Sorry for the delay…
Were you born in the late 80s or early 90s? Did you watch The Sandlot growing up? Do you realize it’s now 20 years old? Yeah. This coming Tuesday, a 20th Anniversary Blu-ray is being released, which is now officially my top must-own Blu-Ray I currently do not own. It’s one of my favorite all-time movies and definitely my favorite sports movie. It got me to think about fictional baseball players, so here’s my list of my Top Five Fictional Baseball Players.
5. Marla Hooch, A League of Their Own
What a hitter! Say what you will about her looks, but Marla can hit the crap out of the ball. The female equivalent to Roy Hobbs, she’s got a sweet swing that can make any ballplayer jealous; she switch hits, too. For some reason, my sister and I latched on to her line “I’m singin’ to Nelson!” which she says while she’s drunk. Not a hilarious line whatsoever, but it always made us laugh out loud.
4. Crash Davis, Bull Durham
I get the feeling that Kevin Costner loves baseball. Besides Field of Dreams, that magnum opus nostalgia-fest about the importance of baseball to the fabric of this country and the glue bonding fathers and sons for centuries, the dime store romance novel and ridiculousness of For the Love of the Game, and that 20 minute scene in Waterworld where he sits around drafting his fantasy baseball team (trust me, it’s there), arguably his best film on the subject, from a baseball purists point of view, is Bull Durham. His Crash Davis is a road-weary vet with more knowledge about how the game is played on and off the field than anyone around him. It’s a great character because as he still tries to cling to his career, it becomes more and more obvious that he’s nearing the end of the line. It’s a pretty heart-felt performance and character and one of Costner’s best roles. I also approve of his opinion on softcore pornography. Nudity is nudity, amiright?
3. Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, The Sandlot
Growing up, I just wanted to be Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez. Who wouldn’t want to be the kid that everyone else looked up to and who would become a local legend? I was more like Smalls, but if Smalls weren’t so clueless about baseball at the beginning. The Sandlot manages to capture the purity of the game unlike any other baseball movie. It makes me wish I could go back to when I was their age and just play baseball for the fun of it. And Benny was no doubt the best. And he pickles the Beast. And he steals home. I’m willing to overlook the porn ‘stache and the weird thumbs up moment he has with Smalls at the end. He pickled the Beast. Case closed.
2. Roy Hobbs, The Natural
A character called “the natural” would have to find his way somewhere on the list. Honestly, I remember the novel more than I do the book, but I remember that they end on starkly different notes. Where the Robert Redford film ends on a high not and the sonofabitch knocks out the damn lights. There’s not really any holes in Hobbs’ game; it’s hard to complain about a guy that is a promising young pitcher, gets shot, and comes back as the best slugger in the game a few years later. But… Glenn Close? Really?
1. Rick “The Wild Thing” Vaughn, Major League
Charlie Sheen probably scoffs at Rick Vaughn’s antics at this point, but back in the 80’s, rising star Sheen had one of his best roles as the near-sighted bad boy of the Cleveland Indians. The movie is a comedic classic of a bunch of outcasts banding together to win the pennant and The Wild Thing is the most iconic character. Armed with a monster fastball and the second best entrance music for a pitcher, Rick Vaughn is the prototype of any boisterous, young gun. Rick’s been there, done that, and banged the third baseman’s wife in the process.