Padres Editorial: Friars On Base Ranks Their Favorite Baseball Movies Part I
By Billy Brost
Mandatory Credit: tsminteractive.com
Nick Lee discusses #10-The Rookie:
The Rookie highlights a high school science teacher and baseball coach who had all but given up his dream to play in the major leagues. Jimmy Morris taught at Big Lake High School and was 35-years old. He had a promising young career before getting injured, derailing his career. He was the baseball coach for the school and the team was flat out bad. The team made a deal with their coach, that if they had a successful season and won district, he would try out for the major leagues again. He thought it was crazy since he was 35 and hadn’t pitched competitively in years. What he didn’t realize was that when his team watched him throw, it was just as fast, if not faster, than the pitchers they were facing in their varsity high school league. They saw the potential in their coach.
The story goes that he had to hold up his end of the deal due to his team’s success and ended up dropping the jaws of scouts at his tryout. A 35 year old can throw 98 mph. Not only that, he was also a lefty. One of my favorite quotes from the movie came from a scout who watched him: “Now, if I call the office and tell ’em I got a guy here almost twice these kids’ age, I’m gonna get laughed at. But, if I don’t call in a 98-mile-an-hour fastball, I’m gonna get fired! I’m just saying there’s a chance you might get a call on this.” He did get a call. After battling through the minor leagues, he got his shot on September 18, 1999.
He made his debut in his home state of Texas no less, against the Rangers. In front of his home crowd, he gets to pitch in the major leagues and the moment is spectacular. In his brief two-year career, he appeared in 21 games for the big league club, notching 13 strikeouts in 15 innings. This movie is a fantastic example of working hard for your dream and making it come true. The movie just goes beyond realizing a baseball dream. It is a display of his core values as a family man and his desire to be a good husband and father. This is one of the most family-oriented baseball movies out there.