C – Crash Davis (Bull Durham): Davis got a cup of coffee early in his career, which he labeled as the “greatest 21 days of my life.” He spends the rest of his career trying to make it back. Shockingly, that the 37-year-old switch-hitter who holds the fictitious record for most minor-league home runs, would be exiled to a lifetime of minor-league servitude is a stretch. He is a baseball man and obviously a future manager. He would also be a perfect catcher as he gets to mentor the young two pitchers at the front end of the rotation and after his career in the minors, would be happy just to be there. His switch-hitting bat would give him the edge to start here.
First Basemen – We could not decide on a starter here, so we’ll go with a two-man timeshare.
Lou Collins (Little Big League): Easily the most underrated fictional baseball player of all time. Does not have great power, but the career Twin is an RBI machine. A good glove. Clutch.
Jack Elliot (Mr. Baseball): A World Series MVP in the fairly recent past; he’s like a second-tier star who never got into the game’s elite circle but was a good guy to have in the lineup.
Either could also be slotted into the DH spot.
2B – Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez (The Sandlot): He’s good enough to play in the majors into his late-30s, so you know he is legit. All the kids understood he was on a big-league trajectory and let him play a different position every day so that he’ll have a better understanding of the game, and that makes him the most versatile player on our roster. He seems like a perfect fit at short, but we’re going to start him here and allow him to backup at short and third – and anywhere else. Great clubhouse guy.
3B – Ray Mitchell (Angels in the Outfield): Before Roger prayed for the Anaheim Angels to win the pennant, Ray Mitchell was the only good player and a multi-time All-Star for the lowly Angels with a big time bat and Gold Glove caliber defense. Like the rest of the team, he did not need God’s intervention to produce, and continued his high-powered offensive performance when things turned heavenly.
SS – Joe Hardy (The Damn Yankees): Easily the most unknown player on the team, but he is a hitting machine. Very well may have been the greatest player of all time. The impression given is that he’s doing what Babe Ruth did at his best but only in about half a season. At one point, he was hitting .524. A Mickey Mantle-clone who splits his time playing center field. He sold his soul to the devil to help his favorite team (the Washington Senators) beat out the Yankees for the 1958 pennant. Who doesn’t want a guy who is willing to do what it takes to get the job done, on their team?
LF – Bobby Rayburn (The Fan): A center fielder by trait, Rayburn would have to shift over to left, yielding to Hayes’ better defense in center field. Hopefully Hayes doesn’t end up dead for taking his position, like Juan Primo (who was a stud in his own right, but too DEAD to make the team) for having Rayburn’s number in The Fan.
He is a three-time MVP entering the first year of a $40 million contract. A great player in his prime, he’s hampered by a poor start and is hitting only .183 on Memorial Day. He comes around after Primo’s death when he gets his number back and is very comparable to mid-90’s Barry Bonds of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
CF – Willie Mays Hayes (Major League): Showed up to Indians spring training in 1989 without an invitation and managed to earn a roster spot based solely on his blazing speed. Amazingly, despite hitting like shit (manager Lou Brown even says so), he makes the Opening Day roster. He vows to steal 100 bases, and appears to get close and has the batting gloves on the wall in his shitty apartment to prove it. He was a work in progress at the plate, but turned into a decent hitter once he learned how to keep the ball on the ground, hitting .291 by the last game of the season. Hit a bump in the road when he turned into a power hitter…at least for Spring Training. Once he learned how to get back to being Willie Mays Hayes, all was good. Also, a Gold Glove fielder, who runs down everything in the outfield. Bonus points for the 00 jersey number and the greatest American Express Commercial ever made, “The American Express Card – don’t steal home without it,” and his boundless enthusiasm for the game.
RF – Esquire Joe Callaway (Bingo Long’s Traveling All Star’s): Callaway is little known to baseball movie watchers. He has natural, amazing talent. He was so good, in fact, that he broke the MLB color barrier seven years before Jackie Robinson and that, for us, is good enough to earn a spot in our starting lineup. He was also one of the best players on the team.
