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
Filming for the Little League scenes took place at the Little League fields at the park district in Westmont, Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago. Some locals were used as extras in the stands on the field. See more »
Henry could not be sold outright to the Yankees (or any other team) as shown in the movie. Any contract between Henry and The Cubs couldn't be transferred to the Yankees unless he was traded. Henry would only be able to sign a contract with the Yankees until his Cubs contract expired, which would make him a free agent. 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 »
"Rookie of the Year" is one of my favorite baseball movies. One of the things I liked the most about this movie is that it's set in Chicago, my hometown. Most of the action in the film takes place at Wrigley Field, home of the long suffering Chicago Cubs. It's about a clumsy 12-year-old boy named Henry Rowengartner, who loves to play baseball. However, the kid can't do anything right on the field. One day, trying to impress a girl, he tries to catch a fly ball. But ends up slipping on a baseball lying on the ground and in the process breaks his right arm. After four months of recouperation, the cast comes off. Afterwards Henry's mother gives him and his two best friends tickets to the latest Cubs game. The three boys are sitting in the bleachers when a home run is hit. The ball lands close to where they're sitting and one of Henry's friends recovers the ball. The fans sitting nearby yell at the kid to throw it back on to the field. The kid doesn't want to do it and gives the ball to Henry's other friend who ends up giving the ball to Henry. He agrees to do it. Then an amazing thing happens. Henry not only throws the ball back on to the field, he throws the ball all the way to home plate! The crowd is in stunned silence after seeing this. Who threw that ball? is the question on everyone's mind. When the owners find out it's Henry, they ask him if he would like to pitch for the Cubs. Henry goes bonkers and agrees to pitch. After throwing some practice pitches, the owners and managers discover that he has a 100 m.p.h. fastball. They think this could be the perscription the Cubs need since they're already going through another disasterous season (which is all too familiar in real life). Henry becomes the star rookie of the team as the closer. And the Cubs start winning and begin to turn their season around. "Rookie of the Year" has alot of big laughs and a terrific cast. There are four memorable performances in this film. Thomas Ian Nicholas is wonderful as Henry. This actor has grown up since this film (he was most recently seen in the hit film "American Pie"), but he's in a role to remember; Gary Busey is also very good as the aging star pitcher known as 'The Rocket' who helps out Henry in certain spots; Albert Hall as the Cubs manager who repeatedly keeps mispronouncing Henry's last name in different formats; and Amy Morton, a Chicago stage actress, as Henry's mother Mary. Some of the most effective moments in the film are with the boy and his mom. Also there are hilarious smaller performances by Eddie Bracken as the Cubs owner; John Candy as the Cubs broadcast announcer; and Daniel Stern (who also directed) in the film's goofiest role as the dim-witted pitching coach. "Rookie of the Year" has the usual predictable sports ending, but since this film is so much fun, who cares. There is one obvious continuity error in the film. When they fly to L.A. to play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, you can tell they're really playing at Comiskey Park, home of Chicago's other baseball team, the White Sox. You can tell just by that, that this film was shot entirely in Chicago. "Rookie of the Year" is a baseball winner in my book.
***1/2 (out of four)
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