By and large, fans agreed with many of our 10 Minor League movie picks that didn’t have the words “Bull” and “Durham” in them. But since there were far too many options for such a small list, there were some that didn’t make our cut that made yours.Before getting into
By and large, fans agreed with many of our 10 Minor League movie picks that didn’t have the words “Bull” and “Durham” in them. But since there were far too many options for such a small list, there were some that didn’t make our cut that made yours.
Before getting into that, “Sugar” was tremendously popular across the social media landscape. The 2008 movie, which was filmed at Class A Quad Cities’ Modern Woodmen Park, starred Algenis Perez Soto as the title character and captured the spirit of life on the farm for a lot of movie buffs.
And “The Rookie” was no slouch in the appreciation department either. The Triple-A Round Rock Express reminded us that one of the scenes in the 2002 Dennis Quaid film based on the real-life story of Rays hurler Jimmy Morris was filmed at Dell Diamond.
HBO’s “Long Gone” (1987) still has a strong fan base. On Facebook, Robb Moots pointed out the Class A Advanced Lakeland Flying Tigers’ Joker Marchant Stadium (and nearby Henley Field) stood in for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in the film. (That’s a Moots point.) But did you know that outside the United States, it was released under the moniker “Stogies?”
Also mentioned a fair amount was “Summer Catch,” the 2001 flick starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jessica Biel that airs a lot on MLB.com. However, that particular flick was about the Cape Cod League, and thusly, didn’t factor into our calculations.
How can you omit the 2009 blockbuster “The Open Road” featuring @jtimberlake as a @cchooks. Cast included @TheJeffBridges @katemara @MarySteenburgen Harry Dean Stanton @LyleLovett & @TedDanson as Hooks manager. https://t.co/ArMSvk5HiB pic.twitter.com/0VSl5adk33
— J J Gottsch (@jjgottsch) April 8, 2020
On to some that would definitely be in our top 20. We shouldn’t leave “The Open Road” high and dry, as J J Gottsch denoted on Twitter. The 2009 release featured Justin Timberlake as a player on the Double-A Corpus Christi squad trying to 1.) work his way out of a slump and 2.) renew ties with his estranged father Jeff Bridges — a Hall of Famer.
“Blue Skies Again” filled a bench role on our lineup card, too. In the 1983 picture, Robyn Barto [in her only film credit on IMDb.com] “interfeminated” baseball at second base with the fictional Denver Devils. Harry Hamlin portrayed the team’s owner and — in her film debut — Mimi Rogers was Paula’s personal manager.
Just missing the cut was 1990’s “Pastime,” which sported a very familiar tale on Minor League circuits. William Russ suited up as a player who had a cup of coffee in the The Show and gets relegated to helping prospects on the farm while Glenn Plummer was the up-and-coming kid Russ gets charged with teaching about life, in general, and the game, specifically. Ken Hastings reminded us on Facebook to look for cameos by Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Bob Feller, Harmon Killebrew, Bill Mazeroski and Duke Snider.
The Minors have been a part of the fabric of Hollywood for almost a century. We found the earliest references in long-lost silent films “As the World Rolls On” (1921), “Trifling with Honor” (1923) and “The New Klondike” (1926). MiLB.com staffers’ recollections covered everything from James Stewart, the motion picture industry’s equivalent of a Hall of Famer, in Monty Stratton’s story of tragedy and triumph — “The Stratton Story” (1949) — to attendance at a Minor League game capping Bill Murray and Michael Jordan’s hijinks in 1996’s “Space Jam.” Richard Pryor played a Minor Leaguer with 30 days to spend $30 million in “Brewster’s Millions” (1985) and Richmond County Ballpark served as the friendly confines for the Staten Island Empires in last year’s “Bottom of the 9th.” There’s even a foray into the horror genre — in one segment of 1993’s “Body Bags,” Mark Hamill starred as an athlete dealing with the loss of an eye. Others we’d like to put in our queues include Big Leaguer (1953), The Comeback Kid (1980), A Winner Never Quits (1986), A Little Inside (2001), A Mile in His Shoes (2011), Milltown Pride (2011) and The Mendoza Line (2014).
A couple of fans also brought up “The Battered Bastards of Baseball.” Stay tuned, because that’s on the lineup card for the top 10 Minor League documentaries. Next time, though, we’ll flip on the television for some of the most notable Minors references on the tube.
Paige Schector is an editor for MiLB.com.