Hollywood Movie Producer Acquires Rights to Book Written by Wisdom HS (Houston ISD) Journalism Teacher


Khadija Aljanabi

Fanucchi, with a few of his 7th Period Journalism students and Wisdom Chronicle reporters

Alyssa Vazquez, News Editor

Award-Winning Producer Ted Collins (Gritty Film Productions) Acquires Rights to Produce Tommy Lasorda & USA Baseball Olympic Gold Medal True Story: MIRACLE ON GRASS, By David Fanucchi

//Los Angeles, CA: Ted Collins – the 2018 Slamdance Award-Winning Producer and Principal of Gritty Film Productions, has acquired the exclusive rights to develop author David Fanucchi’s book MIRACLE ON GRASS.

Fanucchi currently teaches Journalism at M.L. Wisdom High School in Houston, Texas. He has led the Generals to three consecutive (2017-19) District 23-5A UIL Journalism Championships, and advises his students in producing news stories for the Wisdom Chronicle newspaper and website.

But, 19 years ago, Fanucchi was the Press Officer for the 2000 USA Baseball Olympic Team. He wrote the true story and self-published his book on Amazon.com in 2012. “I couldn’t be more excited to begin working with Ted on a chance to develop this story on film,” said Fanucchi. “Ted is exactly the type of producer that I was hoping to find, who would recognize the opportunity to tell this inspiring story to the world. He’s passionate, tenacious, and determined, and I believe in his vision for this project.”

(L-R) Ted Collins, David Fanucchi, Tommy Lasorda, Tom Stanley; in Lasorda’s office at Dodger Stadium; Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.

Michelle Wagner – currently the Principal of Wisdom High School – hired Fanucchi to become the Journalism teacher at the old Lee High School in 2015. “What makes Mr. Fanucchi a great Journalism teacher are his previous experiences as a reporter and a publicist, and he translates those professional skills over to our students very well. We are excited about the attention his book has gotten.”

Fanucchi’s students had a hard time believing him at first, when he told them the news. “I am very proud of Mr. Fanucchi, our journalism teacher. I think his book trickling into Hollywood is going to be a great catalyst in helping the reputation of our school,” said Wisdom Chronicle Reporter Sidra Hassan. “This recognition and appreciation that the book is receiving right now is super exciting, and we are hoping that Mr. Collins is able to do something great with it.”

Led by Hall-of-Fame manager Tommy Lasorda – who came out of retirement to lead the charge for his country – the 2000 USA Baseball Olympic Team pulled off the greatest upset in Olympic baseball history to win the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Their triumph was remarkable, but the story of their coming together is even harder to imagine.

“I love underdog stories, especially ones involving sports. I’m a big fan of baseball and Tommy Lasorda,” said Collins. “It’s surprising to me that not too many people know about this amazing accomplishment. In fact, it’s the only time the Americans have ever won gold in baseball. David Fanucchi was there and lucky for us he captured the glory in riveting detail in his book. Lasorda considers this his greatest accomplishment and he wants to leave something behind to inspire kids. He came from humble beginnings, but always believed he could accomplish anything he set his mind to. That’s the message and we’re going to make this movie for Tommy!”

MIRACLE ON GRASS tells the true story of how this unknown squad of American minor leaguers stunned the international baseball powerhouse from Cuba. In his account of this incredible true story, Fanucchi gives readers a behind the scenes look at how Lasorda persuaded management into giving him the opportunity to coach the team; how the Major League Baseball executives in charge of this operation for the United States went about selecting the players; how the Americans narrowly qualified for the Olympics during a gut-wrenching game; and how capturing the gold medal in Sydney changed the lives of every player, coach and administrator involved.

Lasorda – reached in his office at Dodger Stadium – was equally thrilled. “Managing the USA Baseball Team to an Olympic Gold Medal was the greatest achievement and proudest moment of my life,” the Hall of Fame, legendary Dodgers manager said. “I am thrilled to hear that Ted Collins has acquired the rights to turn David Fanucchi’s book into a movie. I will do whatever I can to lend a hand, and assist them in creating an outstanding and inspirational film.”

Told with warmth and an uncanny eye for detail, MIRACLE ON GRASS is an intimate, perceptive portrayal of three incredible weeks in Australia and a story that appeals to American pride. It features the wisdom and determination of one legendary manager, and the heart, guts, and passion of several young baseball players on their attempt to win an Olympic gold medal, as they harness the power of the passion in your heart for family and country.

The USA Baseball organization is currently in the process of selecting the players that will come together in November, and compete in the qualifying tournament of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“Our triumph in 2000 to win the Olympic Gold Medal remains the ultimate moment in the history of this organization,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “So to have the opportunity to work with Ted and Gritty Productions on telling that story to the world, is exciting. We look forward to assisting with a feature film production in any way that we can.”