Nothing is better than good baseball movies. They combine the joy of watching something new and the love for the all-American pastime, and they feed on the emotions of true baseball fans. Baseball movies often take unbelievable situations and make you think how awesome it would be if, for instance, a boy could break his arm and then throw harder than anybody in the majors, or if angels really did exist in the outfield.
Baseball movies make you cheer for teams you wouldn’t normally and, in some cases, they even change your outlook on the sport. Whether it’s believing if Ray Kinsella built it they would come, or thinking a team meant to loose with players who played in the California Penal League could compete in the American League, sports movies make you sometimes believe the unbelievable.
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With each baseball movie I watch, I find myself rooting for certain players and wondering, what if they played in real life? During a long night at a local watering hole, I decided to compile a list of the greatest players at each position in baseball movie history. I had to make rules so I would not allow real life players portrayed in baseball movies to be included in this roster. This makes sense because if we included them then Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris (*61), Ty Cobb (Cobb) and Jackie Robinson (42) would be penciled in.
Unfortunately, this also meant I couldn’t include some awesome characters who did not have an impact in the game in real life. A prime example is my right-field pick, from known Philly sports talking head, Matt Devine, who was adamant about Moonlight Graham from Field of Dreams being included. I could not allow this, though, because Moonlight Graham actually did play in one game for the New York Giants in 1905.
The baseball movie A League of their Own presented a problem because some characters were real and some were fictional. I decided to include them because I was leading the conversation that night, so I could basically do whatever I wanted. After much back and forth, this is what I came up with. Keep in mind, I did favor my favorite baseball movies (The Sandlot, Major League) and a lot of my answers are skewed more toward my age group, so great baseball movies such as It Happens Every Spring and Damn Yankees were not included. The great part is everybody has their favorites, so feel free to add characters from your favorite baseball movies in the comments below. Here are mine:
C: Crash Davis, Bull Durham
This was the toughest position for me. It came down to Davis vs. Jake Taylor, but I sided with Davis. He is an ace in dealing with young pitchers, and my roster is full of them. He once spent 21 days in the big leagues and has been dying to get back since. He will be the quintessential leader of my team.
MLB comparison: Chris Coste (Phillies 2006-2009)
1B: Jack Elliot, Mr. Baseball
Put aside the fact that his mustache is as legendary as his game. The former World Series MVP had to go to Japan to find love and re-adjust his attitude. He will provide power, and now that he has gotten the love back for the game, he will be a veteran leader who will bring skills learned overseas to my club.
MLB comparison: Don Mattingly
2B: Marla Hooch, A League of their Own
Marla Hooch … what a hitter.
MLB comparison: There is no comparison to Marla.
3B: Roger Dorn, Major League
An overall prima donna who, at first, refuses to even field ground balls in fear he will get bruised. He is good player but he needs to get his butt kicked in gear. Reminds me of another third baseman who has a painting of himself as a centaur above his bed. Wonder if Dorn ever tried to cover up his steroid use.
MLB comparison: Alex Rodriguez (Now that we know what we know.)
SS: Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, The Sandlot
“The Jet” plays very position, so I put him at shortstop because, oddly enough, there is a lack of star power at shortstop in baseball movies. He is a clutch performer who is magical on the basepaths. If the Jet takes a suicide lead, watch out.
MLB comparison: Alex Rodriguez (Before we knew what we now know.)
LF: Bobby Rayburn, The Fan
A cocky superstar. He is one of the best players on the roster. Part one of my 2/3 Wesley Snipes outfield.
MLB comparison: Barry Bonds (Was there any question?)
CF: Willie Mays Hayes, Major League
So much swag!!! This is my leadoff hitter. He bought a pair of gloves for every base he is going to steal. That’s all I needed to hear. He is the perfect kickstart for my lineup.
MLB comparison: Kenny Lofton
RF: Roy Hobbs, The Natural
An older player who comes out of nowhere to dominate the game can definitely have a place on my roster. He has light-shattering power and an arm that could throw as hard as the best pitcher on this team at one point. He is a bit of a stalker when it comes to the ladies, but a lot of pros are. A shady past always seems to haunt him.
MLB comparison: Josh Hamilton
DH: Kelly Leak, The Bad News Bears
This kid is filled with talent, but he may be headed down a bad path. Hopefully, the veterans on the team will help lead him in the right direction. He needs to lose the motorcycle and the rotten attitude, and then he will be a star at the bottom of our lineup. The skills are there, but he needs to get his head right and make a commitment to the sport.
