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An exotic dancer marries the owner of a baseball club. He does not survive the honeymoon and she is in control of his ball club. she wants to move to warmer climes where some new stadiums have been built, but her lease has only one escape clause, poor attendance. She fields the worst team she can find. The attitude of the owner gives the misfits and losers something to rally around and they fight back. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Major League was six years too early in its prophecy for success for the Cleveland Indians. I'm old enough to remember when they had a good team back in the Fifties. When I was just a small kid, large Municipal Stadium known without affection as mistake on the lake used to have 70,000 plus crowds because the Indians had such players as Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau, Joe Gordon, and Satchel Paige. But when that team went bad, the larger the stadium and they had the largest in baseball looked all the more empty.
Terry Pluto wrote a book on the history of the Indians failure called The Curse Of Colavito. In 1959 the Indians finished a respectable second to the White Sox in the pennant race that year with Casey Stengel's Yankees having an inexplicable bad season and a distant third. Rocky Colavito led the American League in home runs and he was the most popular fellow in Cleveland. He became one of a select group of Major Leaguers that year to hit four home-runs in one game. And he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for the batting champion, Harvey Kuenn. It was never the same for Cleveland.
Which takes us to the futile Indians of 1989 as futile in real life as they start on screen. The team comes into the possession of a new owner former showgirl Margaret Whitton. Her contract with the city specifies that if the team attendance dips below 700,000 for the season, she can move the team and she wants the warm sun of Miami instead of winters on the Cuyahoga River.
Building a winning team in baseball is a lot harder than what you see in Major League. But this collection of goofballs, misfits, and has beens actually get mad enough and start winning.
Major League has a nice collection of players playing ballplayers like veteran catcher Tom Berenger, narcissistic third baseman Corbin Bernsen, juvenile delinquent rookie pitcher Charlie Sheen known as Wild Thing for his lack of control, Wesley Snipes as center-fielder Willie Mays Hayes and Dennis Haysbert as a Santeria observing power hitter. It is the American League so Haysbert probably is the designated hitter. My favorite in the film is veteran manager James Gammon who pulls this collection together for a winning team.
Major League is a film for baseball and film fans it so nicely blends the interests. As for the Cleveland Indians when Municipal Stadium closed down and they got a new ballpark in Jacobs Field, they actually won a couple of pennants in 1995 and 1997. Of course the process to build the Indians wasn't half as entertaining as Major League is.
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