Monday, July 19, 2010

"Major League" manager

The name of character actor James Gammon, who died Friday at age 70, from cancer didn't really ring a bell with me. That is, until I started reading what movies and TV shows he appeared in, some 135 in all.

For someone who loves sports and and covered sports for 25 years, ironically, I'm not a huge sports movie fan. But "Major League" from 1989 is easily one of my favorites.

The plot was a little lame, but the movie pulled it off in style. The new female owner of the Cleveland Indians put together a purposely horrible team so they will lose in a huge way and sell the team. But the team of cast-offs and misfits uncover the plot, start winning and you can probably guess the rest if you haven't seen it.

Gammon was gruff, but likeable Indians manager Lou Brown. He had a voice that made it sound like he gargled with gravel. Brown was manager of a tire store when he was asked to manage the Tribe.

"Let me get back to you, Charlie," Brown said. "I got a guy on the line asking about white walls."

One of misfits was stylish centerfield by the name of Willie Mays Hayes. In a movie of memorable lines, this exchange was right up there:

Hayes: "I'm Willie Mays Hayes. I hit like Mays and run like Hayes."

Brown: "You may run like Hayes, but you hit like -----."

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