DH – Roy Hobbs (The Natural): A great story of a gifted pitcher who gets shot, lays low, for 16 years and comes back as a gifted outfielder with a tremendous swing and as a 34-year old, can straight knock the cover off the ball – literally. A mythical, supernatural player. Ideal 3-hitter. A natural right fielder, he would be perfect in our lineup as a DH as he is up there in age, for this roster. A combination of Ted Williams and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Yes, please. Makes the team forget all about the death of their previous best player, Bump Bailey.
OF – Pedro Cerrano (Major League): A Cuban defector who came to America seeking religious freedom (Voodoo), not to play baseball – which he could do very well. A power hitting right fielder who could hit fastballs very hard and far, but his struggles with the curveball are well documented. Through Jobu, he was able to get over his curveball blues and come through when he needed to. But, his biggest hit of all came when he said, “F*&^ you, Jobu.” Eventually, though, nothing could help him hit a curveball, as the Indians gave up on him and he was back in the minors for the Twins in Major League: Back to the Minors. But, in his prime, Cerrano could straight mash. Could play left field, if needed too. But, don’t drink Jobu’s rum!
LF/3B – Kelly Leak (The Bad News Bears): Easily the best player on the field in every game he ever played as a youngster and the talent will translate. He’s too cool to care, hates The Man and he’s got so much talent he doesn’t have to prove it to anybody. He smokes on the field and has a bit of a drinking problem, but it doesn’t seem to affect his play. Plus, riding his dirt bike onto the field would be great for fans.
C – Jake Taylor (Major League): A fairly decent catcher at one time and was even an All-Star at Boston before bad knees exiled him to the Mexican League, prior to his second chance as the everyday catcher for a playoff team. Taylor would be perfectly fine with catching just a couple times a week, and like Davis, would be a great handler of the staff. Would likely be Rick Vaughn’s personal catcher. And, as we know, he’s a future manager.
2B – Mickey “Domo” Dominguez (Summer Catch): It’s an honor just to be asked to play in the Cape Cod Summer League. We must, therefore, assume that Dominguez is one of the best second basemen in all of college baseball. On film, he makes a great catch to preserve a no-hitter and follows that with a lead-off single and scores what proves to be the winning run. We also must assume that he could probably play shortstop, if needed.
SP – Steve Nebraska (The Scout): As a rookie, he throws an 81-pitch perfect game in Game 1 of the World Series, super-humanly throwing 112 mph on the final pitch. He also routinely hit 500-foot bombs, including a 420-footer in his MLB debut. He was a freak of nature on the mound, but he also was a whacko nut-job with some Zack Greinke anxiety issues, so the future could be cloudy for him. He is so talented he’s always going be given a chance.
SP – Billy Chappell (For Love of the Game): He has a career perfect game under his belt, against the Bronx Bombers to boot. According to Vin Scully, he is a sure-thing Hall of Famer. We don’t know how many wins he has, but, in a flashback to the 14th year of his career, he reveals he has 134 losses. Figure a .600 winning percentage and that’s 200 wins. By the present day of the movie – five years later – he’s probably up around 275 or so. Before his potential career ending hand injury, Chappel was the best pitcher in baseball. Had a 24-5 season, earning Cy Young and MVP honors. A six-time All-Star.
SP – Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Bull Durham): Already in AA by 19, the top prospect is on a fast track to the majors. He was DUMB and immature, but he throw ball very well. After Crash Davis’ working with him down in Durham, he’ll be ready to be a perennial All-Star and a 20-game winner in the show. He’ll have Davis as his valet catcher.
SP – Bingo Long (Bingo Long’s Traveling All Star’s): The Satchel Paige of fictional baseball world, Long was a charismatic star pitcher who left the Negro Leagues for a barnstorming tour where he proves that is one of the best in the game.
SP – Professor Vernon Simpson/King Kelly (It Happens Every Spring): The greatest pitching season in baseball history: 38-0 in the regular season and 3-0 in the World Series. Granted, he is on the juice, but if you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.
