TULSA - In Major League Baseball's 135 year history, there have been more than 30 million pitches thrown across the plate. Only one delivered a fatal blow to the man at bat. The man at bat was Ray Chapman, and the pitcher was Carl Mays.
Oklahoma State University professor and sports writer Mike Sowell wrote a book about that fateful day in 1920, called The Pitch That Killed.
"It's really amazing to me that only one man has been hit and killed by a pitch," said Sowell.
Now, more than 20 years later, Sowell's book has been turned into a screenplay written by Pamela Lynn Sullivan and Jeffrey David Anderson. The movie is scheduled to be titled Deadball.
"I'm excited to reintroduce [Chapman and Mays] to fans who didn't realize how great they were," said Sowell. "Mays lost his reputation, Chapman lost his life and both lost their place in the hall of fame."
Sowell says the two men grew up less than fifty miles apart in Kentucky, both came from poor backgrounds, and both became baseball greats. Chapman was a shortstop for the Cleveland Indians, and Mays was a pitcher for the New York Yankees.
Chapman's death came at a very pivotal time for baseball, and resulted in many changes in the way the game was played.
The Los Angeles based production company behind the film also plans a grassroots effort to have Chapman inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame.
Pre-production on the film is currently underway. It is expected to be released in 2014.