Top 10 Baseball Players in Movie History

by Eric Melin on April 6, 2010

in Top 10s

Scene-Stealers reader Ryan Klima (who previously wrote the Top 10 Most Iconic Movie Posters list) has a well-timed Top 10 for today…here’s Ryan:

Baseball season started yesterday, which means that many people will be going to the movies while waiting for football to start again. To celebrate, I’ve decided to compose a super-team composed of the greatest baseball players in movie history. These players won’t be ranked in order, instead they’ll be announced in the order they will hit, along with position. One last thing, my hypothetical baseball league will not have the designated hitter rule, and must undergo a mandatory random drug test three times a year. And now to announce the starting lineup, legendary baseball announcer Vin Scully! Take it away, Vin!

willy mays hayes snipes major league1. Batting first and playing center field—from the movie “Major League—Willie “Mays” Hayes.

He’s the ultimate lead-off hitter. The strike-out rate is a bit of a problem, but if he gets on base, look out.

Willie (played by Wesley Snipes) has blinding speed and can steal a clutch base when needed. I guarantee Willie will be nailing at least a hundred gloves to his wall this season.

(Unnecessary Fact: When I first saw 1989′s “Major League,” I also got into the habit of nailing gloves to the wall. Mom did not like “Major League.”)

benny the jet sandlot2. Batting second, and playing shortstop—from “The Sandlot”—Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez.

Despite his age, Benny (played by Mike Vitar in this 1993 movie) is the best all-around guy on the team. He can play any position, he’s the fastest kid in the neighborhood, and he’s got a sweet nickname.

Other advantages: Based on his last name, he might be related to Alex Rodriguez and he isn’t afraid of ghosts—that will help him when we play at Yankee Stadium.

the fan rayburn snipes 19963. Batting third and playing left field—from the movie “The Fan” (yes, that was a movie)—Bobby Rayburn.

I was thinking about putting Kelly Leak, the baddest of the Bad News Bears in this spot, but I still like this choice. Bobby, from 1996′s “The Fan” was good enough to inspire a fan (Robert De Niro) to murder the guy who was outshining him during a slump.That works. Also, we now have two Wesley Snipes characters on the team.

The amount of comedy here is indescribable. Imagine you’re a pitcher: You struck out Willie two batters ago, then Rayburn comes up. You’d be like, “Didn’t I just strike this guy out?”

redford the natural hobbs 19844. Batting cleanup and playing right field—from The Natural”—Roy Hobbs!

This guy (Robert Redford, in the 1984 movie) is a natural and arguably the best player on the team. He excels in the batter’s box and can literally hit the ball from wherever he wants. ESPN’S Bill Simmons once guesstimated Hobbs’ stats on his one season with the New York Knights:

G  AB  R  H  BB  K  HR  RBI  AVG   OBP   SLG
115 400 92 140 75 85 44 106 .350 .447 .750

Looking at these incredible stats, Simmons says, “Here’s the scary thing: Barry Bonds’ numbers from this season were much more impressive. I mean, much more impressive.” Ha!

selleck baseball mr. elliot 5. Batting fifth and playing first base—it’s “Mr. Baseball”—Jack Elliot.

How can you have a Top 10 List without Tom Selleck from this 1992 movie? Seriously. Jack Elliot is a former World Series MVP. He also proved he can handle adversity after being forced to play in Japan. He’s pretty old, really pretty old, but proved in the movie that there’s still gas left in the tank to be a middle-of-the-lineup hitter.

And according to the movie poster, “He’s the biggest thing to hit Japan since Godzilla.” No arguments, but he wasn’t as tall in the movie as he was on the poster.

costner robbins bull durham 19886. Batting sixth and playing catcher—from the movie “Bull Durham”—Crash Davis.

It’s really a mystery how someone of his caliber is stuck in the minors, but this switch-hitter (played by Kevin Costner in the 1988 movie) has a lot of pop in his bat and leadership skills to boot. He’s the record-holder for career home runs in the minor leagues. He knows how to develop young pitchers, and calls a perfect game.

Also, if I make Billy Chapel from “For Love of the Game” my starting pitcher, I can inadvertendly tear a hole in the universe with Kevin Costner pitching to Kevin Costner while two Wesley Snipes’ look on. (Note: I’ve never had to pluralize “Snipes” before.)

haley bad news bears 1976 kelly leak7. Batting seventh and playing third base—from “The Bad News Bears”—Kelly Leak.

I know he never played third, but what the hell, it’s my hypothetical baseball team and I’ll do what I want! This kid (played by Jackie Earle Haley in the 1976 movie) is good and he knows it. He is a gamer in the clutch and a legendarily dirty player known to trip people during games.

