Netflix acquires documentary on quirky baseball team


Netflix has acquired rights to “The Battered Bastards of Baseball,” a documentary about the Portland Mavericks, a minor league team founded by character actor Bing Russell, whose son Kurt played on the team.

Unlike typical minor league teams that have an affiliation with a big league squad, the Portland Mavericks, which made their debut in 1973, were an independent operation. The Mavericks attracted a few has-beens and more never-weres. Ex Yankee star Jim Bouton, who was drummed out of Major League Baseball after penning the tell-all book “Ball Four,” played on the squad.

But despite the odds, the Mavericks won their division in their first season and were a huge draw in Portland. The team won another title in 1977 before being disbanded.


Bing Russell, who played Deputy Clem on “Bonanza,” had a motto for the team: “fun.” He also made some groundbreaking hires, tapping Lanny Moss as general manager, the first time a woman had held such a role for a ball team.

Kurt Russell, who appears in the documentary, played on the team and served as its vice president.

“The Battered Bastards of Baseball” will debut exclusively on Netflix on July 11.

Netflix also picked up the documentaries “Mission Blue,” about oceanographer Sylvia Earle, and “E-Team,” about four human rights workers.