Bull Durham was a first draft. Only one draft has ever been written. I wrote it in about ten weeks. I wrote it without an outline, without any notion of where I was going. I went down to the Carolinas and drove around to see the minor-league ballparks. I wanted to see if that world had changed since I had played in the minor leagues years earlier, and I discovered it hadn't. It was as unglamorous as when I played: Women came to the ballpark, these players were heroes in these small towns, everyone was afraid of being fired, and these dreams were probably never going to be realized for most of these guys.
I drove from Durham down to Asheville, North Carolina. I drove on the back roads,
and I had a little mini-cassette recorder. I said, "Well, if this woman tells the story, what would the opening line be?" And I wrote, over a 140-mile drive, "I believe in the church of baseball." I'd drive five miles. "I've worshipped all the major religions, and most of the minor ones." I'd pull over for a hambuger, keep going. By the time I got to Asheville, I had dictated that opening two-page monlogue.
A couple months later, I got back and pulled that out, and I transcribed it. I gave her the name Annie because of "Baseball Annie," and I had a book of matches from the Savoy Bar that I'd been at.
That was Annie Savoy. I just kept writing, and I wrote the whole script. Gloriously, the producer read it and said something that producers are incapable of saying these days. He said, "I want to shoot it now," as opposed to, "I'll give you my notes next week." A few days later, we were shooting.
Ron Shelton, as quoted in Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories