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Major League (1989) Poster

(1989)

Trivia

Many of the baseball players in the scenes filmed at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, Arizona were members of the University of Arizona baseball team.
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Real life relief pitcher Mitch Williams (with the Chicago Cubs at the time of the film's release) was inspired to model himself after the Rick Vaughn character. He began to wear the number 99 and had "Wild Thing" played when entering games, shortly earning the nickname "Wild Thing". In addition, the modern day tradition of relief pitchers, mainly closers, having their own intro songs was largely inspired by this film.
'Charlie Sheen' was a high school pitcher who was offered a baseball scholarship to the University of Kansas. In the movie he threw a 101mph fastball, but in reality Sheen could throw in the high 80s. This made it easier to simulate the fastball on film.
David S Ward is actually a life long Cleveland Indians fan. His inspiration for creating the movie was simply because he thought it would be the only way he would ever see the Indians actually win anything.
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 commercial for the movie when it was in the theaters, there was a scene in which Ricky Vaughn, Jake Taylor, and Willy Hays are in the restaurant, and they are discussing a homerun Ricky gave up to a batter. Jake says to Ricky, "That ball wouldn't have gone out of a lot of parks." Ricky says, "Name one." Jakes pauses and says, "Yellowstone." This scene was omitted from the theatrical release, but was written into the script of Major League II (1994).
The opponent slugger known as Yankees home run threat Haywood was played by former pitcher of the Milwaukee Brewers, Peter Vuckovich. Peter Vuckovich never hit a single home run in his entire 11 year major league career. In fact, during 8 of those 11 years he never made a single plate appearance, since he was pitching in the American League - which uses a designated hitter to bat for the pitcher.
For many of the wide crowd scenes of the climatic playoff game, there were over 20,000 extras in the stands. When the team first ran onto the field with the crowd roaring, Dennis Haysbert admitted to being emotionally overwhelmed by the experience. Former Major Leaguer and technical advisor Steve Yeager noticed Haysbert's reaction and said to him, "That's what it's like 162 times a year."
When director David S. Ward asked Bob Uecker to play Harry Doyle in the film, Ward had chosen Uecker because of his acting work in Miller Lite ads and on the sitcom Mr. Belvedere (1985). It wasn't until Ward met Uecker did he learn that Uecker had been, for nearly 20 years, the radio broadcaster for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Charlie Sheen admitted to Sports Illustrated that he took steroids to prepare for his role. He believed the steroids he took caused him to increase his fastball to 85 MPH.
Harry Doyle's line "Just a bit outside", which became one of the film's more memorable and imitated catchphrases wasn't in the script. Bob Uecker improvised the line and several others under initial encouragement from David S Ward.
After Vaughn strikes out Heyward, he is congratulated in the dugout by a player named "Keltner". Ken Keltner was the 3rd baseman on the 1941 Indians whose fielding heroics ended Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hit streak.
Former Major League catcher Steve Yeager served as a coach for the actors in training for the movie, also serving as a stunt double for Tom Berenger in many scenes when Jake Taylor would make a throw from home plate or be in a home plate collision, as well as play third base coach Temple.
The scene when Harry Doyle dabs some Jack Daniels whiskey behind his ear was improvised by Bob Uecker. He said it was meant to show that his character liked whiskey so much that he would put some on himself (like perfume).
During the 2016 baseball season real-life Cleveland Indians players Jason Kipnis and Mike Napoli acquired two Jobu statues and set them up in a shrine in the team's locker room at Progressive Field. They initially placed an offering of vodka in it but then switched to rum, resulting in a 6-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in June. In July they even sacrificed a supermarket chicken to help end teammate Yan Gomes' slump.
Clu Haywood was based on former Yankees' Catcher Thurman Munson.
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 $62,500. Average household income in 1990 is roughly $30,000. So he was making a very respectable double the average household income.
Most of the filming was done during the summer of 1988, which was one of the hottest summers on record in Milwaukee. This is easily apparent in the final playoff game, where most of the players are wearing long sleeves and jackets to indicate a cool fall night, whereas almost all the fans in the stands are wearing short sleeve shirts and shorts.
In the final game, Willie Mays Hayes makes a great catch at the wall, in front of a Minnesota Twins banner. Hall-of-Famer Kirby Puckett (of the Twins) was legendary for his gravity-defying catches off the center-field wall, especially in the 1991 World Series. This catch was also rumored to pay special homage to Stormin' Gorman Thomas of the Milwaukee Brewers for his famous wall-catch in a game against the Baltimore Orioles, which preceded their trip to the world series in 1982
Fans pushed to have Charlie Sheen appear in his Rick (Wild Thing) Vaughn persona to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a 2016 World Series game played in Cleveland. Sheen said he was receptive to doing it, but Major League Baseball and the Indians had already decided on others to do it.
