The All Time 25 Player Roster of Fictional Baseball Players

I got a tweet from my friend Andres DuBouchet. He has one of the great comedy brains of anyone in the world. It exists in a jar. He writes for Conan and frequently appears on the show.
He is also a lifelong Mets fan and is no doubt enjoying this September.

Here is the Tweet he sent me.

Knowing my sweet spot of making lists, talking baseball and thinking about the movies, I could not resist.

So here is my 25 player roster of movie ballplayers.

9 starters, including a designated hitter, 5 starting pitchers, 5 relievers and 6 role players coming off the bench make up the roster.

Also a manager, coaches, a super fan. a scout and a GM.

There were some tough calls. A few catchers did not make the cut. And I also made sure that each actor could only play one member of the team. That led to a Kevin Costner decision that frankly was kind of easy to make. Two other actors surprisingly could have filled 2 spots, more on them later.

Some truly tough calls on the manager made for a weighing some pros and cons.

And the characters had to be totally fictitious. Yeah, I know Shoeless Joe Jackson and Moonlight Graham aren’t ghosts, but they are based on real people.

As much as I love Moneyball and The Rookie and Eight Men Out, they will not be represented here.

Neither will Ed, the film about a third base playing chimp and Matt LeBlanc. Why? Because it sucks.

So here is my 25 player roster (note I did not say 25 MAN roster for reasons that will be clear) of movie baseball players.

Starting Catcher

Kevin Costner could be on this list many times. So which one to choose? Field of Dreams? For Love of the Game? Oh please. His performance as Crash Davis is one of the best baseball performances (I believe he could hit), one of the best romantic performances (Oh my indeed) and one of the best comedic performances I have ever seen. Did Costner deserve the Oscar for Dances with Wolves over Martin Scorsese and GoodFellas? Of course not. But he deserved it for Crash Davis, and that isn’t bad.

Starting First Baseman

Jack Elliott couldn’t hack it in the United States anymore, so off he went to Japan and found out urinals were different. Look, Mr. Baseball is not a great movie. But I always enjoyed Tom Selleck in comedies and let’s face it. He LOOKED like a ballplayer!

Starting Second Baseman

On paper, Marla Hooch was not the glamorous beauty that the AAGPBL wanted. But man could she hit. Her dad raised her like a boy as best as he could and her sweet right handed swing gave the Rockford Peaches some pop. Megan Cavanagh is great in the role from A League of their Own. Let’s get her some more roles, OK?

Starting Shortstop

Not only was “The Jet” the only person who saw the potential of Scott Smalls and teaches him how to play, but he winds up being the only player from The Sandlot to make it to the majors. FYI, Mike Vitar who played the young Benny is brothers with Pablo Vitar who played the older Benny.

Starting Third Baseman

Is he a Diva? Yeah. Is he a womanizer. Probably. Is he a thinly disguised proxy for Wade Boggs. Maybe. Does he look like Corbin Bernsen? Evidently. Will he cause contract problems? Perhaps but you can just piss on his contract if you don’t like it. He provides a quality bat at third and when he wants to can pick it.

Starting Left Fielder

For most, Dennis Haysbert is the president on 24 or the pitchman for All State. To be he will always be Pedro Cerrano, looking for a way to hit the curve ball. Put him on the team and you will see some quality shots. Just don’t steal Jobu’s rum. Is very bad to steal Jobu’s rum.

Starting Center Fielder

There were two choices for Wesley Snipes on this list, and both were center fielders. Willie Mays Hayes was certainly more likable than the arrogant big free agent signing Bobby Rayburn in The Fan. But Rayburn was a better all around player and frankly I don’t want to disrespect Rayburn and get DeNiro’s obsessive fan chasing me!

Starting Right Fielder

Some would call him a natural. Some sports writers claim he was once a decent pitching prospect too. That left handed swing can hit the cover off the ball and he seems to play even better when there is a lightning storm. He is so good we can even forgive the silliness of seeing Robert Redford pretending he is a teenager at the beginning of the movie.

Starting Designated Hitter

When you think of it, we are totally taking sports writer Max Mercy at his word when we hear that The Whammer is the greatest baseball player in the world. We see him hitting the ball hard at a carnival but when he faced actual pitching, he struck out swinging on three pitches. Still, his reputation preceded him and the great Joe Don Baker just happens to look just like Babe Ruth.

Starting Rotation


Provided he listens to his catcher, breathes out of the correct eye lid, doesn’t think and wears garters, there is no stopping Nuke LaLoosh from staying in the show. Tim Robbins later won an Oscar in the dramatic Mystic River. Who are they kidding? That was a retroactive Oscar for one of the best comedic performances of the 1980s.


