12-year-old Henry Rowengartner, whose late father was a minor league baseball player, grew up dreaming of playing baseball, despite his physical shortcomings. Although he's close to his mother Mary, Henry hates Mary's latest boyfriend, Jack Bradfield. After Henry's arm is broken while trying to catch a baseball at school, the tendon in that arm heals too tightly, allowing Henry to throw pitches that are as fast as 103 mph. Henry is spotted at nearby Wrigley Field by Larry "Fish" Fisher, the general manager of the struggling Chicago Cubs, after Henry throws an opponent's home-run ball all the way from the outfield bleachers back to the catcher, and it seems that Henry may be the pitcher that team owner Bob Carson has been praying for. At first, Cubs manager Sal Martinella doesn't like Henry being on the team, but despite the rawness of his talent, Henry revives everyone's team spirit and reignites the enthusiasm of the fans. While money hungry Jack pulls strings behind the scenes to ...Written by
After Henry throws the ball back from the bleachers, general manager Fisher sends his assistant to find out who threw the ball. When he returns to the owner's box (at around 40 mins) you can clearly see that there are no fans in the bleachers. This contradicts the numerous fans that are in the bleachers when Henry throws the ball back in the scene before. See more »
Cliff Murdoch - Announcer:
Opening Day at Wrigley, and oh what a sight! The diamond, the decorations, and the dread of yet another losing season.
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Special thanks are given to "The people of Chicago who never give up" See more »
A mostly-vanilla film existing in an already overblown genre
Rookie of the Year is just about as genial as a baseball movie of the nineties can be before it becomes a tad too grating for my personal tastes. The film dances on a line between being too concerned with ridiculous humor and too fixated on creating a sentimental environment that, between those two things, has difficultly really making one enjoy the fun of the baseball game at hand.
The film stars Thomas Ian Nicholas as the ambitious youngster Henry Rowengartner, a twelve-year-old Little League player with dreams of playing in the major leagues for his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. His dream is often mocked by his friends and classmates, as Henry isn't a very good player and has quite a clumsy aura about him. In an attempt to catch a ball thrown by one of the school's bullies, Henry slips on another ball lying on the ground and breaks his arm, having to wrap it in a thick and relatively debilitating cast. When the arm finally heals, the doctor removes the cast to reveal that Henry's tendons have healed very tightly, with Henry able to cock his arm back and fire a ball with incomparable force.
His talents are shown throwing a foul ball back to home plate from the stands at a Chicago Cubs game, prompting the Cubs to contract the youngest player in MLB history as the team's starting pitcher. Henry couldn't be happier, but earns some justified opposition and hesitance from the team's aging pitcher Chet "Rocket" Steadman (Busey), one of Henry's idols. Despite his good-nature and kind spirits, Henry's presence has the ability to ruffle feathers and occasionally upset his teammates, and also makes him the target for his mother's greedy boyfriend Jack (Bruce Altman), who looks to take advantage of him and his abilities.
Rookie of the Year inevitably suffers comparison to Little Big League, another nineties baseball film that was more-or-less eclipsed by the success and familiarity of this film just a year later. While Little Big League did a fine job at illustrating what could potentially happen if an eleven-year-old was left to his own wits to manage a Major League Baseball team he inherited, Rookie of the Year deals with an equally unlikely story in a less interesting manner. Despite all efforts by director Daniel Stern (famous for his role as one of the burglars in both Home Alone films among many other comedies) and writer Sam Harper, Rookie of the Year only manages to be a fair and humbly likable picture, light on its humor elements with more emphasis placed on redundant, and occasionally crude, gags.
The nineties was already a time where baseball films were a dime a dozen, with films being made for children and adults alike. I'm holding Rookie of the Year to the works of the era, like A League of Their Own, Little Big League, and, everybody's favorite, The Sandlot. The film's funniest scenes come from the uncredited John Candy, who plays the Cubs announcer always eager to bet against them. With all of this in mind, Rookie of the Year is harmless and cheery, like its protagonist, always bearing a good heart and a clear mind, but admittedly, pretty forgettable.
Starring: Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey, Dan Hedaya, Bruce Altman, Daniel Stern, and John Candy. Directed by: Daniel Stern.
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