The home game scenes were filmed at Milwaukee's County Stadium, which has since been torn down, where Bob Uecker, who portrays announcer Harry Doyle, called games for the Brewers and played for the old Milwaukee Braves. The exterior stadium shots use Cleveland's Municipal Stadium, which has since been torn down.
While not particularly specified, many of the players in the movie seem to be based on, or inspired by, many former Major League stars. -Pedro Cerrano, according to 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 in the movie Major League, according to its author and director David S. 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 does mention early on that Taylor was an All-Star in Boston.
In a couple of press box scenes, Harry Doyle is shown with cups bearing the Miller Lite Beer logo. During the 1980's Bob Uecker, who played Doyle, appeared in several commercials for Miller Lite
Working title "Dead Last".
In the season opener game, a sign on the outfield wall displaying the Milwaukee Brewers logo can be clearly seen. Bernie Brewer's house and beer mug was dismantled for the shooting of the movie, as to not give the identity of the interior shots of the stadium.
The Yankees are described as the defending American League Champions. At the time of the movie's release the Yankees had last won the AL Pennant in 1981. The Oakland Athletics were the American League Champions the year of filming (1988), release (1989), and post release (1990). The Athletics swept the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series in the release year.
The Rachel Phelps character and her plan to move the Indians was inspired by real-life Minnesota Twins owner Calvin Griffith. In the 1970s, during the planning stages of constructing the Metrodome stadium, Griffith had negotiated for an escape clause in the team's lease which said that if the Twins' home attendance was under 1.4 million per season for three consecutive years, the team could be released from its contract and leave Minnesota. Like the Phelps character, Griffith let quality players depart via free agency and used cheap, inexperienced rookies and has-beens. The Twins lost 102 games in their first year in the Metrodome in 1982, then 92 games the year afterward, with attendance under 900,000 in each of those seasons. A group of investors from Tampa bought 42 percent of the team, and the Twins were on the verge of moving to Florida. To many fans, it appeared that Griffith had weaseled the escape clause into the contract and set up the roster so he could put it into practice. The situation was avoided when Griffith sold the Twins to banker Carl Pohlad. The Tampa group sold its minority stock to Pohlad, and the Twins remained in Minneapolis.
The restaurant where Lynn Wells (Rene Russo) is spotted on a date is in Milwaukee. It was at the time a gourmet restaurant, stood empty for a time and then was a Russian Restaurant and dance club. It again sat empty for a period and is currently (2005) a Baptist Church.
The film depicted a sparse crowd for Opening Day. Even though the Indians routinely drew sparse crowds during their lean years, they generally would have sell outs or near sell outs for Season or Home Openers.
When Willie Mays Hayes says he can "run like Hayes," he is referring to 'Bullet' Bob Hayes, an Olympic gold medalist sprinter who became a Hall of Fame wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers from 1965-1975. Once considered the fastest man alive as the holder of several world records, he is the only athlete to win an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring.
Roughly presages the 1995 Seattle Mariners situation: with a history of revolving-door, absentee ownership more concerned with the bottom line than championships, and the ever-present threat of relocation (Miami was the usual option until the Marlins were created; in '95 the suitor was Tampa Bay, and the Mariners' departure seemed imminent). However, the 95 Mariners went on an unprecedented run, tying the Angels on the last day of the season, and forcing a one-game playoff. After winning that game, in the 5th and deciding game of the playoffs versus a burgeoning Yankees dynasty, Seattle's ace Randy Johnson, came out of the bullpen (a la Wild Thing) to save the game. The game and series was won in extra innings by Edgar Martinez' iconic double down the left field line.
The vehicle that Willie Mays Hayes drives to opening day of spring training is a customized VW Beetle with a Rolls Royce grill, replacement trunk and hood ornament. The "Elegant Beetle" kit, as one was called, was popular in the mid-70s to the mid-80s until Rolls Royce sued a company responsible for one of the conversion kits. This kit may also have been referenced in the 1978 Cheech and Chong movie, Up in Smoke.
The movie was followed up by the sequel Major League II. One year after the sequel's release, the real life Indians would actually win their first AL Pennant since 1954, leading some to refer to the experience as Major League III.
Just before Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) gives up a home run to Heywood for the second time, Harry Doyle (Bob Uecker) goes over how the other runners got on base. One of the players he mentions is Bill Leff, who actually is the actor who plays Bobby James in the movie.
The shortstop for the Yankees in the final game wore number 2. Not long after this film was made, a Yankee shortstop wearing number 2 became a fixture there... And a hall of famer.
