Joe Boyd has settled in to a life of middle-aged tranquility with a lovely wife and a happy home; however six months out of the year, Joe is tormented by his beloved and beleaguered baseball team, the Washington Senators and their constant trouncing by the New York Yankees (Damn Yankees!).
Poor Joe Boyd would sell his soul for the Washington Senators to take the pennant and win the World Series, and he gets his chance when he meets a shadowy devil-in-disguise named Mr. Applegate. Applegate smooth talks hapless Joe Boyd into leaving his life as he knows it to be transformed into a young baseball star named Joe Hardy who will take the senators all the way to the win. The deal is sealed when Applegate tells Joe Boyd that he can go back to his old life at a certain day and time if he wants to. So gullible Joe Boyd leaves his life behind and becomes Joe Hardy and gets recruited to play for the Senators, winning game after game and it looks like the Senators are going to make it to the top! The problem is, Joe misses his old life and his lovely wife Meg, and decides he wants to go back but Applegate has other plans. He sends in his assistant Lola, played by the magnificent Gwen Verdon, to seduce him so he will miss the time when he can exercise his escape clause. I won’t give away the ending so you will have to see it for yourself to find out what happens!
But I will leave you with one of the best scenes from the movie. By the end of the season when the Senators are close to beating the Yankees to take the Pennant, the fans hold a banquet to honor the future champs. This dance number is from the banquet. Tab Hunter plays Joe Hardy in the film, but the man dancing in this scene is not Tab Hunter. It is Bob Fosse, Gwen Verdon’s husband in real life, and it is the only time they are filmed dancing together.
Damn Yankees is based on the 1954 novel The Years the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop. It was a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical before it was turned into a movie.
I fine-tuned my plot points by going to the Damn Yankees Wikipedia page.