular announcer.

Sam learns Doc’s history, and the terrible incident that sent him down from the majors. The project’s computer, Ziggy, believes that Sam is there to get Doc back to the majors, but Sam feels his mission is something else.

We learn that Al was a starting pitcher for the Navy team, while he was serving, and still fits in his uniform.

Can Sam make sure Chucky gets his chance, curb the young man’s drinking and anger (a behaviour that reminds Sam so much of Al, when they first met, that he believes that is why is here), and keep Doc out of trouble…

Swing away.

playball

Hurricane was written by Chris Ruppenthal and aired on 2 October, 1991. Sam finds himself in 17 August, 1969 and Hurricane Camille is hitting the Mississippi coast. As deputy sheriff Archie Necaise, he is there to prevent a murder.

As the storm moves closer, Sam must convince the denizens of the small town to leave before they lose everything, but there is trouble brewing in the storm of the human soul which could lead to murder if Sam doesn’t stop it.

He is working with a Red Cross representative, Cissy Davis (Marilyn Jones) who is in love with him, but they are given little time to explore their relationship in the middle of the storm (but they sure try!), or as they debate with citizens who refuse to evacuate.

Al informs him that Cissy dies during the hurricane, but it’s not a natural occurrence, someone in Archie’s life wants Cissy out of it, and the hurricane makes the perfect cover.

Sure the intercut footage of hurricane weather  doesn’t match with the footage of the episode, but it definitely conveys the frightening power of these tropical storms.

I enjoyed the fact that something to do with the weather caused people to see bits of Sam shining through the image of the person he is supposed to be.

Despite the weather and the story, this one plays rather gently. Tender and enjoyable.

As things get tied up by episode’s end, Sam leaps and finds himself at a Klan meeting. Oh boy…

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