Bingo Long is great showman who brings out the crowds wherever he pitches. He can taunt the batters by asking the crowd what pitch they want to see him strike out the batters with and somehow get away with it. He has the business savvy to start his own team and just happens to look like Billy Dee Williams in his prime. Nothing wrong with that.


Sure he sat out the beginning of the season seeking a bigger contract. But Wiggen came back, pitched the Mammoths to the World Series and stayed loyal to his dying catcher, Bruce Pearson. It is tough to hold your own as an actor along side Vincent Gardenia and a young Robert DeNiro. But Michael Moriarty did just that in Bang The Drum Slowly.


The Bears stopped being bad new when coach Morris Buttermaker coaxed Whurlizer onto the pitchers mound. Squashing the “throw like a girl” stigma, she was able to strike out the batters and date the bad boy Kelly Leak as Tatum O’Neal gave her best post Oscar performance.


The Angels had a little bit of help from real angels in their outfield but let chain smoking and soon to be dead pitcher Mel Clark beat the White Sox and win the Division. This pick is mainly because I was impressed that Tony Danza could play a character NOT named Tony.



I know he was mainly a starting pitcher, but come on! Who has the best entrance music from the bullpen in the league than “Wild Thing”? Plus you need a slightly unhinged mentality to be a closer. Where Wild Thing ends and Charlie Sheen begins may never be determined.


The poster child for Tommy John surgery, new ligaments turn Thomas Ian Nicholas’ character from a 12 year old little leaguer to the Cubs closer. No doubt he won the Rookie of the Year award, but I can’t help but wonder if the Cubs violated child labor laws.


Cheating is a part of baseball. And short of doing PEDs, no cheater would be more valuable than Professor Simpson, who developed a substance that moves objects away from wood. So naturally he changed his name, signed with St. Louis (not sure which St. Louis team) smeared the substance on the ball and became the pitching sensation Kelly. Oscar winner Ray Milland did his best to sell this plot device of celebrating a lying cheat in It Happens Every Spring. Just make sure the umps don’t check his glove.


OK, The Scout is one of the most disappointing baseball movies ever. How you get Albert Brooks coming off of Defending Your Life to write and star in a baseball film directed by Michael Ritchie, who made the original Bad News Bears, and have it be a snooze is beyond me. And Steve Nebraska’s pitching and hitting talents were a little too cartoonish. But Brendan Frasier looks great in that uniform and is pretty good in the role. Besides, having a guy throw 110 MPH out of the pen can’t hurt.


I could have easily put Richard Pryor on this team as Charlie Snow, the right fielder on Bingo Long’s Travelling All Stars who tried to pass himself off as either Latin or an Indian Chief. But I went with his ambitious if not quite major league worthy minor league pitcher. If he doesn’t make it as a pitcher, he can certainly help bankroll the team.


Reserve Catcher

A catcher needs to do more than call pitches. They need to be the leader on the field and in many ways be a second manager. When reluctant Dottie Hinson left Oregon to join the Peaches, she became the defacto manager as Jimmy Dugan was too drunk to care. She could catch a throw with her bare hands, do a split in the game for the cameras, hit with power, give competing signs with her manager AND give you that killer Geena Davis stare? You bet she is on this team!

Reserve Catcher


For the additional catcher on the team, I decided NOT to go with Indians Jake Taylor. Let’s face it, Jake was just a poor man’s Crash Davis who basically stalks Renee Russo. Crash didn’t have to stalk anyone. And big swinging Leon Carter could actually homer off of Bingo Long and had the the chops and the voice to stand up to him. James Earl Jones could be on here as the Salinger proxy from Field of Dreams, but I like the Vader/Lando preview that is The Bingo Long Travelling All Stars and Motor Kings.

Reserve Infielder

You need pop at third base and you need someone off the bench who is fearless and won’t shy away from the big game. That describes Doris to a T. And remember, when League of Their Own came out, nobody knew who Rosie O’Donnell was and EVERYONE knew afterwards.

Reserve Outfielder

Sure he was a trouble maker, smoking and riding that motor cycle. But from the moment he threw the ball back into the infield, Morris Buttermaker knew he found his outfielder. His defense made up for Lupus and his killer stare (which would grow up to be the Jackie Earle Haley Rorschach look) shows he has no fear. So come on! Let him play!

Pinch Hitter

A pinch hitter needs to have one thing on his mind: Get a hit at any cost. Who was more single minded about collecting hits more than Mr. 3000 himself, Stan Ross? Again, not a great movie. But like Tom Selleck in Mr. Baseball, the late great Bernie Mac just looked like a player!

