Pulling the curtain for a second, an admission:
I originally had this big plan where I would watch the now-20-year-old kid-baseball classic Rookie of the Year and figure out the statistics for it’s main character, Henry Rowengartner. But, alas, it was not to be: I inadvertently deleted it from my DVR, ruining my opportunity to bring the world such great baseball scholarship. One day, perhaps.
Still, some thoughts on Rookie of the Year:
Rookie of the Year was part of an early 90s mini-fad of baseball movies sparked by the late-80s success of Kevin Costner’s films and Major League. Other baseball movies from this time period include The Sandlot, A League of Their Own and Little Big League. I saw them on VHS when I was like five or six, possibly more times than was healthy. And, although in hindsight The Sandlot and A League of Their Own* were the best of the early 90s bunch, I think I watched Rookie of the Year and Little Big League more. It makes sense, come to think of it: They were wish-fulfillment tales. Who doesn’t wish to make it to the big leagues in some way? Heck, who doesn’t wish they could be doing it when they are still kids?
Anyway, for those of you who don’t know the story, Rookie of the Year is a semi-remake of an obscure movie called Roogie’s Bump. In the film, Henry Rowengartner, a baseball-loving boy in his early teens, suffers a strange injury that heals in such a way that his arm suddenly becomes able to throw MLB-level heat. The Cubs sign him, and, well, you can probably guess how the rest of the story goes.
While the film is unrealistic and pretty formulaic, it still is a fun watch, especially with John Candy as an announcer for the Cubs who opens up the movie with this ever-so-true line:
Opening Day at Wrigley, and oh what a sight! The diamond, the decorations, and the dread of yet another losing season.
Really, there isn’t much more that can be said, other than that as part of the Anniversary there have been a few articles about it.
For example, Yahoo!’s Mike Oz talked a bit to star Thomas Ian Nicholas (who has since gone on to star in the American Pie films) and director/supporting actor Daniel Stern about it. From it, I learned that, for example, John Candy was not originally involved with the film, but the studio liked the close-to-finished product enough that they let the producers hire John Candy to film a few scenes and voiceovers for the film.
Meanwhile, as a extra to Sports Illustrated‘s “Where Are They Now” issue, screenwriter Sam Harper revealed what happened to Henry after the film. Turns out that similar injuries led to him having brief careers in football and bowling.
So, if you see Rookie of the Year on cable in the coming days, feel free to think back to this post and those other articles. And also think how funky-buttloving (you’d get it if you saw the movie) awesome my look at Henry Rowengartner’s stats would have been.
*True story: I almost had a cameo in A League of Their Own as a redheaded toddler grandchild in the Cooperstown scenes at the end. But according to family legend, my parents didn’t want to drive all the way to Cooperstown for the shoot, especially since if I cried they’d probably just have some other 1-year-old do it and they’d have driven all the way to Cooperstown for nothing. And that, friends, is why Daniel J. Glickman doesn’t have an IMDB page noting his uncredited cameo in A League of Their Own.