Did you ever wonder about who the greatest movie baseball players of all-time are and how they stack up to modern day players? The Movie Mind did, and decided to answer those questions for all his readers. As of the conclusion of 2007, there has been a large enough sample size to select a legitimate movie All-Star baseball team. If The Movie Mind was drafting a fantasy baseball team solely from on-screen characters, who would be playing and who would miss the cut?
Before BALCO, and $200 million payrolls, there were guys who played the game we love on a big-screen for us all to enjoy. How would these players stack-up to current MLB superstars? How would The Movie Mind All-Star team stack-up against modern day competition? The Movie Mind answers these questions and more:
Criteria: The pool of players consists of any character from a movie with baseball somehow intertwined in the plot. No characters that were real players are permitted on the team. There may only be FICTIONAL characters up for selection to this prestigious team. As you will find out, there are an abundance of players at certain “high-profile” positions, and some positions are very scarce. The Movie Mind will try not to move players out of their true positions, but in some instances, and for the needs of depth in certain spots, it may be necessary. Selection to this team is based on a combination of the character’s “movie” ability (how talented the character is within context of the film), as well as the actor’s ability to represent a true baseball player. The formula for this combination has been concocted in The Movie Mind, and as always may not be revealed. There will be explanations for the selection of each player, and where applicable, why there may be certain glaring omissions.
This team includes all movies through the conclusion of 2007. Without further ado…presenting:
The Movie Mind All-Star Movie Baseball Team
[click HERE for a field-view of the starting lineup]
[click HERE to view the manager’s lineup card]
POSITIONS (In Order of Depth Chart)
1) Crash Davis (Kevin Costner; Bull Durham)
– Crash is a first-ballot shoe-in selection. His outlook on the game of baseball, immortalized in his “I believe” soliloquy, is reflective in how closely baseball mimics life on a grand scale. His tutelage alone as a career minor-leaguer is invaluable to the pitching staff. By holding the dubious record of most minor league homeruns in a career, we see that he has the talent and just needs that one break…that one dying quail a week, to get to the show.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Carlton Fisk
– Modern day player modeled after: Alan Zinter
2) Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger; Major League)
- Jake is what Crash Davis would amount to in the bigs: a light-hitting, grizzled vet with bad knees who makes “the league minimum” and is an asset to the club only because of his management of the pitching staff and knowledge of the game. The only reason he doesn’t get the starting nod in the lineup is because we saw his three-hop throw down to second base in spring training. Come on man, even Mike Piazza can get it there on one bounce.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Gary Carter
– Modern day player modeled after: Brent Mayne
3) Gus Sinski (John C. Reilly; For Love of the Game)
- Gus is another knowledgeable veteran catcher. He was able to effectively manage Billy Chapel in his perfect game before the end of his career. He is a hard-nosed player who should have tremendous praise for the film’s editing department for hiding his limited real-life abilities.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Joe Torre
– Modern day player modeled after: Sal Fasano, John Flaherty
1) Rube Baker (Eric Bruskotter; Major League II)
- This is a young kid with a heart the size of the small hick-town he came from. Purely a sentimental selection, he epitomizes the rare breed of athlete (and more relevant, movie-athlete) who is just thankful to be playing ball for a living. His upbeat personality would be most valued in the bullpen keeping pitchers from losing their minds in the doldrums of “bullpen boredom”. It was most noticeable when he hobbled around the locker room on one leg, after the team’s intra-squad brawl, and courageously reminded the team that “this is the gawl-darn major leagues!” before volunteering to play in pain. Can you see A-Rod doing that?
