June 7, 2018
The film “Little Big League” from 1994, directed by Andrew Scheinman, has a definite Washington connection. The premise of the movie is that a 12-year-old, played by Luke Edwards, inherits the Minnesota Twins from his long-time owner/grandfather (modeled on Calvin Griffith and played by Jason Robards Jr.). The grandfather tells of how as a youngster he saw Walter Johnson pitch. The Twins GM is named Goslin, hardly a coincidence. And, of course, it is the Twins, nee Senators.
Although I’m sure most folks see this as a kids film, I consider it one of the best baseball movies ever. Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr, Lou Pinella (did you know he was a Nat in the spring of 1963?) and other big leaguers at the time play themselves. Kevin Elster and Leon Durham are Twins players as members of the cast.
The 12-year-old owner, dismissed and insulted by the manager who was hired by his grandfather and played by Dennis Farina (who you well may have seen on TV in “Law and Order”) fires Farina and makes himself the manager.
With the Twins in a one-game playoff for a post-season berth, the third baseman lets a ball go through his legs, which allows the go-ahead run to score. The young manager sits beside him on the bench and tells of how in the 1924 series, a ball got by the third baseman and a run scored. But when that player got up in the bottom of the inning, he got a game-winning hit.
After the Twins player gets in the on-deck circle, the much-older pitching coach tells the kid that the ball that got by the third baseman in 1924 let the winning run score (in game seven, giving Washington’s A.L. team its only World Championship). The kid manager says to coach, “I know that. He doesn’t.”
Just one of many funny scenes in an under-rated baseball film.