The step is a meeting of the St. Mickey’s Knights that Columbus. After dealing with a few business items, the organization leader, played by SNL actors member john Belushi, announces the the society would have a special guest speaker the night.

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Dan Aykroyd, playing the Knights’ treasurer, notes that the team had to go into debt to pay the speaker’s steep $900 fee. Belushi then introduces this distinct guest: “The Immortal” Chico Escuela, ** a previous all-star baseball player because that the Chicago Cubs who pertained to the united state from the Dominican Republic.

** Literally: “Boy School”, but more likely “Little School,” as Chico method small or little when offered as an adjective – for this reason “Little Education”.

After gift introduced, Chico – illustrated by SNL cast member Garrett Morris – gets up, stands at the podium and also says in a special Spanish accent: “Thank you berry much. Baseball … to be berry, berry great … to me. Say thanks to you. God bless you. Gracias!”

Then he sit down. Astonished by the brevity the this $900 “speech,” Belushi’s personality asks: “Is the it Chico?” Chico thinks about it a second, it s okay up again and also adds: “Keep you eye … store you eyes … on de ball.” after ~ which, the sits under again. Belushi says sardonically: “Thank you, Chico. Did you do it been motivation to all of us.”

Three weeks later, throughout the December 9, 1978 episode of SNL, Morris’s Chico do a second appearance and repeated his heat “Baseball to be berry, berry great to me!” numerous times – making this the night on which it acquired official catchphrase status.

*

Chico remained in the Weekend upgrade segment with Jane Curtin, who announced that he had been hired as the Weekend Update sporting activities commentator. After being presented by mrs (this time as a former brand-new York Mets ballplayer), Chico says: “Thank you. Say thanks to you, berry, berry much. Baseball been berry, berry good to me. Give thanks to you, Jane. ( express “Hane”. )


*

With a photograph of major league player Pete rose behind him, who had actually recently signed a four year, 3.2 million dollar attend to the Philadelphia Phillies, Chico reported: “Pete-ee Rose, baseball been berry, berry an excellent to Pete Rose. Three-point-two-million-dollar para Pete Rose. Charlie Hustle, you bet. Thank you berry, berry much.”

“In foot-ball … i don’t know football. In Dominican Republic, football is — how you say, Hane? Ummm …. Oh! Soccer! her football … i don’t know. In nationwide Hockey organization … i don’t understand hockey. In baseball … Baseball been berry, berry good to me! thank you berry much. Thank you. Give thanks to you berry much. Hane? say thanks to you, Hane.”


*

Hearing Chico’s fact-challenged report, woman responds sarcastically: “Great job, Chico. Ns glad that we haven’t hired just another stupid ex-jock sportscaster.”

Morris walk on to appear as Chico Escuela eight an ext times before leaving the Saturday Night Live actors in the summer that 1980. Each time, he recurring “Baseball to be berry, berry good to me!” (sometimes created as “Beisbol to be bery, bery good to me!” and in assorted other ways). That remains one of the most famed of the numerous memorable catchphrases developed by SNL.

*

*

Sorry, we are marketed out of Chico Escuela cards.

Base-a-bol Bera, Bera Goooooood

By Tony KornheiserThe Washington PostNovember 6, 1979

It began last November top top a Saturday night, live from brand-new York, at theSt. Mickey’s K that C sporting activities banquetsketch. Jane, Larraine and also Gilda to be the girls in the kitchen; currently let’s listen it for the girls in the kitchen that made all the good spaghetti — therefore c’mon out and also take a bow, girls. Aykroyd was the St. Mickey’s priest; bingo next Tuesday, and Father Dolan’s wonder why the parishioners begin laughing as soon as he calls, O-68. Belushi to be the master of ceremonies. Bill Murray to be his wise-guy son, the jocko. And also Garrett Morris to be the guest speaker, a retired ballplayer from the Dominican Republic that believes, above all else, in that old Spanish proverb, “Take the dinero and also run.” for those that missed it, that went something favor this:

MC:

“All right, now we come to the featured guest that the evening. I’m certain this guy needs no introduction. We all know him, the former 2nd baseman of the Mets, Chico Escuela. Chico is going to say a few words to us, therefore let’s give him a warm, St. Mickey’s reception; (clapping) Chico Escuela.”