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Lance Parrish
– Modern day player modeled after: John Buck
2) Jack Parkman (David Keith; Major League II)
- He had to be included on the roster due to his raw talent. His bat could be valuable in a pinch-hit situation late in the game, especially since the top-two catchers on the roster have mostly defensive skills. While his real-life abilities translate a little too prissy, his movie talent is never in doubt. He’s a power-hitting catcher with a big mouth, and that shimmy he does makes the women in Cleveland sick.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Todd Hundley, Mike Stanley
– Modern day player modeled after: A.J. Pierzinski, Matt LeCroy
3) Spike Nolan (John Candy; Brewster’s Millions)
- Gets the nod here simply for his entertainment value. His character was just like his persona in most of his movies: he loved life, had fun at all costs, and made people laugh. He would never sniff the field, but you can bet the pitchers in the pen would love having him out there.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Darren Daulton
– Modern day player modeled after: Michael Barrett, Jeremy Brown
1) Jack Elliot (Tom Selleck; Mr. Baseball)
- He pulls a Bobby Valentine after his career is reborn in the Japanese league. Maybe Jack actually led the way for the frequent defecting of American and Japanese players. Who would have thought Ichiro, Matsui, and Dice-K would owe it all Jack Elliot? It was in Japan he saw the fundamental flaw in his swing, and by correcting it he is ready to be the staple at first base for this team. Selleck actually has a decent looking swing that translates well to real-life baseball. Besides, how could we ignore his classic 80’s baseball stache that would make Donnie Baseball jealous?
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Don Mattingly (looks and skills)
– Modern day player modeled after: John Olerud (without the helmet)
2) Clue Haywood (Peter Vuckovich; Major League)
– Any character that leads the league in all offensive categories including nose hair has to be on this roster. Before bowing to Rickie Vaughn’s heat in a clutch at-bat, he was virtually unstoppable. His power and “winning is everything” attitude, demonstrated by a guy that would throw at his kid in a father-son game, is what earns him a backup spot. It is also surprising that there is such limited talent at a high-profile position such as first-base. This is an area that movie-baseball doesn’t mimic real-life baseball. Pitchers and catchers are more character oriented roles, where first-basemen in real-life tend to be the superstars.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Steve Balboni, John Kruk
– Modern day player modeled after: Matt Stairs
1) Marcus Random (Earl Johnson; For Love of the Game)
- I know, I know…most people are scratching their heads and saying, “huh?” Here’s the thing, there is such little talent available to choose from here, it was almost painful finding a candidate, let alone someone worthy enough. However, like one of his teammates in the outfield, Random (whose role in the movie lending a crucial hand toward the ultimate outcome is a perfect compliment to his name) makes one of the most clutch movie plays ever. He makes a seemingly impossible diving catch to preserve the perfecto being thrown by Billy Chapel. We have enough strong bats in this lineup to afford the luxury of starting him for his defensive prowess.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Lou Whitaker
– Modern day player modeled after: Rickie Weeks, Howie Kendrick
2) Mickey “Domo” Dominguez (Wilmer Valderrama; Summer Catch)
– He flashed some painfully average abilities, and his character was a bit on the naive side for a legit college baseball player, but due to the weak depth at the position he has enough tools to warrant a back-up spot. Simply playing in the esteemed “Cape League” is a huge accomplishment.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Bobby Avila
– Modern day player modeled after: Miguel Cairo
1) Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen; Major League)
– Dorn is such an accurate reflection of what many major leaguers think but won’t say aloud. Bernsen carried his L.A. Law persona over to the big screen perfectly which provides a scary link to the psyches of lawyers and baseball players. His unwillingness to get in front of a ball, worrying about his portfolio more than his swing, and being “high-priced” without the “talent” is what in the end endears him to his fans. Third-base is a shallow position, and with that, who is better to lead the way then Dorn.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Ron Cey, Alex Rodriguez (without the talent)
– Modern day player modeled after: Drew Henson, Brandon Inge
1) Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley; The Bad News Bears (1976))
