Chicago Cubs: A deep dive into the 1993 classic movie Rookie of the Year

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images) /

The inexplicable career of the Chicago Cubs 12-year-old phenom relief pitcher, Henry Rowengartner is a welcome distraction during the events of today.

In the 1993 movie Rookie of the Year, 12-year-old Henry Rowengartner breaks his right arm and after he heals, discovers that he can throw a baseball 100 mph. He becomes a stud relief pitcher for the Chicago Cubs and we assume, wins the NL Rookie of the Year. It’s a classic film that every Cubs fan knows and loves, but what most fans don’t know is Rowengartner’s performance throughout the movie.

More from Cubbies Crib

How would someone describe Henry Rowengartner’s pitching arsenal? He was Kyle Farnsworth before Kyle Farnsworth. I have a friend who described Farnsworth as a guy who had two pitches: a fastball and ball that went over the fence.

Needless to say, Rowengartner only had one pitch: a 100 MPH fastball. Throughout his short career, he’s told to “throw the heat” countless times and the tutelage pretty much ends there.

During his tryout, Rowengartner throws three pitches over 100 mph and is immediately awarded a major league contract. He’s now a big leaguer with zero time spent in the minors to hone his one and only pitch.

After just his second appearance, Pepsi signs him as a spokesperson for their brand. I broke down his stats from each in-game appearance he made.

Career stats (seven movie appearances)

1st appearance against the Mets

0.1 IP, 1 ER (HR), HBP, WP, SV (1)

2nd appearance against the Giants

1 IP, 0 ER, HBP, K, SV (2)

3rd appearance against the Dodgers

0.1 IP, K; BB, 1 run scored

4th, 5th, 6th appearances: strikeout montage

1 IP, 3 K (notable punchouts: Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds)

7th appearance against the Mets

3 IP, 7 K, 2 IBB

His seventh appearance was his last because during the last inning against the Mets, Rowengartner slips and falls on his right arm again. This fall loosened the tendon in his right arm forcing him to lose his 100-mph fastball. However, with the ingenious remedy of “hot ice” courtesy of pitching coach Phil Brickma, Rowengartner and the Cubs win the World Series at the end of the movie.

If you’re missing Cubs baseball, this family movie is great to watch while we’re all quarantined. Daniel Stern, who plays Brickma and directed the movie, delivers several hilarious lines.

Brickma’s top 3 lines

  1. Hot ice
  2. The R’s: readiness, recuperation and conditioning
  3. Let the big dog eat

Henry Rowengartner, played by Thomas Ian Nicholas, is clearly going through puberty throughout the filming of this movie. His voice cracks every time he talks, which is a real treat. We don’t know when baseball will return, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fill our lives with tremendous baseball content right now. If you’re looking for other good baseball movies to watch while under quarantine, here are some flicks you can stream at home:

The Natural (Netflix)

PBS Documentary: Ted Williams (Netflix)

Baseball: A Documentary Film by Ken Burns (PBS)

61* (HBO GO/NOW)

The Rookie (Disney+)

I’d love to go into more detail about Rookie of the Year, but I gotta ask my mom first.