The 10 Worst Baseball Players in Movie History
Now that winter is finally behind us, we can soon expect the Boys of Summer to take the field in America’s favorite pastime. But for every powerhouse baseball player like Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Johan Santana or Roy Halladay, there are others who aren’t nearly as successful. This strict division between all-stars and scrubs is represented nowhere better than in movies.
A few of the 10 characters on our list of the worst baseball players in movie history suffer from bad attitudes. Some are just outright terrible, one has laughable superhuman abilities and another isn’t even human at all. Any way you look at it, all these fictional players should be benched permanently.
Ed the Baseball-Playing Chimp
Ed, the baseball-playing chimpanzee from the 1996 Matt LeBlanc movie of the same name, is actually fairly skilled on the field. Still, his shot at the Hall of Fame is probably marred by the fact that he’s, you know, a chimp. Actually, the titular character is very clearly a guy in a rubber monkey suit, but you get what we mean.
With the exception of reluctant pitcher Amanda Whurlitzer (Tatum O’Neal) and juvenile delinquent Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley), the Bad News Bears are famously awful, especially Timmy Lupus. Despite the key play that Lupus somehow miraculously makes in the final game, that kid needs some serious practice.
Badboy pitcher Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) from the 1989 comedy ‘Major League’ has plenty of raw power, but absolutely no control. (Kinda like the “Tiger Blood” Sheen we know and love today.) And although we’re pretty sure they’re not regulation, we totally dig his skull and crossbones proto-hipster glasses.
Ebby LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) is a minor league pitcher with no finesse and a habit of ignoring pitching calls. Somehow, he manages to refine his skill by mentoring with seasoned veteran “Crash” Davis (Kevin Costner) and by indulging in light bondage with a baseball groupie played by Susan Sarandon. Hey, there’s no kinky sex games in baseball.
Stan Ross, played by the late, great Bernie Mac, is a narcissistic player for the Brewers who retires after his 3,000th hit, abandoning his team right in the middle of the 1995 playoffs. Later, we learn there was a clerical error and Ross didn’t actually reach this milestone, which forces him out of retirement at age 47 for another try. Along the way, Ross predictably learns valuable life lessons about the importance of generosity and being a team player, which, as far as we’re concerned, is a poor substitute for being able to count to 3,000.
In the preteen wish-fulfillment flick ‘Rookie of the Year,’ Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a 12-year-old baseball player for the Chicago Cubs with an absolutely ridiculous backstory — he breaks his arm while attempting to catch a fly ball and, after it heals, doctors discover that his tendons have become unnaturally tight, which enables him to pitch blazing fastballs. Naturally, he then leads the Cubs to a World Series win. Hard to imagine what’s more unrealistic — that a 12-year-old could pitch in the majors or that the Cubs could actually make it to the World Series.
Ryan Dunne, played by Freddie Prinze, Jr., is a minor league pitcher for the Cape Cod League who meets and falls in love with a rich girl (Jessica Biel). But Dunne commits a cardinal sin when he leaves a no-hitter in the ninth inning to stop his girlfriend from leaving town. You’ll never make it to the big leagues like that, buddy.
Coop and Remer
Coop and Remer are two down-on-their-luck, un-athletic losers who create a baseball/basketball hybrid because they have no talent for either. What ensues is a ridiculously dumb (but frequently hilarious) send-up that somewhat manages to insult both sports. (They end up being great at BASEketball, but you still wouldn’t want them on your office softball team.) But what else would you expect from ‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone?
Another example of a player who lets romance get in the way, Darryl Palmer (Michael O’Keefe) is a hitter for the Atlanta Braves whose skill is directly tied to his on-again, off-again relationship with his wife (Rebecca De Mornay). When she breaks things off with Palmer, his game goes south. But when she comes back, he amazingly manages to beat Roger Maris’ single season home run record. So much for love of the game.
Nothing’s worse than when your favorite player goes past his prime, but Bobby Rayburn’s deteriorating game has dangerous consequences in this uber-’90s thriller. After Rayburn (Wesley Snipes) suffers a chest injury and his performance declines, obsessive fan Gil Renard, played by a twitchy Robert De Niro, goes on a murderous rampage. Yes, Rayburn is a terrible player, but Renard wins an award for worst fan too.