- Possibly the best young prospect on this roster. The kid stepped off a motorcycle onto the field and could hit, run and throw like a Little League All-Star. We may have a few major problems down the road like attitude, a potential Ben Roethlisberger/Jason Williams motorcycle situation, and the itching suspicion that he was that kid that grew faster and was just bigger then everyone else his age, and when size caught up to him…well, he’s just plain ordinary (we all know that kid). Either way, I can’t pass on this potential. Another note, the kid playing Leak in the remake (2005) had much better real baseball talent, but I’ll pass on him simply because his tutelage came from Billy Bob Thornton, whose fungo-form looked more like a red-neck waltz then a swing.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Pee Wee Reese
– Modern day player modeled after: J.J. Hardy
1) Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes; Major League)
- I want to stress that this is NOT Omar Epps’ version of Willie Mays Hayes in Major League II. He almost destroyed the most lovable outfielder in movie history and single-handedly put Major League II in the cellar well before anyone had seen it. Unless it’s the National Lampoons series, you cannot simply replace main characters in a sequel and expect people to take it seriously. Willie has the speed to roam CF and now that he has learned to “hit the ball on the ground and leg it out”, his on-base average will be key to set the table.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Willie Mays (who else?), more like Willie McGee
– Modern day player modeled after: Kenny Lofton
2) Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert; Major League)
- Who would have thought he could have overcome such eccentric religious practices (Voodoo and then regrettably Buddhism in Major League II) and use his playing days as a platform to the Presidency of the United States while working with one of the greatest federal agents of all time [Jack Bauer in 24 for those living under a rock the past 5 years]! Either way, his ability to “hit straight ball very much” gets him a starting nod. Just get ahead in the count, Pedro, and leave the off-speed stuff alone.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Jay Buhner
– Modern day player modeled after: Roger Cedeno
3) Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford; The Natural)
- Hobbs makes this team in spite of Redford’s athletic ability (or lack thereof). The movie was made in a time where the actor’s authenticity as an athlete wasn’t nearly as important or scrutinized as it is today. If it was made in modern times, even a young Redford surely would be passed over for the role by the likes of Costner, or even Jamie Foxx. Removing Redford’s real-life abilities from the equation would make Hobbs one of the greatest movie baseball players of all-time. The film slaps us in the face with the Greek mythological undertones, but it also helps having someone of that stature on the team. As a grizzled vet who gets the second chance many don’t, he’d be a great influence on the younger players.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams
– Modern day player modeled after: Josh Hamilton, Rick Ankiel
4) Angels Rightfielder (Reggie Jackson; Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!)
- The only worthy baseball reference in this film, however it is an integral one. And even though his character did not have a name (normally a necessary element to be on this team), I would have to be a fool not to include a legit Hall-of-Fame ballplayer with the real-life nickname “Mr. October” on this team. It’s a little disturbing that his programmed message of “I must kill, the Queen” is probably the nicest thing the man (or character) has ever said. Remember, the only people ineligible are those whose character is a real player, not vice versa.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Reggie Jackson
– Modern day player modeled after: Barry Bonds (couldn’t you actually see him trying to kill the Queen?)
5) Davis Birch (Bill E. Rogers; For Love of the Game)
- A solid player that was obviously well-sought after in free agency after defecting from the Tigers and leaving behind his buddy Billie Chapel to head to the overpaying Yankees. They might as well have given Brian Cashman an obligatory role to thank him for lending credibility to this subplot with his free-spending ways.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Danny Tartabull
- Modern day player modeled after: Bobby Abreu
6) Isuro Tanaka (Takaaki Ishibashi; Major League II)
- Adds a “Samari” approach to the game that should be useful in the clubhouse. I’ll take his Aaron Rowand style of running into walls to make catches any day of the season.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Rodney McCray
– Modern day player modeled after: Aaron Rowand, Hideki Matsui
7) Mickey Hart (Greer Barnes; For Love of the Game)
- You know how one single play in someone’s entire playing career can be the moment that defines it for eternity (ie. Billy Buckner, Scott Norwood, etc.)? Well, Mickey Hart deserves this selection simply for the over-the-wall catch he made to rob a homerun and preserve Billy Chapel’s perfect game. It doesn’t get much more clutch then that.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Kevin Mitchell
- Modern day player modeled after: Aaron Boone
8) Ken Strout (Carmine Giovinazzo; For Love of the Game)
