The 25 Greatest Fictional Baseball Players of All Time
Is there anything better than watching Ray Kinsella build his ballpark in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa just to see baseball players no one else can see? Or watching Roy Hobbs light up a ballpark with a laser shot into the light pole? Or Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn reinvigorating an entire city with his walk out of the bullpen to The Troggs’ most famous song?
Call me sentimental, but all three of these moments in fiction are great memories of days gone by. However, there have been quite a few fictional baseball players who have graced the silver screen and given many of us fans a thrill.
Here is a list of the 25 greatest fictional baseball players of all time.
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25. Jack Parkman: Major League II
Jack Parkman (David Keith) was truly a legend in his own mind. He considered himself to be the best player on the team, and had no issue letting everyone else know. He was also a chain smoker and could frequently be seen in the dugout with a cloud of smoke above his head.
Too bad for Parkman, he was eventually traded to the White Sox. However, he did end up facing his old teammates in the ALCS.
24. Stan Ross: Mr. 3000
Turns out that Mr. 3000 really wasn’t Mr. 3000 after all.
Stan Ross (Bernie Mac) really ticked off his teammates when he retired after collecting his 3,000th hit in the middle of a playoff race.
However, he actually retired with 2,997 hits because of a record-keeping error, so nine years after the fact, Stan comes back to the consternation of his manager (Paul Sorvino) and ends up acting as a mentor for the younger players.
Mr. 2999 was actually an OK guy…
23. Hamilton “Ham” Porter: The Sandlot
How could you not love young Hamilton “Ham” Porter (Patrick Renna) in The Sandlot?
He was literally the prototypical chubby kid who always ends up being the catcher.
Every team needs to have a chubby catcher.
22. Eddie Harris: Major League
In Major League, Eddie Harris was the Gaylord Perry of fictional pitchers. He couldn’t get any hitters out unless he had extra “stuff” on his pitch.
His conversations with voodoo practitioner Pedro Cerrano were legendary.
Pedro Cerrano: "Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball."
Eddie Harris: "You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?"
21. Jack Elliott: Mr. Baseball
Jack Elliot (Tom Selleck) couldn’t cut it anymore in the majors and found himself in Japan, where he was forced to learn the nuances and idiosyncrasies of Japanese baseball and its culture.
It was kind of weird watching Selleck playing baseball without his buddy Rick from Magnum P.I. not being around. It was kind of ironic seeing Elliot at the end of the movie become a coach with the Detroit Tigers, seeing as Magnum always wore a Tigers cap.
20. Chet “Rocket” Steadman: Rookie of the Year
Yeah, it was a corny movie about the lovable Chicago Cubs finally winning the big one. Well, a division title, that is. And they needed the help of a very young rookie.
Steadman tells the kid stuff that he could never possibly understand. The kid throws as fast as Aroldis Chapman. The kid almost gets screwed by his agent. Pretty typical baseball stuff, if you ask me. I wonder if Scott Boras was consulted during the filming of this movie.
Anyway, Gary Busey actually pulls off a decent character. Must have been before he started doing mushrooms, or whatever else he’s been doing over the past decade or so.
19. T-Rex Pennebaker: Mr. 3000
T-Rex Pennebaker (Brian J. White) is pretty much the new version of Stan Ross in Mr. 3000.
Pennebaker was one to make sure he was always in the spotlight and on Sportscenter as much he possibly could be.
Almost sounds more like a modern day Reggie Jackson.
18. Billy “Downtown” Anderson: Major League: Back to the Minors
This was one movie that never should have been thought of, never mind filmed. Dennis Haysbert (Pedro Cerrano), Corbin Bernsen (Roger Dorn) and Bob Eucker (Harry Doyle) all returned for the final installment. Do we actually call it a trilogy?
Haysbert should have left to do his Allstate commercials before filming this, and Bernsen was basically looking for anything to lengthen his pathetic career.
But Billy “Downtown” Anderson was a likeable character, and the kid could hit some bombs.
17. Billy Chapel: For Love of the Game
When I first saw the trailers for this particular movie, I thought it was art imitating life. The Detroit Tigers were playing spoilers on the second to last day of the season—yeah, like that’s never happened before—and an aging pitcher was on the mound trying to resurrect a broken down career after 19 years.
Kevin Costner plays Billy Chapel, who is too wrapped up in his thoughts about his girlfriend, played by Kelly Preston, to even realize he’s pitching a perfect game.
The movie bombed at the box office but, hey, I’ll watch any movie with Kelly Preston in it.
16. Mel Clark: Angels in the Outfield
Angels in the Outfield starred half the cast of Taxi. Well, maybe not half, but Christopher Lloyd and Tony Danza were both in it. Danza plays Mel Clark, a washed up pitcher who keeps getting the help of real angels to save the Angels baseball team.
Too bad Andy Kaufman wasn’t still around—then the movie would have been REALLY funny.
15. Bobby Rayburn: The Fan
Seriously, does anyone play a deranged maniacal killer better than Robert DeNiro?
Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes) finds out just how fanatical Gil (DeNiro) can be. For skills, I’ll take Rayburn as my fictional All-Star center fielder.