Chico:(smiling)

“Base-a-bol been bera, bera good to me; (smiling still). T’ank friend bera much.” (Sits down.)

MC:(stunned, rising)

“That’s it? Twelve hundred bucks and also that’s it?” us paid friend 12 hundred for that? You nothing have any more? Something come say come the kids? I typical is that all we obtain for the 12 hundred” (Glares at Chico.)

Chico:(getting up, tho smiling)

“Keep you eye top top the bol.” (sits down)

Chico Escuela, this is her life.

“I believed it was a one-shot,” said Brian Doyle Murray, brothers of Bill, father of Chico. “I wrote it one night, about 5 in the morining. The premise was the these ex-jocks get large money simply for arriving at this banquets. In this case, the kicker is that Chico can only say about five indigenous of English. Ns made the a Latino because I thought that would certainly be funnier. Yet Chico’s no stupid; he could go on for hours in Spanish. Like I say, though, I had no plans for a continuing character. Zweibel yes, really ran with it.”

Enter Alan Zweibel, employee writer because that “Saturday Night.” Zweibel, who produced Roseann Roseannadanna because that Gilda Radner, to be responsible greatly for theWeekend Updatesegment. Zweibel knew a star when he saw one. Just one look, that’s all it took. “My fantasy to be to have a junior high in the Dominican Republic called after him,” Zweibel said. (“Escuela” is the Spanish word for “school.”) “‘Where execute you walk to school? ns go come Escuela Escuela.’ I put him onUpdateas the sporting activities announcer.”

Chico made three appearances as theUpdatesports maven. It was, however, his very first appearance onUpdate— Dec. 9, 1978 — that continues to be the standard Chico Escuela segment, the little bit that developed Chico as a “Saturday Night” character same in stature and also recognizability come Roseann, Samurai or the 2 wild and crazy Czechoslovak brothers, Sam and also Dave. Right here then is Chico’s debut onUpdate:

Jane:

“And currently we’d choose to welcome a brand-new member to theWeekend Updateteam, the former second baseman for the brand-new York Mets, Chico Escuela. Chico will certainly be doingUpdatesports. Chico:”

*

Chico:

“T’ank you, t’ank friend bera, bera much. (Smiling, as usual) Base-a-bol been bera, bera good to me. T’ank you, Hane

(Picture that Pete rose flashes on display behind Chico)

Pete Rrrhhose. Base-a-bol to be bera, bera an excellent to Pete Rose. Three allude two million dollars para Pete Rrrhhose. Charley Hustle? friend bet. T’ank you bera, bera much.

(NFL scores flash on screen)

En futbol … En Dominican Repooblic, futbol ees — how you say? — soccer. Her football? ns don’ know. (smiling)

En Nacional Hockey League? (they flash NHL scores) ns don’ know hockey.

En beisbol. (they flash baseball scores) Base-a-bol ben bera, bera goooooood come me.T’ank you, t’ank you bera, bera much. (smiling) Hane.”

Jane:

“Great Job, Chico. Ns glad that we haven’t rental just an additional stupid ex-jock sportscaster.”

Chico’s an excellent strength, of course, was his great weakness. Functional illiteracy. How far can friend run through it? Even prior to Chico’s 2nd appearance onUpdate, Zweibel knew the to save Chico fresh he would have actually to provide him more depth, much more vulnerability. A lifelong sports fan, Zweibel was acquainted with the Jim Bouton motif — jock writes ideal selling tell-it-all book, becomes sportscaster, make the efforts comeback. Zweibel sketched a similar scenario because that Chico; Chico would, in ~ 41, attempt a comeback with the Mets, the team he had scandalized in his publication “Bad Stuff around The Mets.”

Some excerpts, in Chico’s words:

“Tom Seaver always take up two parking room … Yogi Berra is bera, bera negative card player … Ed Kranepool, he always borrow Chico’s soap and never return it.”

Zweibel’s arrangement was to take it Chico under to the Mets’ feather training site in St. Petersburg, Fla., and also film reaction through players and also fans come Chico’s comeback, and actual footage of Chico play baseball. To set this up, Zweibel contacted Thornton Geary, a Met official, who debated the plan with Joe Torre, the Mets’ manager. The Mets were not just agreeable, castle were completely cooperative. And also in so late March, Zweibel, Billy and also Brian Doyle Murray, Jim Signorelli, who filmed the on-location Chico bits because that “Saturday Night,” and also Garrett Morris flew to St. Pete. Morris, who had never had actually a breakout character in the 4 years the the show, lastly had something the would identify him from the place he had constantly held, the of “Saturday Night’s” black face. This one, Morris knew, had the potential to it is in an all-timer.