In real life, Charlie Sheen is an avid fan of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team.
Charlie Sheen had previously played real life Baseball Player Hap Felsch in the film Eight Men Out. Dennis Haysbert would later play the part of a fictional pro baseball player in the film Mr Baseball, as would Wesley Snipes in The Fan. James Gammon was also featured as a fictional Indians Manager on the 1990's TV series Homefront,
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Because of the stadium filmed in the movie and the fact that the Indians played a 'home' series at Milwaukee's new ballpark, the Indians were unofficially dubbed "The Cleveland Indians of Milwaukee." Coincidentally, the team they played was "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim."
Neil Flynn's film debut.
In April 2007, due to snow in Cleveland, the real Cleveland Indians were unable to open their home season at Jacobs Field. Miller Park in Milwaukee, which had been built as the replacement for Milwaukee County Stadium in the 1990s and had been constructed with a retractable dome, was chosen to be the 'stand-in' for the Indians' home turf.
Before Vaughn's first pitch to Haywood, he slammed his hand and glove together. This was inspired by former MLB closer Al Hrabosky, who famed that every time he entered a game.
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The performance of "Wild Thing" in this movie and the sequel, has one too many "shake it". It is actually "shake it, shake it wild thing", but in the movies it is "shake it, shake it, shake it wild thing".
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Jake is reading a copy of "Moby Dick" with the banner of fake publisher "Classic Comics" but later, on the team bus, he's reading comic copies of "The Deerslayer", "Song of Hiawatha", & "Crime & Punishment" with the real "Classics Illustrated" banner.
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Shots of the Scoreboard in the movie show a logo for WTMJ, the NBC Affiliate for Milwaukee.
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Rachel Phelps' ultimate goal was to move the Indians to Miami. In 1997, the real life Indians lost the World Series to the Miami based Florida Marlins.
In 1986, Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger portrayed American soldiers in the Vietnam war classic, Platoon. Sheen and Berenger's characters are enemies in Platoon. Sheen and Berenger's characters are friends in Major League.
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Toward the last act of the film, Lou Brown mentions to Charlie Donavan the Cleveland Indians are 60-61 after 121 games of 162 game season. In a team meeting after, Brown tells the players that he figures they will need to win 30 more games to win the division, or at least force the 1 game playoff with the New York Yankees. In order to win 30 games, the Indians have to go 30-11 and play .732 baseball. They do win the 30th game, and finish with the same record as the Yankees at 90-72 to force the 1 game playoff.
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It is likely that Ricky Vauhn was based on Ryan Duran, a Yankees pitcher of the Casey Stengel era. Duran had a 100mph fastball and eyeglasses thick as coke bottles. As Casey Stengel said "I would not admire hitting against Ryne Duren, because if he ever hit you in the head you might be in the past tense."
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Most notably Clu Haywood and The Duke are in major violation of the New York Yankees appearance and dress code policy. Haywood and Duke both have long hair, while Haywood has a goatee
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During spring training and the two coaches walk behind the plate to watch Sheen throw; the camera reverses and it appears he shatters the sign. A pitching machine was used instead.
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Steve Yeager (Duke Temple), former MLB catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, wore #7. Tom Berenger (Jake Taylor) wears #7.
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In real life, Margaret Whitton was actually a Yankees fan and season ticket holder.
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The performance of "Wild Thing" used in this film, officially credited to X, sounds a LOT like Joan Jett.
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Several cast co-stars took part in advance media PR following the USA premiere when between flights to visit Cannes Festival, which included attending the most densely packed (UK non-Award), celebrity event 'Save the Rose Theatre' campaigns, public PR day, May 1989. [See artist entry]
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Contrary to popular belief, there is no rule in baseball that says a batter must drop his bat before running the bases. He will not be called "out" for doing so, unless an umpire determines that his not dropping the bat gave him an undo advantage in running the bases. Of course, this would not apply in the case of a batter hitting a home run. The "drop you bat" rule is an unwritten rule of baseball that actually aids base runners, as carrying a bat would interfere with with the runner pumping his arms to gain speed.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the film's original ending, Rachel Phelps admits before the final game that her bitchy persona was all an act in order to fire up the players. She says had they not had a good season, the team might have gone bankrupt. Audiences preferred the bitchy Rachel, so the ending was re-shot to show her misery when the Indians won. The alternate ending appears on the Wild Thing Edition DVD.
A scene featuring the wedding of Jake Taylor and Lynn Wells was shot and to occur after the Indians victory over the Yankees in the end but it was deleted because the producers felt that the wedding scene would put the focus of the movie on Jake and Lynn and not the team.

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