‘Happy Days’: Marion Ross Shares How Softball Team Kept Cast Together

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

The cast of “Happy Days” weathered all manner of situations. The classic show took them through the arrival of an alien, first dates, weddings, and just about anything else you can think of. On-screen the cast worked like a well-oiled machine. However, they worked well as a team off the set as well.

Some of the members of the cast have famously remained friends over the years. For instance, Ron Howard and Henry Winkler are like brothers even today. But, did you know that the cast of “Happy Days” also had a solid softball team?

Marion Ross who played Mrs. Cunningham on the classic show discussed their team with the Television Academy Foundation in an interview.

The interviewer asked Ross if she could remember specific episodes of “Happy Days,” she said that she couldn’t. She said that she would see episodes in syndication and not even remember doing them. The one thing that stuck out in her mind, though, was the softball team they put together.

The “Happy Days” Cast Kept Their Eyes on the Ball

Marion Ross recalled that if she did something well during a game, Garry Marshall would send her a bouquet of flowers and a card the next day. It didn’t matter if she made a good hit or ran the bases or just played her position well. The “Happy Days,” creator was quick to give her praise. She still has a collection of cards from Marshall.

Marshall wasn’t just the show’s creator. He was also the team’s first baseman. Henry Winkler was the pitcher. Clint Howard was the catcher and Ron Howard played right field. Could you imagine watching the cast of “Happy Days” in full uniform taking the field? What a joy that must have been for fans of baseball and the classic show alike.

Marion went on to say that the “Happy Days” cast was made up of great athletes. In fact, they would travel the country, playing in some of the most famous ballparks in America. The cast was allowed to hang out in the dugouts before MLB games and rub elbows with some of the country’s best baseball players. Marion Ross didn’t know who any of them were, though. She wasn’t a fan of watching the sport. Instead, she liked getting out on the field and playing.  

They played USO shows against military teams. Most of the time, Ross said, they would win. The opposing teams didn’t expect the group of actors to take the game seriously. However, when they were on the field, they weren’t just the folks from “Happy Days,” they were a serious team who wanted to win.

She said that the day after the cast finished the final episode of “Happy Days,” they grabbed their uniforms and hopped on a plane. They flew to Okinawa, Japan to play an exhibition game against the US Marine Corps softball team.

Why Marion Ross Loved the Softball Team So Much

The reason that the “Happy Days,” softball team sticks out in her mind so much isn’t just the love of the game. Ross said that their softball trips allowed them to meet millions of fans around the world. At the same time, it helped them to learn to work together better on series. They dominated on the field and that impressive teamwork bled over into their work on the set.