- The kid has the cohones to make his big league debut at the plate and almost break up the perfecto being hurled by Billy Chapel after his dad played with him back in the day?? I’ll take those ice-water veins coming off the bench in a late game pinch-hit situation any day.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Mark Carreon, Brian McRae
- Modern day player modeled after: Nick Swisher
1) Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner; For Love of the Game)
- When Chappie is on the hill, we’ll have to use backup catcher Gus Sinski or maybe even Jake Taylor, but unless Costner is tossing to himself, Crash Davis is out. Costner is probably the most legit baseball talent out of any career actor. The character is dead-on from his mindset to his approach to the batters. Chappie isn’t a bad staff-ace after having a longstanding big league career capped off with a perfect-game. It may be a tall order getting him to ditch Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston) to make another run at it, but well worth the result.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: David Cone
- Modern day player modeled after: John Smoltz (also decided to stay and finish his career with his original team instead of chasing bigger dollars somewhere else)
2) Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn (Charlie Sheen; Major League)
- “Wild Thing” is the single most memorable character of ANY sports movie in this generation. He single-handedly resurrected a song by one-hit wonder “The Troggs” after it had been dead for 30 years. He was the classic emulation of the guy ladies loved, and the guy men wanted to be. It took him 98% of the sequel (Major League II) to get back to his roots, but we’re glad he finally did. Sheen may even have a better natural pitching motion then Costner. I like him best coming out of the bullpen and throwing gas for an inning to close things out.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams
- Modern day player modeled after: Trevor Hoffman, Eric Gagne
3) Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh (Tim Robbins, Bull Durham)
- He was the epitome of the hot-shot prospect who had a big league fastball and attitude to go with it, before ever having the big league experience. I look forward to reuniting him and Crash, for some more classic mound meetings. If we could ever get rid of his unathletic Fernando Valenzuala-inspired motion and ten-cent head, he could be one of the great ones.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Steve Dalkowski, Brien Taylor (NYY high school phenom who signed for big dollars and never touched the bigs after breaking his pitching hand in a fight)
- Modern day player modeled after: Mark Prior
4) Eddie Harris (Chelcie Ross; Major League)
- Every staff needs a junk-baller, and ours is no exception. From Bardol to Vagasil, this guy would do whatever it took to get an out. In the era of the “Juiced Ball”, I wouldn’t be surprised if old Harris pulled out a corkscrew mid-game and drained the sucker dry. Besides, who else would lead the team in pre-game prayers?
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Jesse Orosco, Charlie Hough
- Modern day player modeled after: Jaime Moyer, Kenny Rogers
5) Ryan Dunne (Freddie Prinze Jr.; Summer Catch)
- Probably needs some more development before he’s ready for the show, but he showed incredible maturity and growth as a pitcher during his 2-hour screen-test. If he faired that well in the Cape League, which is widely considered the best amateur summer-league in the country, he should be able to hold his own here. After all, Barry Zito, Chris Carpenter, and Mike Mulder were all-star pitchers in the Cape. Then again, so was Dan Krines.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Eric Milton
- Modern day player modeled after: John Maine, Billy Wagner
6) Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nicholas; Rookie of the Year)
– The kid epitomizes players from the most recent years of baseball, “The Steroid Era”. He busts his arm making it look like he’ll never even play in high school let alone the bigs, and next thing you know he has a miraculous Tommy John-esque surgery and starts throwing 100mph like he’s tossing it underhand. If coaches, managers, and fans are willing to look the other way at his scientific and bionic recovery, then I’m willing to put him on this team.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Tommy John
- Modern day player modeled after: Kevin Brown
7) Eric Van Leemer (Corey Pearson; Summer Catch)
- He was actually a college baseball player, albeit not a pitcher, and that showed some. However, it was readily apparent that he was a ballplayer, and that means something in this world of Hollywood athletes. His persona was a bit over-the-top, but not impossible to believe. You mix in an ego, a big-time prospect in the Cape, and some level of eccentricity, and a character like his is certainly in the realm of possibilities.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Mark Fidrych
- Modern day player modeled after: Barry Zito
7) Chet ‘Rocket’ Steadman (Gary Busey; Rookie of the Year)
- He should help to keep the press focused on him and relieve the pressure of this hand-picked team when they get in a rut. I can’t wait to see him get ejected the first time…we better have a full stash of horse tranquilizers to keep Busey, I mean Chet, from slaughtering the umpire.
