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Little Big League  is a 1994 film about an 11-year-old who suddenly becomes the owner and then manager of the Minnesota Twins baseball team.

Plot

The start of the film explains about the life of Billy Heywood (Luke Edwards), a preteen son to a widowed single mom, Jenny (Ashley Crow). He and his two friends, Chuck and Joey, play on the same Little League Baseball team. Billy's grandfather is Thomas Heywood (Jason Robards, Jr.), owner of the Minnesota Twins. They are a last-place team (the real-life Twins finished second in the American League West in 1992 and were World Series champs in 1991, but finished poorly and began an eight-year slump in the spring of 1993), but Billy and his grandfather absolutely love each other, the Twins, and the game of baseball. When Thomas dies, it is revealed that he wanted Billy to inherit the franchise and specified that if Billy was still a minor, Thomas' aides would help him along until Billy was old enough to run the team himself.

Billy quickly runs afoul of the team's current manager, George O'Farell, (Dennis Farina), whom Billy believes is too hard on the players. O'Farrell despises the idea of working for a kid; after he insults Billy to his face and tells him to butt out of the team's business, Billy fires him. After he has difficulty finding a professional manager to replace O'Farrell (no one particularly wants to work for a kid,) he decides to name himself the new manager after one of his friends points out, "It's the American League! They have the DH! How hard can it be?" The players are very skeptical of Billy as manager, but Billy promises that if he does not improve the team's standings within a few weeks, he'll resign as manager. But the team improves considerably and moves up to division race contention. Unfortunately, not all is going smoothly for Billy, as his friend and star first baseman Lou Collins (Timothy Busfield) takes a romantic interest in Billy's mother. Billy picks up bad habits on the road, is ejected from a game (and later given a one game "suspension" by his mother) for swearing at an umpire, and must release his personal favorite Twins player, Jerry Johnson (Duane Davis), who is "past his prime". He ends up making Jerry feel worse about it when Billy immaturely tries to illustrate his own distress by pointing out he has his baseball card. The pressures of managing the team while also fulfilling his other responsibilities, such as schoolwork, wear him down and consume his free time--Billy's friends do not like how Billy's managerial responsiblites are keeping him away from being with them; even when he's physically present (as opposed to on the road with the team,) he is typically distracted by team business. Lou goes into a slump and the jealous Billy benches him, sending the Twins into a losing skid. Billy later tells his mom that he's tired of being a "grown-up" and decides to quit as manager after the end of the season.

At the climax, they are set to play the final game of the season, against Ken Griffey, Jr. and the Seattle Mariners, with the American League Wild Card playoff spot on the line. Eventually, with two outs in the bottom of the twelfth inning, losing by a run with a man on base, Lou tells Billy he asked his mom to marry him. He says she replied to ask Billy. Billy says if he hits a homer, he will. But then he changes his mind, and lets him marry Jenny anyway. The film strays from the traditional sports movie formula by having the Twins lose the big game thanks to Griffey taking away Lou's home run by way of a spectacular catch (for which Griffey is known in real life). After the game, Billy officially tells the players he is stepping down as manager, and that pitching coach Mac Macnally (John Ashton) will become the new manager as well as bringing back Jerry as the new hitting coach. He then reassures the players that he will still be the owner, and says that he might come back as manager if junior high doesn't work out. But not before he and the rest of the team receive a standing ovation from everyone in Hubert H.marker Humphrey Metrodomemarker.

Cast



Trivia



  • Arthur Goslin's surname is a reference to legendary Washington Senators player Goose Goslin (the Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961 to become the Twins).




  • The trick play Bowers (Jonathan Silverman) executes towards Griffey in the final game is of questionable legality. Depending if he stepped off the rubber and then threw the ball versus the quick pivot move towards first, the former in which you can keep the ball, make the play legal. Baseball rules state a throw must be made to first base during a pickoff move or the throw is a balk if using the quick move. Because we cannot see Bowers' feet, the play will still be called into question. However, the play was used successfully in real life in the 1982 College World Series by Miamimarker against Wichita Statemarker.
  • In the final game against Seattle, Micky Scales' home run goes over the left field wall that also includes a glass fence. But, when Lou Collins hits the ball that Ken Griffey, Jr. robs in left center, the glass fence is no longer visible.
  • Historical baseball players referenced include Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Fred Lindstrom, Jackie Robinson, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Ted Williams, Fleet Walker and Roger Clemens.
  • Little Big League is given an oblique reference in the 1998 film Major League: Back to the Minors, which also features the Twins. A #4 Lou Collins Twins jersey hangs framed in the owner's suite at the Metrodome.
  • Baseball ruled in the 1950s that managers having a financial stake in the team they manage was a conflict of interest, and after Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner named himself manager in May 1977, the rule was reiterated and Turner compelled to step down.
  • The starting pitcher of the playoff game is named as Bill Wedman. Bill Wegman was, in fact, a right-handed pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. When the unnamed actor pitches for the Twins he is pitching left-handed.
  • Before becoming an actor, Scott Patterson (Mike McGrevey) pitched for the minor league affiliates of the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, and Texas Rangers. Bradley Jay Lesley ("Blackout" Gatling) pitched for the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Scenes taking place in opposing parks were all shot at Comiskey Parkmarker except for Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.


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