What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Charley Pegler – Brewster’s Millions
Charley Pegler would the perfect manager for the Cubs, as he knows how to deal apparently self-destructive people. If you don’t remember the plot, Richard Pryor plays a minor-league pitcher who inexplicably inherits a shitload of money on the proviso he wastes $30 million in 30 days. Naturally, everybody thinks the cheese has slipped off his cracker, but it is Pegler who is able keep the focus on baseball, at least on the diamond. Who better for a dysfunctional organization like the Cubs?
Jackie Robinson ‘J.R.’ Cooper – The Kid from Left Field
Only in the movies can the “What Choo Talkin’ ‘Bout, Willis” kid lead the San Diego Padres to a World Series. Or is it the San Diego Padres can only win a World Series in the movies?
Uchiyama – Mr. Baseball
In order to get this reference, you have to understand the actor who played Uchiyama, Ken Takakura, is regarded as the “Clint Eastwood” of Japan. Let’s be honest, just how freakin’ awesome would it be to have “Dirty Harry” as a manager? Get your bets down on the first umpire he would waste (I’ve got “dibs” on Joe West)
Jimmy Dugan – A League of Their Own
Sometimes the coach is the one who needs to learn some leadership. Dugan is a former slugger put out to pasture because a knee injury and the fact that he is a liquor sponge ended his productive days, but he remains a big enough name to serve as a box-office draw. Somehow, he sobers up enough to utter the classic line “There’s no crying in baseball!”
Dutch Schnell – Bang the Drum Slowly
In a movie that mixes the Americana of baseball with the reality of slow, debilitating death, Schnell is always looking for ways to reveal that he is a rough diamond with a heart of coal. Even though his catcher is dying, Dutch believes he is the game, and the team, and the all the hopes therein. Schnell permeates the movie with a comic diligence that denies the character even the semblance of second-rate decency. In other words, he is Billy Martin, the quintessential Yankee manager.
Pop Fisher – The Natural
Here’s the part where I’m going to sound like some fruity-cup English Lit major who smokes clove cigarettes and oozes smarminess, but Pop Fisher represents almost a perfect baseball version of the Arthurian “Fisher King.” He is the ailing king with the strange and inexplicable illness and there is an inextricable link between his health and that of the land. Without the Holy Grail (the pennant), Pop can never be truly healed. While the team is in last place, their field is desiccated waste land; the players are all depressed, even the water in the dugout isn’t fit for drinking. However upon Roy Hobbs’ first hit, the clouds burst forth with rain for three straight days, Pop’s health improves as the Knights do better and better. However, Hobbs is an anti-Percival, and when he ultimately fails, Pop is left with his waste land.
Joe Riggins – Bull Durham
Just on the strength of one of the greatest baseball scenes ever…”You guys…You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry! Lollygaggers!”
Lou Brown – Major League
Most of Brown’s memorable lines are delivered in the salty, burly manner you want in a baseball manager. Just looking at some of his classic lines on the page, you can just hear them coming out of his mouth…
Morris Buttermaker – The Bad News Bears (Walter Matthau, not Billy Bob Thornton)
What better choice is there for a team of misfits than a short-tempered, foul-mouthed, alcoholic? Despite the fact he throws a beer can at one kid and calls another a ”booger-eating moron,” he ultimately gets it across to these kids in his own drunken, slovenly way that perseverance, teamwork, and self-respect are more important than winning.