– MLB Icon in his likeness: Steve Howe, Pascual Perez
- Modern day player modeled after: Jason Grimsley
1) Lou Brown (James Gammon; Major League, Major League II)
- Lou was the most believable movie baseball manager to this day. He at times was cartoonish, but the fact is some managers out there make most players look like Zen priests compared to their antics. He had a good enough mix of knowledge, mannerisms, and look, to be charged with leading this team. After all, he took the biggest misfit team ever assembled and turned them into a playoff contender. I just hope he’s willing to drop that guy on the other line asking about some whitewalls to come manage one last time.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Tommy Lasorda
- Modern day coach modeled after: Ron Gardenhier
2) Larry Hockett (Robert Wuhl; Bull Durham)
- Can’t you just picture it…as Lou Brown goes off on another tirade “Alright…ALRIGHT!!! Cut that SH*T out!!!” Coach Larry chimes in with his dead-on assistant-coach repetitive mannerisms…”Yeah guys…you heard him. Cut that sh*t out!”
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Larry Boa
– Modern day coach modeled after: Charlie Manuel
3) George Knox (Danny Glover; Angels in the Outfield)
- If this guy is capable of getting God to send angels to help his team, wouldn’t he be someone you want on your side and not the team you’re playing?? I’m pulling a classic Steinbrenner and keeping him on this team so no one else can get him. Plus, there’s no better voice in the world to rattle the opposing players’ minds with chatter.
- MLB Icon in his likeness: Dusty Baker
- Modern day coach modeled after: Ron Washington
4) Cecil ‘Stud’ Cantrell (William L. Petersen; Long Gone)
- Head CSI Grissom acts as Player/Manager in a little-known film worth the time to see. Good thing he opted out of Platoon to make this little gem (true story). His knowledge of the game from a player’s perspective will be invaluable, along with his obvious attention to details.
1) Juan Primo (Benicio Del Toro; The Fan)
- Technically, he died in the film, so I’m not sure what good he would be to the team. But I guess this list does not have to be a living testament, so I considered putting him in here. However, we never even got see his abilities on display. Instead all we had to go on was his superstitious zealot for his #11. Either way, unless Benicio’s nose is buried in a mountain of white powder on screen, I’m not buying any of his characters.
10) Steve Nebraska (Brendan Fraser; The Scout)
- While billed as one of the most talented movie baseball players of all time [besides being a dominant pitcher, they claim he could hit and run too!], he is a purposeful omission from this team. The reason, well, he’s Brendan Fraser for crying out loud!! You know when you go to Wal-Mart or K-Mart and want to burn some time you head into the DVD section…then you start sorting through the $4.99 basket of DVD’s? Just once, for kicks, count how many Brendan Fraser movies are in there. It’s a virtual filmography and resume for his entire career. In light of this, I have officially dubbed it “The Brendan Fraser section”.
2) Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes; The Fan)
- This character is the result of what Willie Mays Hayes would have become if we followed his entire movie playing career. I was thankful we didn’t have to deal with his aged, strained, prima donna attitude 15 years later in his playing career, that is, until they made this film. I prefer to remember him as Willie Mays Hayes, even though he only ran like Hayes but hit like shit. Rayburn misses the cut.
5) T-Rex (Brian J. White; Mr. 3000)
- Actually a former professional athlete, albeit football player for the New England Patriots, he certainly walks the walk and even more so talks the talk. This movie was garbage, and so was the Barry Bonds wannabe. We have enough “T.O’s” on this team already.
6) The Whammer (Joe Don Baker; The Natural)
- The Babe Ruth reference in the film, he certainly looks the part. After striking out to a teenage Hobbs and adding insult to injury by losing his woman to him as well, his head is clearly not where it needs to be in order to help this team.
8) Billy Brubaker (Matthew Lillard; Summer Catch)
- Let’s cut to the chase…could you possibly find a better match of a more annoying character being played by a more annoying actor? Case closed.
List of movies in consideration for the team:
- Bull Durham
- Major League
- Major League II
- Mr. Baseball
- For Love of the Game
- The Natural
- Long Gone
- The Fan
- Bad News Bears
- Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
- Summer Catch
- Angels in the Outfield
- Brewster’s Millions
- A League of Their Own
- Little Big League
- Major League: Back to the Minors
- Mr. 3000
- Rookie of the Year
- The Sandlot
- The Scout
List of movies excluded from consideration for the team (due to characters based on real-life stories and players):
- Eight Men Out
- Fever Pitch
- Field of Dreams
- The Pride of the Yankees