Utility Player

With two catchers on the bench and Ross as a pinch hitter only, we need a player who can take over multiple positions. Who is more versatile than Bugs? “First base  Bugs Bunny, second base Bugs Bunny, shortstop Bugs Bunny…”


The single hardest call to make. Wilford Brimley’s Pops taking the helm of the New York Knights seemed like a natural. (Pun TOTALLY intended.) Also there is James Gammon as Indians manager Lou Brown (give him the heater) or Walter Matthau as Morris Buttermaker drinking his way with the Bears or Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan telling everyone there is no crying in baseball. Trey Wilson’s Skip of the Durham Bulls and his lolly gagger speech is amazing. But I am giving it to Dutch, the manager of the Mammoths dealing with big time egos, a crushing pennant race and realizing the player he picks on the most is dying.

Watch this scene HERE to see Vincent Gardenia earn his Oscar nomination, blending humor, passion and a few tears in the locker room scene of Bang the Drum Slowly.


Bench Coach


The calm voice of reason next to passionate and thinking about farming Pops Fisher, Red saw the potential of Roy Hobbs and kept the team in line without raising his voice. Plus the late Richard Farnsworth just made everything better.

Pitching Coach

Robert Wuhl’s finest hour. A solid pitching coach and smart enough to know that wearing garters and breathing out of his eye lids can help Nuke LaLoosh, then so be it. His visit to the mound and solution to the wedding gift problem is one of the great baseball scenes of all time.


Ernie did not have a lot of data to work with when he traveled the country looking for women baseball players. But give the man credit, he got a reluctant Dottine Hinson to sign, saw the value in her sister, Kit Keller and picked muscle over beauty when recruiting Marla Hooch. That is a HUGE haul for one scout. And besides, Jon Lovitz stole every scene from A League of their Own that he was in, unlike Albert Brooks in the disappointing film The Scout.

Super Fan


 Yeah Ray Kinsella built a baseball field for ghosts. Sure Jimmy Fallon’s character was obsessive in Fever PitchOf course Iris stood up and had the halo around her to inspire Roy Hobbs. Who better scouted the players, knew their strengths and weaknesses on the field or in bed better than Annie Savoy? Like Costner and Robbins, Susan Sarandon should have won an Oscar for THIS! I am glad she got one later but she will always be Annie to me.

So there you have it. A full team, coaching staff, scout and fan. None of them are real, but all of them are all stars.

Brown and Costner… a tale of two Kevins

This post is about two guys named Kevin. Mentioning either of their names would elicit an eye roll from most of you.

Kevin Brown and Kevin Costner are both associated with excess, wasted money, bad decisions and alienated fans. And yet the early part of both of their careers were terrific and it is a shame that their positives have been almost wiped out of our minds after the negatives.

Let’s take Kevin Brown.

What do you think about when you hear Kevin Brown? Chances are you would think of the fact that of all people HE was the first $100 million contract in baseball.

And after signing the bloated contract with the Dodgers he started demanding they pay his flights to visit his family in Georgia (as if 9 figures couldn’t get some plane tickets.)

And he was such a prickly guy that Sports Illustrated called him an ornery S.O.B. on their cover.

If you are a Yankee fan you might remember he was a major bust when traded to the Bronx for Jeff Weaver.

And of course he committed two unforgivable sins in New York:

He broke his own hand against a wall down the stretch in 2004.
And in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS he faced 9 batters, got only 4 of them out and was charged with 5 runs in 1 1/3 innings against the Red Sox… arguably the worst and most humiliating loss in the history of the team.

Yankee fans might remember how the Yankees couldn’t give him away that off season and he returned in 2005 to make 13 starts and post a 6.50 ERA before his body and career finally broke down.

Yankee fans might also remember how Joe Torre described him breaking down in his tell all book. And of course he is mentioned in the Mitchell Report.

Not a great legacy.

Now take a look at Costner.

When was the last time anyone was excited to see a Kevin Costner movie?
When was the last time he was considered to be a bankable or likable star?

It’s been a while.

His appearances in films like Rumor Has It or Swing Vote or Mr. Brooks didn’t exactly light the world on fire.

And his career took an incredible nose dive with big bloated self aggrandizing epics like Waterworld and The Postman. (Seriously. If you haven’t see The Postman… it is one of the craziest monuments to a man’s ego that has ever been constructed. And yes I include the pyramids in that list.)

And maybe it all started to go wrong when he inexplicably was cast as Robin Hood in the unwatchable Robin Hood: Prince of Theives. Did nobody take note that Sir Robin of Loxsley was English?

He became a punch line of has-been stars and bloated Hollywood budgets.

