When you think of great movies about major league baseball, there aren’t too many to choose from. “Bull Durham” was about the minor leagues. “Field of Dreams” was about ghosts of former players meeting on a cornfield in Iowa to play again. “The Sandlot” and “Bad News Bears” were about kids and their love for the national pastime. And “A League of Their Own” and “The Natural” captured baseball, but baseball of the past. In 1989 only one film was able to capture major league baseball in modern times. And that film took the longsuffering Cleveland Indians all the way to the playoffs and “Major League” became a bonafide hit movie for baseball fans everywhere.
On this episode, Tim Williams shares his memories and guest co-host Charlie Cotter shares his first-time watch reactions of this 80's comedy classic. They also share favorite lines, characters, scenes, and behind the scenes trivia along the way.
Here are additional behind the scenes trivia we were unable to cover on this episode:
- Pedro Cerrano, according to author and director David S. Ward, is partially based on Orlando Cepeda and Wade Boggs, who would superstitiously eat chicken before every game.
- Willie Mays Hays, according to Ward, is based on Rickey Henderson.
- Ryan Duren was the inspiration for the character Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn, according to Ward.
- Eddie Harris appears to be inspired by Gaylord Perry, who was well known for using outside substances to enhance his pitches.
- Jake Taylor may be inspired by Carlton Fisk, a catcher who had a long career with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox. Lou Brown mentions early on that Taylor was an All-Star in Boston.
- According to David S. Ward, Wesley Snipes was not a very skilled baseball player in real life, never having played much of it before. Ward said Snipes was so awful at throwing a baseball that they did not have any scenes of him throwing a ball.
- Many tricks were used to make the actors seem like they were as good as their characters. For example, the pitching mound in a real baseball stadium is 60'6" away from the home plate, but to give the impression that Charlie Sheen's 85 mph fastball was traveling 100mph, they moved the mound up 10 feet and shot from behind the plate so the viewer wouldn't notice the distance difference. Also, all Wesley Snipes' running scenes are shown in slow motion to give the impression that he is running faster than he actually is.
- In the scene where Jake invades Lynn's party, one of the guests asks how much Jake makes in the Majors. He replies, "I make the league minimum." At the time (1989) the MLB salary minimum was $68,000. Average household income in 1990 was roughly $30,000. So he was making a very respectable double-the-average household income.
Sources: Imdb, Wikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo, Yahoo Sports (“Major League Turns 30”), and Mental Floss (“10 Wild Facts About Major League”)
Intro & Outro Music: “Total Eclipse” by Nathaniel Wyver
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