10. Matthew McConaughey as Ben Williams, CF – Can’t you see McConaughey playing college baseball for the Longhorns, banging the Dean’s daughter on the pitcher’s mound after a big win? The guy looks like a solid lead-off hitter with some speed and a decent glove. “Angels in the Outfield” should’ve been re-named “Wooderson’s in the Outfield.”
9. Wesley Snipes as Willie Mays Hayes, CF – Snipes seems to find himself in a sports movie once every couple of years, but this was one of his first. As the trash-talking, base stealing Hayes, Snipes comes off as a poor-man’s Kenny Lofton, and could probably have taken some playing time from him had the “Major League” Indians gone to camp with the real Indians.
8. Sinbad as Andre Krimm, DE – “Necessary Roughness” is one of the all-time underrated sports movies of all time, with cameos by a ton of NFL Hall of Famers including Dick Butkus and Earl Campbell (not to mention Evander Holyfield for some reason …). But what put it over the top are two over-the-hill men joining a college team. Scott Bakula didn’t do it for me as a quarterback (even though he rocked in “Major League: Back to the Minors”), but Sinbad looked right at home with a helmet on. The guy is huge, and I could really see him chasing someone around the gridiron.
7. Timothy Busfield as Lou Collins, 1B – The guy just looks like a first baseman. Granted, I don’t see him as the power hitter the movie portrays him to be, but he’s a good club-house guy, he gets the clutch hits when the Twins need him and he looked good in the glove in “Little Big League.”
6. Kim Wayans as Latisha Jansen, PF – What, I can’t give the WNBA some love? “Juwanna Mann” is a funny movie if you’ve never seen it, and this sister of all those Wayans’ boys is perfect – she plays a big, ugly forward who comes off as a sort of bi-sexual version of Lisa Leslie. I could see her in the league. Actually, I think I have …
5. Andrew Bryniarski as Steve Lattimer, DT – As good as this guy was in “Any Given Sunday,” he was ten times better as a steroid-abusing defensive lineman in “The Program.” The guy was a bodybuilder before he made it into some movies, so he has the size, and if you’ve ever seen this movie, you’d know he’s got the intensity to bust some heads.
4. LL Cool J as Julian Washington, RB – “Any Given Sunday” had Terrell Owens in it, Ricky Watters in it and a plethora of NFL icons, and LL Cool J was able to hold his own and look like he belonged out on that field. Oliver Stone directed this movie, and actually kicked people off the set who’d lied about their football experience (like Sean “P. Puff Diddy Daddy” Combs, who was originally cast as the quarterback Jamie Foxx played). Actually, before LL was cast, Stone auditioned a bunch of actors for the role, including Darnell Autry, but said “none of them looked like they could be pro football players.” (Autry, by the way, played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears and even appeared on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” when his Northwestern team upset a loaded Penn State team that featured three of the top 10 picks in that years NFL Draft.)
3. Benicio Del Toro as Juan Primo, OF – Most people would watch this movie and simply say, “Man, what was Robert De Niro thinking?” or “Man, Wesley Snipes looks just like Barry Bonds!” but I look at this movie and think, “Man, Del Toro looks like a ballplayer.” Playing fan-favorite Juan Primo, Del Toro is a big, cocky Latino ball player who ultimately gets killed in a sauna by De Niro, but not before showing off a Major League swing like Pujols and some glove work like Vizquel.
2. Kevin Costner as Crash Davis, C – Since it tops most lists as the best sports movie ever, you have to figure it’s because “Bull Durham” has a real ball-player feel to it, and you get almost 100% of that from Costner. I’m not saying this guy could push Johnny Bench out of the Hall of Fame, but he seems like the type of strong defensive catcher who hits 8th on an NL team and is a fan-favorite. A Sal Fasano for the movie world.
1. Dennis Haysbert as Pedro Cerrano, OF – I don’t know if you see it, but this guy reminds me of a more in-shape David Ortiz. He’s a big, black, bald stud of a hitter who can’t hit a curveball, can’t really play the field, but he’s a fantasy stud with those long-balls and RBIs. Haysbert nailed the role of Cerrano in all three of the “Major League” movies, and I’ve never been in a MLB locker room, but I can imagine that there is one nut like him in there … talking to his bats, using voodoo to hit a splitter, etc. Pedro Cerrano isn’t number one in your program, but he’s number one on my list.