Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, laidback stoner and bowler
Los Angeles, Fall 1991
Film: The Big Lebowski
Release Date: March 6, 1998
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today would have been the 100th birthday of Japanese baseball star Kaoru Betto who, despite his talents as one of the league’s earliest power hitters, may be most recognizable to many as his likeness graces the front of Jeff Bridges’ T-shirts in Cold Feet (1989), The Fisher King (1991), and most famously in The Big Lebowski (1998).
Born in Nishinomiya on August 23, 1920, Kaoru Betto made his Nippon Professional Baseball debut as an outfielder for the Ōsaka Tigers (now the Hanshin Tigers) in 1948. After two years with the Tigers, Betto moved to play for the Mainichi Orions (now the Chiba Lotte Marines) for the team’s inaugural season in 1950. Having attained a .335 batting average and 43 home runs during that first season with the Orions and leading them to victory in the first Japan Series, Betto was awarded the Pacific League’s first NPB Most Valuable Player. Betto finished playing after the 1957 season, focusing solely on managing. “The Gentleman of Baseball” died on April 16, 1999, a year after The Big Lebowski was released.