“When I first saw Chico, I said to myself, ‘this could be it. I finally got a character,’” Morris said from his office at NBC studios in Rockefeller Plaza. Top top the door was a bubble-gum snapshot of him together Chico. “Before Chico, ns was constantly doing drag queens. After ~ Tina Turner, i didn’t want to do them anymore — how plenty of times deserve to you acquire compliments as a drag queen and not feel funny? So ns really dug Chico. Ns was digging that from the start, patterning the after Clemente and Pele. What ns really dug was just how the cat could get away with anything simply by smiling and prtending to be stupid. Lookit, Chico don’t need to do the ‘Ho-la. Das just how you say, ‘hello’ en ingles. Hola. Exactly how you say? Aitch. O. Elll …’ that knows just how you say it. He’s simply running his scam.”

*

Morris laughed so, he fell over backwards. Getting to his feet the pointed at the snapshot of Chico and also said, ‘Chico Escuela has actually overwhelmed everything I’ve done here. Anywhere I go, ns Chico Escuela. I’m not Garrett Morris anymore. Chico to be bera, bera goooooood to Garrett.”

Morris is 43. The is in good shape many thanks to rigorous yoga routines. However he is no a baseball player. He played it as a son in brand-new Orleans — “I certain as hell could have been as an excellent as Joe Garagiola” — however gave it up because that music and also drama in his teens.

The Mets understood. Lock loaned Morris No. 5, the uniform worn through Steve Henderson, the starting left fielder; Joe Torre gained two players, Bobby Valentine and also Doug Flynn, to tutor Morris ~ above the care and also feeding of soil balls; Torre even put Chico into the lineup for 2 innings versus St. Luigi in a “B” game. Chico, of course, had no clue. “When I placed him in come play second, he ran the end there and just stand on the base,” Torre said. “God knows ns couldn’t let him gain up in ~ bat — ns was afraid he’d gain killed. He also scared me on the field on a popup.”

Meanwhile, Zweibel was scrambling to come up v some conversation to go through the to plan montage of screwups, including a shot of Chico obtaining hammered in the groin by a grounder. Zweibel had gone come St. Pete through a concept however not a script. “All us knew,” he said, “was that Chico would certainly be a hero, then a goat. We would film all of it, then come back, take a look and put the together.” So, even as the lights and also the cameras were warming up after a Mets-Yankees exhibition game, Zweibel and Brian Doyle Murray were composing one-liners on looseleaf paper, newspaper — even toilet document — and also handing lock to players seconds prior to the cameras rolled. The pan in the stands were advised come stick around and be part of a group scene and banners sustaining Chico — “Bring ago Chico,” “We Love Chico,” “Parsippany, N.J., Loves Chico,” “Senior citizens Respect Chico” — to be hung over the railings. Once Bill Murray lastly introduced Chico, the fans went wild. Chico obtained a standing ovation; the ideal Garrett Morris ever before got was a good hand.

Zweibel acquired threeUpdatesegments the end of Chico’s comeback, a comeback that failed as soon as it became noticeable to all the Chico to be so far over the hill he necessary a cab to gain back. Bill Murray report the bits in the layout of a “’60 Minutes” reporter, occasionally interviewing Chico.

Bill:

“Chico, did you do it divorced your wife. You’ve cashed in your children’s trust funds. All this for your comeback. Do you think that’s right?”

Chico:

“Wife? (smiling) mam been bera, bera an excellent to me. Children been bera, bera goooooood to Chico.”

Chico Escuela was hot. Very hot. Very, very hot. Monster hot. Girlfriend couldn’t go to a baseball game or a sports department that a newspaper there is no hearing, “Base-a-bol been bera, bera good to me.” Joe Torre claimed that once the Mets play in san Diego and also Pittsburgh that saw indicators in the was standing that stated “Bring earlier Chico” and also “The Mets require Chico.”