MLB comparison: Delmon Young
P: Steve Nebraska, The Scout
He throws a 110 mph fastball, but he has trouble handling the mental aspect of the game. Being a nervous pitcher is not an ideal situation for a staff ace, but I cannot ignore the fact that he throws gas. He is still raw since he was just discovered in a Mexican jungle, but he could be perfect more then once.
MLB Comparison: Justin Verlander
P: Henry Rowengartner, Rookie of the Year
I want a pitcher not a belly itcher! A freak accident caused Henry to throw smoke. He will bring fun to the clubhouse even though his talent is a result of an accident and not hard work like most of the rest of the team. Either way, his arm is what it is now, and I am taking him on my team.
MLB comparison: Tommy John
P: Billy Chapel, For Love of the Game
The old man will give you everything he has out on the mound. He may not throw as hard as in the past, but he is true pitcher, which has become a lost art. His approach on the mound is what the game is all about.
MLB comparison: Jamie Moyer
P: Nuke Laloosh, Bull Durham
He is a big-time prospect who will benefit from Davis being my catcher. He is a little out there, and he sometimes enjoys wearing ladies underwear, but I guess everybody has things they are into. Laloosh could go down as one of the greats, so he can do whatever he wants in my book.
MLB comparison: Stephen Strasburg
P: Mel Clark, Angels in the Outfield
Another veteran for my staff. As a fifth starter, you cannot go wrong having Mel out there. He’s another pitcher who leaves everything out on the field. Sadly, Mel only will live another six months due to his smoking habbit, but for now, he takes the last starting spot on my squad.
MLB comparison: David Wells
MR: Kenny Denunez, The Sandlot
Another sandlot player. He goes on to play some minor-league ball, but his youth and fastball will allow him to eat innings for me, if needed. He is reliable, and besides Benny Rodriguez, he is the best player on the sandlot team.
MLB comparison: Latroy Hawkins
MR: Ryan Dunne, Summer Catch
He is a hardworking young man who spends the summer playing baseball and chasing Jessica Biel. That sounds like fun in the sun to me. He makes it to the pros and plays for my favorite team, the Philadelphia Phillies, but he gives up a home run to my favorite player all time, Ken Griffey Jr. in his first batter faced.
MLB comparison: Chad Durbin (Phillies middle reliever who gives up home runs.)
MR: Jim Bowers, Little Big League
The guy is a complete head case, and I need some craziness in my bullpen. He does not fear anything.
MLB comparison: Roger McDowell
Setup: Kenny Powers, Eastbound and Down
He is the only player from a television series and not a movie. I needed to have La Flama Blanca in my bullpen. He is huge mess of a person who is all about himself, but he can still get the job done for me.
MLB comparison: John Rocker
Closer: Rick Vaughn, Major League
Wild Thing is another pitcher who has a few screws loose, but I have faith he can get the job done. As long as he focuses and strikes the MFers out, we will be fine.
MLB comparison: Mitch Williams
1B coach: Jake Taylor, Major League
He could not be my catcher, but I wanted his leadership on the team. He is a future manager, and between him and Crash Davis, we are extremely knowledgable.
MLB comparison: Jason Kendall
3B coach: Ed the Chimp, Ed
Just because I wanted a monkey on my team, and I think that it would be cool to watch him sending The Jet or Mays Hayes home.
MLB comparison: N/A
Bench Coach: George Knox, Angels in the Outfield
He sees all of the Angels and uses it to motivate his players, especially Mel Clark. Faith can be a huge attribute in winning. He knows how to read his players.
MLB comparison: Dusty Baker
Pitching coach: Chet Stedman, Rookie of the Year
The Rocket does not have enough left in the tank to be on my staff, but he could be one hell of a pitching coach. He will take Henry under his arm and teach him how to be a pro. Plus he has another killer mustache.
MLB Comparison: Roger Clemens
Hitting coach: Jimmy Dugan, A League of Their Own
He won’t allow any crying on my team. He is a former hitting champ who could probably out-hit the entire team. The best character in his movie needs to have a spot on my bench helping my manager make game-day decisions.
MLB comparison: John Kruk
Manager: Lou Brown, Major League
Lou is a fun-loving guy who knows the game of baseball better than anyone. He can take a team full of low-paid nobodies and make a playoff run with them. He can manage whatever team he is handed.
MLB comparison: Ron Gardenhire
Umpire: Enrico Palazzo, The Naked Gun
Hey, it’s Enrico Palazzo! He saved the Queen! Enrico Palazzo! Enrico Palazzo!
RIP Leslie Nielsen.
Baseball movies. You gotta love ’em. So, let me know in the comments below what your favorite baseball movie lineup would be.