Open main menu

Rookie of the Year (film)

Rookie of the Year is a 1993 American sports comedy film starring Thomas Ian Nicholas and Gary Busey as players for the Chicago Cubs baseball team. The cast also includes Albert Hall, Dan Hedaya, Eddie Bracken, Amy Morton, Bruce Altman, John Gegenhuber, Neil Flynn, Daniel Stern (who also directed) and John Candy in an uncredited role.

Rookie of the Year
Rookie of the year.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDaniel Stern
Produced byRobert Harper
Written bySam Harper
Music byBill Conti
CinematographyJack N. Green
Edited by
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 9, 1993 (1993-07-09)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$31 million[1]
Box office$56.5 million[2]


Henry Rowengartner, an unskilled Little Leaguer, dreams of playing in the major leagues, and breaks his arm catching a fly ball. When the doctor removes the cast, he discovers Henry's tendons have healed "a little too tight", enabling Henry to pitch with incredible force.

At Wrigley Field during a Chicago Cubs game, Henry's friends get a home run ball hit by the visiting Montreal Expos. Returning the ball to the field, Henry throws so hard that it reaches home plate, 435 feet away. Desperate to save the club from declining attendance, general manager Larry Fisher looks to recruit Henry. Manager Sal Martinella visits Henry at home with a radar gun, and discovers that Henry can pitch at over 100 miles per hour (160 km/h). For the remainder of the season, Henry juggles the culture shock of playing in the major leagues alongside one of his heroes, aging pitcher Chet "Rocket" Steadman, and socializing. Henry's mother, Mary, tries to keep him grounded while resisting attempts by her boyfriend, Jack, and Fisher to exploit him.

Henry's first game is a relief appearance against the New York Mets, where his first pitch gives up a home run to the Mets' arrogant slugger Heddo, but he manages to get his first save. Despite wanting to quit, Henry improves under Steadman’s tutoring and records a second consecutive save against the San Francisco Giants, and his first MLB strikeout.

Continuing to impress, Henry bats for the first time in a road game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He frustrates the pitcher with his small stature and tiny strike zone, to the point that he walks Henry on four straight high pitches. He further taunts the pitcher at first and second base, and the pitcher retaliates by hitting the next batter, but Henry scores a run.

The Cubs are winning, and Henry is growing in pitching success and fame. His personal life becomes strained as his friends grow jealous, and Mary breaks up with Jack when he tricks her into signing a contract to join the New York Yankees. Henry resolves the conflict with his friends, and team owner Bob Carson explains he never authorized a deal with the Yankees and wants to retain Henry. Disappointed that Henry will retire at the end of the season, Carson respects Henry's decision, and demotes Fisher to Hot Dog Salesman after learning he tried to set up the deal.

On the last day of the season, the Cubs face the Mets again at Wrigley Field, with Steadman starting. If the Cubs triumph, they win the division title and move on to the World Series. Steadman pitches well, but injures his arm tagging a runner out at home. He turns the ball over to Henry, who easily strikes out the side in the seventh and eighth innings. At the top of the ninth, Henry slips on a baseball, reversing the effects of his first fall and reducing his arm strength to normal.

Henry frustrates the Cubs and their fans by intentionally walking the other team. He explains to his teammates why he can no longer throw fastballs, and sends them back to their positions with a plan. With their cooperation, Henry sneaks the ball to the first baseman, who tags the runner out. Henry walks the next batter, with whom he trades insults. When the runner dares him to throw the ball high, Henry does so but stops as the runner takes off for second and is tagged out, setting up a final showdown with Heddo. Henry throws a changeup, which Heddo misses, and his next hit is ruled a foul ball. Henry opens his glove to find not his father's name, but Mary's. In the stands, she signals him to throw a floater. He does so and strikes out a shocked Heddo, winning the division title for the Cubs.

The next spring, Henry plays Little League again with Mary and Steadman as his team's coaches. After catching a home run ball that ensures his team's victory, Henry raises his fist to reveal a Cubs World Series championship ring, signifying his role in the Cubs' World Series victory.


Filming locationsEdit

Filming took place on location at, among other venues, Wrigley Field (including in between games of a doubleheader on September 19, 1992, [3]between the Cubs and the rival St. Louis Cardinals) and O'Hare Airport. However, the road game against the Dodgers was filmed at Comiskey Park.


The film has received a 35% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews from 20 critics.[4][5][6][7]

The film was a box office success.[8][9][10]

Following the film's release, Nicholas threw out the first pitch at Cubs games and was invited to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame multiple times during the customary 7th-inning stretch. During the 2015 National League Championship Series where the Cubs faced the Mets as they did in the movie, he attended Game 4 in a Rowengartner #1 jersey similar to what he wore during the film.[11]

Following the Cubs' win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series to win their first championship since 1908, Nicholas, in celebration, tweeted the final shot from the movie of Henry showing his Cubs World Series ring.[12] Furthermore, director Daniel Stern briefly reprised his role of Brickma following the win.


  1. ^ "Rookie of the Year – PowerGrind". The Wrap. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  2. ^ "Rookie of the Year". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Rookie of the Year at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Rookie Of The Year Movie Review (1993) - Roger Ebert".
  6. ^ Holden, Stephen (July 7, 1993). "Review/Film; The Last Unspoiled Bonus Baby".
  7. ^ WILMINGTON, MICHAEL (7 July 1993). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Rookie of the Year' Squanders Chance for an Extra-Base Hit".
  8. ^ FOX, DAVID J.; Co, SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations (13 July 1993). "Weekend Box Office : The Number-Crunchers Are Smiling".
  9. ^ FOX, DAVID J. (20 July 1993). "Weekend Box Office : So Far, This Is Summer to Beat".
  10. ^ FOX, DAVID J. (26 July 1993). "'Poetic' Finds Justice at Box Office : Movies: The film takes largest share of weekend ticket sales, despite decision by one Cineplex theater not to run it".
  11. ^ "Rookie of the Year actor Thomas Ian Nicholas heads to Chicago to try changing Cubs' luck" by Arash Markazi ESPN
  12. ^ @TinBAND: "Amazing! @Cubs win the #WorldSeries 2016" Thomas Ian Nicholas on Twitter

External linksEdit