In 1979, on a flight from LA to New York, I started a conversation with the man seated next to me. He asked me what I did for a living and I told him I was publisher of National Lampoon. “Wow!” he enthused, “I love the Lampoon!” “What do you do?” I asked. He told me he was Reggie Smith. “Wow!” I echoed. At the time, Reggie was a member of the LA Dodgers, nearing the end of his career as an All-Star outfielder. As we were landing, I asked him what he was doing the next day — the day of Lampoon’s weekly softball game, this week against Warner Publishing. He said he was free, and I invited him to join us.
The game was underway when he showed up, neatly dressed in slacks and a sport shirt. Nobody recognized him. Our team had the bases loaded and I called time. I walked over to Warner’s captain, pointed to Reggie, and said, “This is a new Lampoon employee. He’s coming in now to pinch hit.” Reggie picked up a bat and walked to the plate. The first pitch came in and he swung and ripped the ball about 900 feet. As our team laughed hysterically, I introduced Reggie to the shocked opposing team.
—Matty Simmons is the producer of Animal House and other films
This article is featured in the July/August 2017 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.