Closer – Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn (Major League): Triple-digit speed on the radar gun gives someone closer stuff. His dominator is unhittable, his masturbator/out-of-stater can’t get anyone out. But, he developed a curveball as a second-pitch that took him from the California Penal League to feared, bad-assed closer with an attitude – the second Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn part to being a closer. Check. Charlie Sheen admitted to taking steroids to the play the role of Vaughn, but did the fictional character do the same? I wouldn’t rule it out.
Set-up – Henry Rowengartner (Rookie of the Year) – A national headline when he goes straight from little league to big leagues and the Medical Freak of Nature becomes an instant success as the closer of a team headed to the World Series. But, the 12-year-old was a one-hit wonder who was back in little league after winning Rookie of the Year honors. But, for our sake, his one special year warrants a spot on our roster.
RP – Sam “Mayday” Malone (Cheers): Sam was one of the best relievers in baseball until his alcoholism took a toll on his career. Sports Illustrated ran an article on Sam Malone, complete with pictures from his playing career and a MacMillan Encyclopedia entry. His totals were 16-30 in 207 G (1 GS) with a 4.01 ERA in 312 2/3 IP with 109 BB and 140 SO. We’ll go with that.
RP- Chet “the Rocket” Steadmen (Rookie of the Year): The former hard-throwing ace does not want to be called the Rocket anymore because he is nearing the end of his career. But, he was called the Rocket for a reason and he will go down as one of the best starters in Cubs history. Now he doubles as a late-inning reliever and as a mentor/personal pitching coach for Rowengarner, where he teaches the kid more than he could ever possibly know. After throwing his arm out, he’ll be a pitching coach, possibly a manager.
RP – Eddie Harris (Major League): The prototypical “junk” pitcher. He has six pitchers – snotball, spitball, vaselineball, curve, fastball and change (same speed as his fastball, so I guess it’s five?). His only real nemesis? Voodoo (and Jobu’s rum). On our roster, he would be perfect as the “long guy.”
RP – Kenny Powers (Eastbound and Down): 50-game suspension for, of course, for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
SS Tanner Boyle (The Bad News Bears): Fighting. This dude seemed racist, but in reality, he hated everyone, and would fight on a whim. This is his downfall, and he is one event away from a lifetime ban.
Honorable Mention – Catchers: Leon Carter (Bingo Long’s Traveling All Star’s), Spike Nolan (Brewster’s Millions), Engelberg (The Bad News Bears), Bruce Pearson (Bang the Drum Slowly), Billy Brubaker (Summer Catch), Monk Lonnigan (It Happens Every Spring), Gus Sinski (For the Love of the Game), Hamilton “Ham” Porter (The Sandlot), Jack Parkman (Major League 2); First Basemen: Jimmy Duggan (A League of Their Own), Nat Goldberg (Take Me Out to the Ballgame), Stan Ross (Mr. 3000); Second Basemen: Mickey Scales (Little Big League), Dennis Ryan (Take me Out to the Ballgame); Third Baseman: Roger Dorn (Major League), Ed Mills (A Little Inside); Shortstop: Eddie O’Brien (Take Me Out to the Ballgame), Kofi Evans (Hardball); Outfield: T-Rex Pennebaker (Mr. 3000), Billy “Downtown” Anderson (Major League 3: Back to the Minors), Isuro “Kamikazee” Tanaka (Major League 2), Charlie Snow, a.k.a Carlos Nevada, a.k.a Chief Takahoma (Bingo Long’s Traveling All Star’s), Bump Bailey (The Natural)
Pitchers: Rigo Sanchez (Trouble with the Curve), Montgomery Brewster (Brewster’s Millions), Whitt Bass (Angels in the Outfield), Eric Van Leemer (Summer Catch), Sammy Bodeen (Talent For the Game), John “Blackout” Gatling (Little Big League), Jim Bowers (Little Big League), Mel Clark (Angels in the Outfield).
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