Don’t hate the player; hate the game, that’s just “Kelly being Kelly.” Hopefully we can convince him not to smoke during games.

tab hunter damn yankees 19588. Batting eighth and playing second base—from “Damn Yankees!”—Joe Hardy.

I noticed that there aren’t too many adequate second basemen portrayed in the movies. The “best” I found was that brat Tanner Boyle on the Bad News Bears. No matter, I got Joe Hardy (played by Tab Hunter in this 1958 movie). Originally born Joe Boyd, a middle-aged fan of the Washington Senators, he sells his soul to the devil to become a super baseball player and beat those damn Yankees. He was hitting .524 midway through the season and can play any position. The only problem is that whole “soul-selling” business. No problem, today’s baseball players seem to have no trouble selling their souls to play with the Yankees. Also, look for a remake of “Damn Yankees!” coming soon starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jim Carrey. Yikes.

the scout fraser brooks 19949. And batting ninth, your starting pitcher—from “The Scout”—Steve Nebraska.

If he can put his childhood issues aside, look your doors. Steve (played by Brendan Fraser in this 1994 film) hits home runs with ease and can run his fastball up to 112 MPH. Oh yeah, he also threw an 81-pitch, 27-strikeout perfect game in the World Series. I’m not making this up.

Go ahead, rent “The Scout.” Richard Schickel of Time magazine called it “the best baseball comedy ever made.” I’d put it behind “Major League” and “Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch.”

hanks league of their own dugin10. Your Manager—he’s in “A League of His Own”—Jimmy Dugan.

Simply put, this guy (played by Tom Hanks in the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own”) can flat out manage a team. He’s not afraid to get in a player’s face, but he also has a compassionate side. He’ll take chances—like executing suicide squeezes with his best hitters (work on your bunting, Hobbs).

He’ll also demand respect in the clubhouse. An additional plus, I seriously think he could make Brendan Fraser cry if he screws up.

Well there you have it, there’s a team that will kick some major ass. For all you baseball nerds out there, here’s the entire lineup:

Starting Pitchers
1. Steve Nebraska
2. Billy Chapel – “For Love of the Game”–RIPPPP!!!! The universe just tore.
3. Henry Rowengarter (Thomas Ian Nichols) – “Rookie of the Year” (1993)
4. Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) – “Bull Durham” – “MEAT!!”
5. Amanda Whurlitzer (Tatum O’Neal) “The Bad News Bears” – “You throw like a girl.”

Bullpen
1. Ed Harris (Chelsie Ross) – “Major League” – Not the actor
2. Henry “Author” Wiggen (Michael Moriarty) – “Bang the Drum Slowly” (1973)

Closer
1. Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) – “Major League” – An absolute no-brainer. This was up there with Hobbs as the easiest choice to add to the team. He can rock the radar gun into triple digits, fixed his control problems after Lou Brown made him get glasses, and has a killer instinct. Having the entrance music is, of course, required.

Honorable mention
Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) from “A League of Their Own” (Let’s see Yogi Berra catch a ball while doing the splits) and “All the Way” Mae Mordabito from “A League of Their Own.” I wanted to make room for Madonna on the team, but didn’t have the heart.

Dishonorable Mention
Artie Lange – “Beer League” (2006)

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers and regular critic for KCTV5. He’s a member of the BFCA, VP of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also the current 2013 Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alan Rapp April 6, 2010 at 7:47 am

No Shoeless Joe? Say it ain’t so, say it ain’t so!

Reply

2 Shane April 6, 2010 at 8:13 am

You definitely forgot to include Joboo from Major League as the permanent mascot.

But this is a pretty great list.

Reply

3 Ross McG April 6, 2010 at 10:05 am

Man you guys poo all over everybody else when it comes to these lists. great selection
would find room for John Candy’s catcher from Brewster’s Millions however.
- ‘Hey, I saw your wife on tv the other day.’
- ‘Yeah?’
- ‘Yep. She sure is an ugly bi-’

Reply

4 Ryan Magnuson April 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I agree, too many critics after the fact, but I can’t resist. Hanks is great, but skipper from “Major League” is better. I’d also go Roger Dorn over Tom Selleck. “Field of Dreams” should have at least 1. Overall, great concept, nice work, even if there’s a couple the writer might like to have back. I’m VERY biased when it comes to “Major League”, so I don’t think I would’ve come up with such a well rounded list. Good job.

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5 wayne swab April 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Great list!
Robert Wuhl’s pitching coach in Bull Durham and Roger Dorn playing third might be the only glaring omissions. Cobb in center, move Willie “Mays” Hays over to Left and you got yourself a ball club.
And Beer League was awesome!

Reply

6 Harry April 19, 2010 at 3:14 am

Thanks for the list. Great baseball movies….I found some more Baseball movies from this site http://www.dailytop10.net/top-10-baseball-movies/

They all are awesome!!!

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