Baseball season is on the brink of being over and it sure feels like it has been a fictional postseason with the likes of the Cleveland Indians and those Cubs from Chicago making it to the World Series.
Seriously, isn’t that the plot of every baseball movie ever? The Cubs or the Indians need a boost from some strange player or mystical being to win their division? They don’t even go so far-fetched in the movies to have them go to the World Series even!
Anyway, all this fictional baseball being played by teams that aren’t supposed to actually stand a chance at winning the championship got me thinking about the best baseball players I’ve ever watched in the movies.
I had considered doing a top 25 or something like that, but then I decided to just make a decent baseball team out of the absolute best players available. Disagree with my picks? That’s fine. Mention it in the comments if you think your player is better than mine.
Right Field — Roy Hobbs (The Natural)
Take away Roy Hobbs’ magic bat and maybe he’s not as awesome as he is when he has it, but that doesn’t change the fact that Hobbs is one heck of a baseball player and one hell of a hitter. When I first watched this movie, I was just a kid who had never played the game. After, I was a kid who couldn’t wait to step up to the plate.
Center Field — Willie Mays Hays (Major League)
If you’ve ever watched this movie (and if you haven’t, stopped reading and go watch it... I’ll wait), then you know exactly why Willie Mays Hays is on this list. He is fast, so much so that he can outrun most plays to first base off a grounder. He steals bases like some guy named Hugh Nicol — Ok! Ok! — like some guy named Rickey Henderson. Oh, and he’s not too shabby snagging fly balls, either.
Left Field — Pedro Cerrano (Major League)
I know I probably could have hunted down a player who wasn’t in the same movie as other players on this list, but it’s my list and Major League is my second-favorite baseball movie of all time behind The Sandlot. So, you get what I’m giving you, and that just happens to be the biggest, baddest voodoo daddy to ever step into the outfield in Pedro Cerrano. Sure, his bats were sad and sick and couldn’t hit curveballs, but once he stopped praying he could hit them and just started hitting them, he was too much for opposing pitchers to handle.
First Base — Jack Elliot (Mr. Baseball)
Japan has an amazing baseball culture with outstanding players, which is why no professional ballplayer should feel bad if they end up playing there. Just ask Jack Elliot, who was a former All-Star baseball player in the U.S. before the game started to get away from him. He heads to Japan where he discovers baseball isn’t a “me-first” game and earns to love it in a way he hadn’t for a long time. Oh, and he’s actually a very good baseball player. Imagine how darn good he was in his prime if he’s still that good in his twilight years.
Second Base — Roger Dorn (Major League)
Yeah, yeah... I know he plays third base in the movie. But I’m making an editorial decision here and I’m moving his self-centered ass over to second base. Besides, he can actually play some great ball when he wants to! Oh, and what other choices do I have at second in the fiction world of baseball? Mickey Dominguez from Summer Catch? That movie is so horrible no one has ever watched all of it. How about Marla Hooch from A League of Their Own? She’s a QUITTER! She left halfway through the season to get married. Not cool, Marla. Not frickin’ cool.
Shortstop — Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez (The Sandlot)
As I said earlier, this is the greatest baseball movie of all time (well, technically I said it way my favorite, but the two just go hand-in-hand like that). And the star of it all? Besides the dog? Besides Ham? That’s right! Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez. He makes history outrunning that dog. No one has ever run that fast. Ever. And that speed (some say it was the P.F. Flyers, but I think it was mostly natural ability) takes him all the way to the majors where he ends up playing for the Dodgers. Way to make all us kids dream, Benny.
Third Base — Ray Mitchell (Angels in the Outfield)
The vast majority of that Angels baseball team needed actual angels to swoop down from heaven and help them win the pennant. Well, Ray Mitchell was the one good player who was actually on the roster in Anaheim when that kid prayed and Christoper Lloyd answered. While the angels were busy helping other Angels, they just let Mitchell do his thing and didn’t get in the way.
Catcher — Crash Davis (Bull Durham)
There are many great fictional catchers to have played the game of baseball, but the absolute best is Crash Davis. Ignore the fact that his glorious days were spent in the minor leagues and focus, instead, on the fact that he made pitchers better, made batters worse and had the best lines from just about any baseball movie ever made. “From what I hear, you couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a f—ing boat!” Oh, how many times has that been repeated on ballparks across the world?
Pitcher — Steve Nebraska (The Scout)
It didn’t take some kind of freak accident or wish on a star to make Steve Nebraska a top-level baseball pitcher. No, it just took a scout who happened to be slumming it in the Mexican league. Nebraska uses his talent to do the rest, making it to the big leagues with a great arm and accuracy to spare.
Pitcher — Ricky Vaughn (Major League)
If you’re about to complain about another player from Major League being on this list, I kindly ask you to shut your pie hole and move along. Why? Because Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn makes everyone’s heart sing. He had awesome hair (you know, for the 90s) and the greatest fastball of all time. Oh, and attitude. You can’t be a great pitcher without attitude, right? I think Vaughn should have thrown out the opening pitch of the 2016 World Series. But, hey, who am I to second guess Major League Baseball decision makers — wait, to heck with that. RICKY VAUGHN SHOULD HAVE THROWN OUT THE FIRST DAMN PITCH.
Pitcher — Billy Chapel (For the Love of the Game)
Sure, this guy looks a ton like our starting catcher, but that’s neither here, nor there. What matters is that this guy can pitch. Sure, in the movie he’s kind of on the retirement trail, but in his prime he was one of the best to ever play the game. His ability to focus despite a lot of personal drama makes him a key member in our amazing All-Fictional team.
Designated Hitter — Stan Ross (Mr. 3000)
Sure, he’s full of himself and doesn’t care about his team (at least in the beginning of the movie), but the guy can hit. Even if you discount the apparent clerical error and have him at just 2,997 hits before he retires, Stan Ross can swing a bat. That total puts him right up there with guys like Al Kaline, Roberto Clemente, Wade Boggs, Barry Bonds, Frank Robinson and Rogers Hornsby. Not too shabby of company and some darn fine hitters.
Manager — Jimmy Dugan (A League of Their Own)
This was probably the hardest fictional character to choose out of the amazing managers who have been introduced to us over the years. I mean, really... what a bunch of outstanding characters. But Jimmy Dugan won out for me because I really like his demeanor, and because he has probably one of the most memorable quotes in baseball movie history. “There’s no crying in baseball!” And you know what? He’s right. So if you don’t like my selection, go cry somewhere else.