This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest movies ever, Bull Durham.
This movie goes beyond baseball and simply makes for an entertaining story. I’m sure I don’t have to give the background on Crash Davis, Annie Savoy, or Nuke LaLoosh, but reading about the time since its first release gave me an idea.
One of the continued topics at the Roundtable is the greatest baseball movie lineup. I’m going to bring in what we think it is. There are several criteria.
First, nothing can be based on a true story or star professionals. That rules out Cobb, Mickey, The Rookie, Field of Dreams, and Fever Pitch.
Second, you can’t use players from little-league teams unless they actually put on a professional uniform, ruling out Hardball, The Bad News Bears, and The Sandlot (except Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez).
Third, no animals. This was basically to rule out someone using Air Bud or the monkey from Ed.
Finally, college players count. So go ahead and open up Summer Catch.
Here’s what we have. I’m anxious to hear from others, and see what they would go with here, so post comments, please.
C: Crash Davis (Bull Durham)—You can debate here between Jake Taylor and Davis for hours (and we have). I give Davis the final nod because of his impact on the pitching staff and his infinite wisdom off the field. He may never have made it to "The Show" permanently, but he knows how to handle young pitching and provides some power towards the bottom of my lineup.
Taylor, though solid, is aging and has bad knees. He’s consistent, but I’d rather have him on my coaching staff than trying to throw out runners. Backup: Rube Baker (Major League II)
1B: Jack Elliot (Mr. Baseball)—First base is a power position, and Elliot personifies power. He adapts to Japan’s game and is able to become a more complete hitter as well. His backup might be younger, but I think he hits as a Mike Sweeney with more power. Backup: Lou Collins (Little Big League)
2B: Suarez (Rookie of the Year)—Sure, it’s basically because he’s the only guy that plays second base in any movie that we can find with a credited part (because Major League III never happened, got it?). But Suarez provides speed at the bottom of the order and gives a solid, double leadoff-type lineup.
SS: Pat Corning (Little Big League)—He may have played third in the movie, but I have faith, since Kevin Elster plays him, that he can make the move to short. Corning is a solid seventh-hitter or No. 2 guy that will help set the table. He came through in the playoff against the Mariners when the season was on the line, so we’ll trust him here.
3B: Roger Dorn (Major League)—Dorn hit .280 with reasonable pop for Cleveland, and he only retired because he figured he could run the team. Dorn is still hoping to score in free agency, which leads me to believe he has one more decent contract in him.
OF: Roy Hobbs (The Natural)—You can’t have a list without one of the greatest (movie) hitters of all-time being on it. Hobbs is my left fielder, without a doubt.
OF: Willie “Mays” Hayes (Major League)—Got to have speed at the top of the lineup, and Hayes brings that. He’ll steal bases and provide a little pop. Definitely a movie version of Rickey Henderson.
OF: Max “Hammer” Dubois (Mr. Baseball)—Doesn’t get the same hype that Jack Elliot does over in Japan, but Dubois can flat-out hit. He’s a great corner outfielder that shows he has an arm as well. He’s my Vlad Guerrero. Fourth Outfielder: Bobby Rayburn (The Fan)
DH: Pedro Cerrano (Major League)—Dennis Haysbert’s second mention on this list. He’s better known for his role as Cerrano, but I never trusted Cerrano’s glove. Still makes him a great addition in the clean-up spot to any lineup and gives me 40 home-run potential. Backup: Jack Parkman (Major League II)
P: Henry Rowengartner (Rookie of the Year)—Just to mess with people. Even if you know that fastball is coming, doesn’t mean you can hit it. And he provides a solid youth movement.
P: Mike McGreevey (Little Big League)—McGreevey is the best in the rotation that Minnesota had to offer. He’s not quite an aging veteran, but not a young guy. Solid pitcher in the prime of his career.
P: Steve Nebraska (The Scout)—In his only major-league performance, Nebraska strikes out 27 batters in Game One of the World Series. He’s impervious to pressure, so he needs a spot in my rotation. Not to mention the 109 mph fastball.
P: Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Bull Durham)—Hard throwing pitcher who rose through the minors quickly. Might have a 10-cent head, but I’ll take his million-dollar arm.
P: Ed Harris (Major League)—There’s only room for one crafty veteran on this roster, so Harris gets the nod over Chet Steadman (Rookie of the Year). Harris still knows how to get guys out and isn’t afraid to cheat. Steadman hurt his shoulder and his career is likely over.
RP: Jim Bowers (Little Big League)—Little known character that provides stability in the bullpen and can be a set-up man and bridge to the closer. Bowers throws hard, and will be our Kevin Millar in the clubhouse.
RP: Ryan Dunne (Summer Catch)—I know, he throws like a girl. He dominates the Cape League, though, and there’s something to be said for throwing that well against the best college talent in the country.
CL: Rick Vaughn (Major League)—Another one that goes without saying. As long as he keeps the glasses, he throws harder than anyone on this list except Nebraska.
Manager: Lou Brown (Major League)
Coach: Uchiyama (Mr. Baseball)
Coach: Pop Fisher (The Natural)