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Week in GIFs: Baseball Hollywood Style

Baseball is a popular subject in Hollywood, but do actors know how to hit and pitch?


Q: What's the highest grossing baseball-themed movie of all-time?

Typically at this time of year there's a real shortage of baseball news, so many baseball sites will start a debate about which is the best baseball movie ever made. I'm not going to go into which movie best captures the meaning baseball has to most people, or which film is funniest, or tells the best story. I have my favorites and I'm sure you have yours. This post takes a look at a few actors who tried to portray a professional athlete, some were somewhat convincing, while others, no matter how good of an actor they are, couldn't quite pull it off.

A: "A League of Their Own"


Actor: Kevin Costner

Movie: Bull Durham

Player: Crash Davis

Position: Catcher

Believability: 5

Kevin Costner is the actor most noted for his baseball movies. He has starred as a catcher (Bull Durham), a pitcher (For Love of the Game), a farmer (Field of Dreams), and retired player (The Upside of Anger). In both movies where he had to perform certain baseball task, such as hitting, throwing, and pitching, he looked every bit the player.
And look, he can even hit from both sides of the plate!

Q: In the original 1951 "Angels in the Outfield", which struggling team receives help from angels?


Actor: Tony Danza

Movie: Angels in the Outfield

Player: Mel Clark the smoking pitcher

Position: Pitcher

Believability: 2

I haven't seen this movie from start to finish, but when making this GIF I watched the entire part about the final game. At one point the announcer states that the Danza character had just thrown his 156 pitch and was still in the game. And considering the game was some sort of playoff game, this would qualify Danny Glover as making the second worst managerial decision in Angels' history. Oh, and someone tell the center fielder to back up. Does he think this is a slo-pitch softball game?

A: The Pittsburgh Pirates


Actor: Charlie Sheen

Movie: Major League

Player: Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn

Position: Pitcher

Believability: 5

Charlie Sheen looks like he can pitch. Although he has the "inverted W" pitching motion which some analysts suggest leads to elbow problems, he still might be a WINNING! pitcher.

"I coulda broke every record in the book..and then when I walked down the street people would've looked and they would've said 'there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game'."


Actor: Robert Redford

Movie: The Natural

Player: Roy Hobbs

Position: OF

Believability: 4

Although Robert Redford has a huge hitch in his swing, I still gave him a "4" mainly because to me, he looks like an aging player. Redford was 48 years old when this film was released, but he does a great job of portraying the magical Roy Hobbs.


Actor: Tim Robbins

Movie: Bull Durham

Player: Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' LaLoosh

Position: Pitcher

Believability: 1

This pitch may have killed someone sitting up near the press box...if it made it that far. It's almost like the director told Robbins to just throw the pitch as hard as he could and not to worry about where it was going.

While pitching to the last batter in the ninth inning, Chapel says to himself "Think Billy, don't just throw." In "Bull Durham" he says the complete opposite to pitcher Nuke "Don't think, just throw."


Actor: John Goodman

Movie: The Babe

Player: Babe Ruth

Position: OF

Believability: 1

Filming a baseball movie with non-athletes has got to be extremely difficult. Imagine spending the day doing take after take of an actor who can't look as though he's at least played little league. To give John Goodman some credit, he might not be left-handed, but this is an awful swing. And if this was the best take for this scene, those other hacks must have been horrific. This is supposed to be Ruth's "Called Shot" in the 1932 World Series. The ball may have made it past the pitcher's mound, but I doubt it.


Actor: Chelcie Ross

Movie: Major League

Player: Eddie Harris

Position: Pitcher

Believability: 1

Ross was 47 years old when "Major League" was released in 1989, so it's not surprising to see him lob his pitches over the plate (this GIF is normal speed). Probably not anyone's first choice to start a one-game play-off, but here he is throwing his weak-ass pitches.


Actor: Tom Selleck

Movie: Mr. Baseball

Player: Jack Elliot

Position: 1B

Believability: 4

Selleck plays an aging player sent to Japan by his American League team. He does a good job of looking the part of a ballplayer, and he puts a halfway decent swing on the ball, but the biggest credit he receives is he brought the term "gaijin" to all of us baseball fans.


Actor: Dennis Haysbert

Movie: Major league

Player: Pedro Cerrano

Position: OF

Believability: 4

Dennis Haysbert also played Tom Selleck's teammate Max Dubois in "Mr. Baseball", but is probably best know for his voice-over work in the All-State Insurance commercials. Like Selleck, Haysbert looks good in a baseball uni, and has a pretty good swing, except it looks like he might have problems with an pitch on the outer half.


Actor: Dennis Quaid

Movie: The Rookie

Player: Jim Morris

Position: Pitcher

Believability: 2

I've noticed that directors use little movie-making tricks to make the action look more realistic. In this movie, obviously Quaid doesn't throw in the nineties, so they edit the scene when the ball leaves his hand and then cut quickly to the ball hitting the catcher's glove. This pitch is supposed to be a 98 mph fastball. I think the clouds in the background are moving faster than the pitch.


Actor: Kevin Costner

Movie: Field of Dreams

Player: Ray Kinsella

Position: Farmer

Believability: 3

Yeah, he throws like a farmer.

"I love baseball. You know it doesn't have to mean anything, it's just beautiful to watch." - Woody Allen in Zelig


This post is sponsored by Jack in the Box.