But guess what?
It wasn’t always that way for Costner.

There was a time where not only was he NOT a joke, but he was actually kind of awesome.

Lest we forget, baseball fans, that he starred in two of the great baseball movies ever.

He was Crash F—ing Davis!
Bull Durham remains one of the classic sports movies of all time and it aged like a vintage wine. And a huge reason for its success is Costner’s funny, pained, macho, sensitive and sexy performance.

You believe he was good enough to make the show and could seduce just about any woman he wanted. You knew that Nuke owes his quick trip to the show to Crash. You believed that Annie would change her whole life for him. And no doubt he was going to be a great manager in Visalia.

And Field of Dreams is a film I do not apologize that I love.
And Costner is a big reason why it works.

He played some real crazy scenes in the film with 100% believability. Hearing the voices, seeing the ghosts of the ballplayers, meeting Burt Lancaster in the Minnesota town… those scenes would have been awful if you didn’t have Costner’s completely realistic performance.

I remember my dad said after seeing Field of Dreams “If I heard the voice, that’s exactly how I’d react.”

Beyond the baseball movies, he was great in Silverado and The Untouchables.
Yeah Dances with Wolves didn’t age well and his winning the Best Director Oscar over Martin Scorsese in GoodFellas is one of the great headscratchers in Hollywood history. But he was a big enough and loved star to get a film like that off the ground.

I happen to be a fan of JFK as well. Yeah his accent was strange, but who could forget his performance in it? Right down to “Back and to the left… Back and to the left.”

And while I was no fan of The Bodyguard as a movie, back then it was believable that he would not only save Whitney Houston, but that she would fall for him as well.

(Believe it or not there was a time when Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston were a pretty hot on screen couple. For my readers under the age of 25, consider your minds blown.)

So there was a reason why Costner got huge budgets and full creative control in those bloated turkeys in the past 15 years.

He was super cool for a while.

Like Costner, Kevin Brown was also once really REALLY good.

Six times Brown was an All Star, starting the 1992 game. Five times he ranked in the top ten in the Cy Young Award vote including being the runner up to John Smoltz in 1996 when he led the league with a 1.89 ERA.

He won another ERA title in 2000. In 1992 he was the first Texas Ranger in 18 years to win 20 games.

His 1996 was noteworthy because if the current trends in Cy Young voting were in vogue that year, Brown would probably have won. (He got 2 first place votes at the time.)

Smoltz had more wins (24 to Brown’s 17), more strikeouts (276 to Brown’s 159) and (253 2/3 to Brown’s 233).

But Brown’s ERA was 1.15 lower than Smoltz (1.89 to 2.94.) Brown’s ERA+ was a league best 217 to Smoltz’s 149. Brown also led the league in WHIP (.944 to Smoltz’s 1.001). And Smoltz had the benefit for playing for the 96 win defending World Champions while Brown was on the 80 win third place Florida Marlins.

He was a workhorse, often being among the league leaders in innings pitched and complete games. Twice he had the highest WAR for pitchers.

In 1997 he threw a no hitter against the Giants and then tossed a complete game victory to clinch the pennant for the Marlins. It was Brown on the mound when the Marlins celebrated in Atlanta. The Marlins went on to win the World Series.

Shipped off to San Diego, he won 18 games and helped propel the Padres to the World Series. In the post season he out dueled Randy Johnson in Game 1 of the Division Series. In his two starts in the 4 game victory over the Astros, Brown posted a 0.61 ERA in 14 2/3 innings, striking out 21.

In the NLCS, he out pitched another future Hall of Famer when his 3 hit shutout beat the Braves and Tom Glavine.

In the off season he signed the $100 million contract but actually lived up to it the first few years. He was an 18 game winner and logged 252 innings his first year with the Dodgers. In his second he pitched 230 innings with 5 complete games, winning his second ERA title. He remained healthy for only one season over the remaining five years of the contract including his disappointing year and a half in New York and his implosion late in 2004.

In 2002 he was the highest paid player in baseball and yet threw only 63 2/3 innings all year.

But hey! The Dodgers didn’t pick him at random for their $100 million offer!He put together a year that would have won a Cy Young award now. He won 17 or more games four times. He had a pair of ERA titles and a no hitter and some post season glory. In 1998, the Sporting News named him Pitcher of the Year.

That’s not an awful resume. And it shouldn’t be TOTALLY overshadowed by what happened in the last few years of his deal.

Too bad the great parts of his career happened in relative obscurity in Texas, Florida and San Diego and the disappointments were in Los Angeles and New York.

But Brown is a Kevin worth saluting for the good in his career.
Same with Costner.

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