Garrett Morris said that “because of Chico my way of life will never ever be the same. Civilization come approximately me and also say, ‘Chico, how around an autograph.’ They want me to do interviews an initial in English, climate in Spanish — i don’t recognize Spanish, man. Currently I execute concerts and also Chico Escuela sells out an auditorium. I mean, Garrett Morris don’t market out one auditorium. As soon as I hear kids on the street execute Chico imitations the thrills me to my toes.I mean I’m high as a kite on that stuff.”

It is clear, in retrospect, that Chico Escuela touch a chord. Whether it was vulnerability, his acumen in always knowing how small to say and how lot to laugh or merely his extraordinary con job as the happy, shuffling Latino, he reviewed big. Sure, there’s a racial sterotype walk on. Nobody denies that.”But there’s an essential truth in every stereotype,” claimed Jim Signorelli. “Look, Chico came to America to play ball and make money. Remember, he’s been below a long time. He’s learned how to get approximately the bull. And also the thing is, Chico constantly gives turn off a an excellent feeling. Every we deserve to say is Chico to be bera, bera an excellent to us. Jim, Brian, Alan, Garrett love Chico.” Chico seems to it is in the perfect antidote to the mile-a-minute, let’s-analyze-everything-in-the-park-including-the-guy-who-drives-the-bullpen cart sports announcer. Chico analyzes nothing; he just puts the cash into his earlier pocket. The is opposing of sports as chess game. The is sports as siesta. He is the Leon Redbone of sports.

Sports to be bera, bera great to Chico. T’ank you bera, bera much.

So overwhelming was Chico’s popularity the the Mets not only invited him to their Old Timers’ video game this summer, they even detailed him ~ above their press notes as a member the the ’69 team. They introduced him come the crowd. They even let him take it batting practice. “The pitcher demoralized me, man,” Morris said. “That cat come out in front of the mound, and I couldn’t hit a cursed thing.” Zweibel, that course, to be there to gain it on film.

He was there as soon as Chico walked up to Willie Mays and also Henry Aaron — and tried to borrow part money.He to be there when Chico was in the cage, swinging awkwardly, and also a legitimate Old Timer to walk by, stared in disbelief, and said, “I don’t understand who this male is. However in 10 years he sure lost it. That ain’t acquired nothin’ left.”

But every this pales when contrasted to the ultimate cheat Zweibel tried to run. He in reality telephoned the Baseball room of fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. — the spiritual shrine — and tried to gain Chico Escuela inducted.

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“I obtained some male on the phone,” Zweibel said, “and said to him, ‘I i think you guys understand what’s happening through Chico Escuela, the old 2nd baseman of the Mets.’ The guy known Chico’s name, so i told him, ‘Look, Chico’s dying. He has actually been diagnosed as terminal. See as just how Chico’s a shoo-in to get into the room of Fame, anyway, i was wonder if perhaps you could make an exception to your five-year rule and also vote him in ideal away. Friend did it for Roberto Clemente, and it would certainly be real nice if Chico could lug his folks up from the Dominican Republic because that the ceremony prior to he dies.’ Well, the guy just said the get ago to me.”

Zweibel actually wanted to have Chico Escuela inducted into the room of Fame with Willie Mays. He planned to movie it. “He really did that?” Morris wanted to know. He claims he did.”Oh God, i can’t believe it. That’s great.”

And, because that the second time in one hour, Garrett Morris started to laugh so difficult that he dropped off his chair, leading logically to the monitoring that furniture no been bera, bera great to Garrett.

What’s following for Chico? Is noþeles next?

There are various ways Chico have the right to go. He deserve to do a George Plimpton, store trying out for sporting activities teams. He can do a Joe Louis, come to be a greeter at caesar Palace. He have the right to do a full-circle Bouton, stay as a sporting activities announcer, probably write an additional book, “More, poor Stuff around The Mets.” Or he deserve to go under the tubes completely, maybe get hit through a paternity suit, end up wiping automobile windows under on Houston Street in the Bowery. That would more than likely be the clincher. Joe Torre might drive by, Chico might do his home window and Torre could say, “Chico, did you do it still gained that same, great stroke — only it’s one action too slow.” and then, of course, Chico can smile and also say, “Windex to be bera, bera good to me. Can I have actually some money for wine, Joe? T’ank you, t’ank friend bera, bera much.”