- Mr. Baseball
- Mr. Baseball is also the self-applied nickname of Bob Uecker, who appears in the Major League movies.
Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Fred Schepisi Produced by Fred Schepisi
Written by Theo Pelletier (story)
John Junkerman (story)
Gary Ross (screenplay)
Kevin Wade (screenplay)
Starring Tom Selleck
Music by Jerry Goldsmith Distributed by Universal Pictures Release date(s) October 2, 1992 Running time 108 min. Language English
Jack Elliot is an aging American baseball player put on the trading block by the New York Yankees in favor of a rookie first-baseman (played by former Chicago White Sox player Frank Thomas), and there's only one taker: the Nagoya Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.
Right away, the arrogant Elliot clashes with the Japanese culture and he soon alienates his new teammates. He believes the rules and management style of his new skipper, Uchiyama (Ken Takakura), are ludicrous, and continues to do things his way, which leads his already dwindling performance to suffer more. His only ally on the team is another American ballplayer, Max "Hammer" Dubois (Dennis Haysbert), but even he's fed up with Jack's attitude and lack of respect for the game and his team.
At the same time, Elliot develops a relationship with the beautiful Hiroko (Aya Takanashi), who is, he later finds out, Uchiyama's daughter.
After one too many outbursts, including punching out his interpreter (during a brawl), Elliot is suspended. After meeting Hiroko's family, including Uchiyama, Uchiyama admits to Jack that he hired him over the objections of Management (they wanted Pete Clifton from Boston) and now his own career, not just Jack's, is in jeopardy. After hearing this, he swallows his pride and admits his deficiencies. In a rare show of humility, he apologizes to the team, who rally around him and teach him the value of sportsmanship and respect for hard work. Uchiyama lifts his suspension and begins to work with Elliot on improving his play. The reinvigorated Elliot's enthusiasm for team play is contagious and the mediocre Dragons become contenders for the Central League pennant. In the process, he also utilizes a Japanese tradition of being able to tell off Uchiyama while intoxicated to convince him to encourage his players to be more aggressive and "have a little fun".
Eventually, Elliot gets the opportunity to break Uchiyama's record of seven consecutive games with a home run. His new-found respect for team play becomes apparent in a crucial game against the Yomiuri Giants. With the bases loaded, two outs and his team down 6-5, the team brass expects Uchiyama to signal for a bunt to try and tie the game, even though it would deny Elliot the chance to break the home run record. Elliot goes to Uchiyama and asks if he read the sign correctly. Uchiyama nods and tells him to swing away, knowing that a home run would break his record. Elliot takes a called strike one with a questionable call on the first pitch. Elliot fouls the second pitch back. Faced with a no ball, two strike count, Elliot sees the Giants' infield is playing deep and bunts. The Giants are caught off guard and the bunt is successful in allowing the tying run to cross. As the Giants struggle to field the ball, Elliot runs through and knocks over one of the Giants' players (a fellow American expat who had mocked Elliot previously), which causes a throwing error and allows the winning run to score from second base.
With the Dragons winning the pennant, Max and Elliot return to Major League Baseball. Max signs a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending his five year career in NPB, and Elliot, who is married to Hiroko, becomes a coach and mentor with the Detroit Tigers. The movie ends with one of the players calling him chief, the same name he called Uchiyama in Japan.
The movie debuted at No.3.
- ^ "Review/Film; Lessons In Baseball (And Life) In Japan". The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9E0CE2DF1E3CF931A35753C1A964958260. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
- ^ "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Mr. Baseball' a Culture-Clash Comedy". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-10-02/entertainment/ca-332_1_fred-schepisi. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
- ^ "Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-10-06/entertainment/ca-393_1_weekend-gross. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
Films directed by Fred Schepisi 1970sThe Devil's Playground (1976) · The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010sThe Eye of the Storm (2011) Chunichi Dragons Formerly the Nagoya Club, Sangyo, Chūbu Nippon and Nagoya Dragons • Based in Nagoya, Aichi The FranchiseChunichi Shimbun • History • Seasons • Records • Players • Managers • Broadcasters Ballparks CultureMr. Baseball Retired Numbers10 • 15 Japan Series
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