Raw footage of an interview with Chicago White Sox player Jim Rivera, who played with the team throughout the 1950s. Rivera talks about his troubled upbringing, his run-ins with the law, his journey into the Major Leagues, and what his current life is like in Angola, IN. Shot for the 1986 TV special "Once A Star."
00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars. The audio from the interview can be heard in the background.
00:47Copy video clip URL A sign on a door reads, “Screwballs of America Inc.”
01:28Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Rivera at a table in his restaurant in Angola, IN. The interviewers ask Rivera what is keeping him in Angola rather than moving back to his hometown of New York, or Chicago where he played baseball for the White Sox for most of his career. “I think here you got a lot of privacy. People don’t butt in on you like they do in a big city. The only thing I don’t like about a small town, which they’re all the same, is everybody knows what time you get up and when you go to bed. But other than that I’d rather be here. I think the living is cleaner, the air is cleaner, it’s not noisy, and everybody knows everybody. So if you go somewhere and you want to have a good time, you leave town. You don’t stay here. You go somewhere else. So I like it better.” Rivera goes on to talk about what he likes to do in his spare time and what it’s like dealing with the problems that arise from owning a restaurant.
04:19Copy video clip URL One of the interviewers asks Rivera about his baseball pension and what he thinks about the amount of money that many players are currently being payed. Rivera talks about the lack of “hustle” among some current baseball players. Rivera states that all he had to give to baseball was his “hustle” and that players nowadays should be giving more to the game. Rivera then goes on to talk about his love for the game and how much he misses it.
05:54Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Rivera if he ever wished he had a son. Rivera says that he wishes he had but quickly moves on to talk about patronage in baseball and the pressure that comes with trying to overcome one’s father’s legacy. He also goes over his parenting philosophy.
07:18Copy video clip URL The interviewer then asks Rivera about his difficulties in his early life. Rivera talks about his troubled childhood growing up in a orphanage and how it led him to foul play. He also states that he does not blame his parents for his troubles. Rivera goes on to talk about his parents’ death and how it affected him. He also briefly talks about his relationship with his brothers and sisters.
10:43Copy video clip URL Rivera discusses his time spent in a military prison for four and a half years on a charge of attempted rape. He recounts how he ended up with the charge, including having to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence, and denies ever touching the girl. Rivera also talks about his bitterness about the ordeal that stayed with him through his baseball career. During a game against the Washington Senators, Rivera was approached by a captain in the military who was on the board that tried him. The captain apparently said that most of the board believed he was innocent, but that the boyfriend of the girl he supposedly tried to rape had a lot of authority over the matter and made sure that Rivera went to jail. Rivera also briefly talks about a similar instance that took place while he was on the White Sox.
14:35Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Rivera whether or not baseball helped him through his troubles. Rivera briefly talks about how baseball helped him get over the jail sentence. He goes on to talk about how he eventually made it into the Major Leagues.
16:48Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of the view from one of Rivera’s windows in Angola, IN.
17:13Copy video clip URL Tape ends.