14. Moonlight Graham: Field of Dreams
Moonlight Graham actually is NOT fictional. He really did play in one game without getting an at-bat.
Burt Lancaster played the elder Moonlight Graham to absolute perfection. Still my all-time favorite movie—my all-time favorite fictional baseball character will be revealed later—Field of Dreams was magical.
13. Mickey Dominguez: Summer Catch
OK, it wasn’t so much that I was totally awed by the skills of Mickey Dominguez (Wilmer Valderrama) on the baseball fields of Cape Cod.
It's the fact that he totally scored with Beverly D’Angelo, aka the Mrs. Robinson of Chatham, Massachusetts. That dude gets points by scoring off the baseball field in my book.
12. Roger Dorn: Major League
Roger Dorn was the ballplayer everyone loved to hate—kind of like Corbin Bernsen was the kind of actor everyone loved to hate. Bernsen was born to play this role.
Dorn eventually gets his comeuppance when Rick Vaughn sleeps with his wife, but still picks him up after he punches Vaughn in the face and hugs him in celebration when the Indians win the pennant.
What a guy.
11. Willie Mays Hayes: Major League
Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes) stole bases just as well as Snipes stole from the government—well, taxes that is.
One of the best commercials American Express ever made was with Willie Mays Hayes. “The American Express Card—don’t steal home without it.”
10. Ryan Dunne: Summer Catch
I have Ryan Dunne (Freddie Prinze Jr.) in here pretty much for the same reason I have Mickey Dominguez in the list.
The dude landed Jessica Biel! Forget how good of a ballplayer he was, he got Jessica freakin’ Biel!
9. Bingo Long: The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings
Bingo Long (Billy Dee Williams) brings barnstorming to a new level in this movie. James Earl Jones also starred, as did Richard Pryor.
It was a lighthearted look at baseball through the eyes of black players who just wanted to have fun and not worry about the horrid playing conditions or the way they were treated by team owners. Billy Dee Williams was brilliant as Bingo Long, and Richard Pryor trying to portray an Indian chief was classic.
8. Nuke Laloosh: Bull Durham
Ebby “Nuke” Laloosh (Tim Robbins) may have been one of the dumbest baseball characters I have ever seen on the silver screen—but hey, Susan Sarandon liked him.
But the man could pitch, and on my fantasy fictional baseball character All-Star team, Nuke would definitely get a spot in my starting rotation.
7. Pedro Cerrano: Major League
All poor Pedro wanted to do was hit home runs, and those damn pitchers kept throwing him curveballs. Life just wasn’t fair for Pedro.
But through his friends on the Indians, and a little help from voodoo, Pedro came through when he had to.
He would be my designated hitter on my fantasy fictional baseball character team.
6. Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez: The Sandlot
Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez gets extra kudos because he stood up for a scrawny little kid on a sandlot baseball field outside Los Angeles. Bullying was not going to be tolerated by Benny. Big points to Benny.
Plus, he got to play for the Dodgers, presumably before Frank McCourt used the team like an ATM card.
5. Jake Taylor: Major League
Doesn’t it seem like Tom Berenger always played the guy who tried to make everything right? He certainly played that role in Major League as Jake Taylor, the catcher with bad knees who was charged with turning Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn into a pitcher with control.
Plus, he ended up with Rene Russo in the end. That deserves a top five in my book.
4. Steve Nebraska: The Scout
Steve Nebraksa (Brendan Fraser) is an absolute freak of nature in terms of baseball, who also happens to be a fruitcake nut-job. OK, that’s a little harsh, but really not too far from the truth.
The only real problem I have with this movie is that after Nebraska throws 81 straight strikes and retires all 27 batters for a perfect game in Game 1 of the World Series, we never find out if the Yankees actually won the World Series.
3. Crash Davis: Bull Durham
This is probably my favorite of the 37 baseball movies that Kevin Costner starred in. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit, but it was still my favorite.
Crash spent his entire career trying to get back to the major leagues, which he described as "the 21 greatest days of my life," and quite frankly, it would probably be the same for me as well.
And, he ended up with Susan Sarandon in the end. That’s a Hall of Fame career in my book.
2. Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn: Major League
When Charlie Sheen auditioned for the role of Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, he had a pretty good idea he would land the role. After all, he had already starred in another movie with one of the stars of Major League, Tom Berenger (Platoon), and he already knew how to drink and party like a rock star/major leaguer.
Kind of funny that Sheen is now doing his Torpedo of Truth tour, because Vaughn threw torpedoes to help lead the Indians to the pennant.
1. Roy Hobbs: The Natural
There are very few sports-related movies that drew the type of national acclaim that The Natural did. Roy Hobbs, a gifted pitcher originally back in 1923, gets shot, lays low for 16 years and comes back as a gifted outfielder with a tremendous swing.
I still cringe whenever I see the home run that fuels a light show. And, Roy gets Glenn Close in the end. Not a bad day’s work.
Close won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Iris. I’m not sure if any other baseball-related movie ever received as high of an award as that. Field of Dreams was nominated for Best Picture, however.