Amidst all of the nostalgic things have have happened over the course of the last few weeks1, the one that may ultimately mean the most to Cleveland fans is the 25th anniversary of the release of Major League, which opened in theatres on April 7, 1989.
Writer/director David S. Ward, whose other credits include “The Sting” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” endeavored to make a baseball movie involving his beloved Cleveland Indians as he was a long-suffering Tribe fan who grew up in South Euclid, Ohio. With the help of Ricky Vaugh, Jake Taylor, Coach Lou Brown, Roger Dorn and Harry Doyle, Major League became a No. 1 hit at the box office and ultimately one of the most beloved baseball films of all time.
The delightful chaps over at Big League Stew decided to break out 15 things that even the most hardcore Major League fans may have not known, including the facts that Charlie Sheen took steroids for his role as the Tribe’s erratic pitcher, and that Dennis Haysbert—who played the lovable Pedro Cerrano—really was hitting home runs.
As Cerrano, the Cuban import who hit balls “very much,” Haysbert had the honor of being the film’s power hitter. Truth was, it wasn’t totally fiction. Haysbert was the only member of the fictitious Indians who could actually clear the yard.
“Every time I was supposed to hit a home run in the movie, I did,” Haysbert says.
It’s a fact that Ward backs up. “He was so jacked by that,” Ward says. “He said, ‘I don’t think I’ll ever do anything more exciting as an actor.’ ”
Haysbert didn’t play baseball past Little League, instead playing football, basketball and running track in high school. His 6-foot-4 frame, though, gave him plenty of baseball power. Haysbert had so much fun shooting “Major League,” after the film wrapped, he says he joined an adult men’s hardball league.
It’s also worth digging up this brilliant oral history of the “1989 Championship Team” that was published over at The Score last summer. I proudly still own Major League on VHS. The fact that I don’t even own a VCR plays nary a role in holding on to it. I’ll be shocked if another baseball movie can ever top it, and I’ll stand in my front yard and wave my rake at anyone who dares say otherwise.