By Jim Baker
Special to Page 3
Character: Charlie Snow, a.k.a. Carlos Nevada, a.k.a. Chief Takahoma
Actor: Richard Pryor
Movie: "The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars & Motor Kings" (1976)
Implied playing ability: It is pretty much understood that anyone who is invited by Bingo to participate in the barnstorming tour is the best available player at their position.
Why you should vote for him: Should you laugh or cry at his desperate attempts to pass himself as anything but African-American so he can get into the major leagues? Pryor's faux-Cuban accent is certainly funny and he has some other pretty amusing moments trying to explain how to calculate a batting average.
Character: Bump Bailey
Actor: Michael Madsen
Movie: "The Natural" (1984)
Implied playing ability: Before Roy Hobbs shows up, Bailey is the best player on the team. The trouble is that chemistry matters to movie teams about 20 times more than it does to real ones, and the New York Knights have a real problem with their chemical makeup because Bailey does not make much of a guiding light.
Why you should vote for him: He's the worst kind of slacker -- an arrogant one. What is worse, he's on the take. In the end, though, he redeems himself with an honorable death by crashing through a fence in pursuit of a flyball. If ever one could illustrate the incalculable 110 percent effort, this would be the case.
Character: Kelly Leak
Actor: Jackie Earle Haley
Movie: "The Bad News Bears" (1976)
Implied playing ability: Easily the best player in the league. A snarling adolescent among boys and girls.
Why you should vote for him: He's too cool to care. He hates The Man. He's got so much talent he doesn't have to prove it to anybody.
Character: Mae "All-The-Way-Mae" Mordabito
Movie: "A League of Their Own" (1992)
Implied playing ability: Leadoff hitter. Gap power. Great range in center field. Appears to have perfected the headfirst slide decades before Pete Rose.
Why you should vote for her: As the Five Neat Guys sang on SCTV, "She does it, she does it, the whole town says she does it ..."
Character: Willie Mays Hayes
Actor: Wesley Snipes
Movie: "Major League" (1989)
Implied playing ability: Extremely fast. Vows to steal 100 bases and he appears to come fairly close since he hangs a pair of sliding gloves on the wall every time he nabs one and there are a host of them. He overcomes a big loop in his swing and, by the start of the last game of the season, is batting .291.
Why you should vote for him: He has a boundless enthusiasm for the game.
Character: Bobby Rayburn
Actor: Wesley Snipes
Movie: "The Fan" (1996)
Implied playing ability: He is a three-time MVP entering the first year of a free-agent contract. Simply: a great player in his prime. He's hampered by a poor start and is hitting only .183 on Memorial Day. However, he starts coming around after the death of Juan Primo.
Why you should vote for him: Among fictitious baseball characters, he is probably the best player who is not made for laughs or for purposes of mythmaking. It's neat that Snipes has played two center fielders in his career, but Rayburn and Hayes are very, very different people.
Character: Juan Primo
Actor: Benicio Del Toro
Movie: "The Fan"
Implied playing ability: Very, very good, but not quite as good as Bobby Rayburn, for whom he must give up center field but for whom he will not give up his beloved playing number -- much to his ultimate undoing. He's 28 and has lots of power.
Why you should vote for him: When he has his unfortunate meeting with Gil Reynard, maybe one of the most obnoxious characters ever filmed, he's in the middle of a hot streak that has made him the most popular player on the Giants.
Character: Roy Hobbs
Actor: Robert Redford
Movie: "The Natural"
Implied playing ability: Which movie character is the best of all in terms of their ability? Hobbs and Joe Hardy of "Damn Yankees" are supposed to be downright mythic in stature. Esquire Joe Callaway from "Bingo Long" is supposed to be so good that he gets signed by the Dodgers seven years before Jackie Robinson. Steve Nebraska (Brendan Fraser) throws the last pitch of a perfecto at 112 miles per hour and hits a ball 420 feet in his first major-league game in "The Scout." Bobby Rayburn, in a far more realistic role, is transparently Barry Bonds -- not the Ruthian Bonds of the last four years, but the merely-great Bonds of the mid-'90s. I think it comes down to those five.
Why you should vote for him: Supernatural is more like it. No baseball movie succeeds at legend-building manipulation quite like "The Natural." The knocking-the-cover-off-the-ball scene in the rainstorm is pretty stunning, not to mention the pyrotechnics that come later.
Character: Esquire Joe Callaway
Actor: Stan Shaw
Movie: "The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars & Motor Kings"
Implied playing ability: Callaway is what we no longer see in an age when everyone grows up watching the game on television: the raw-boned country youth with amazing natural talent and equal naiveté.
Why you should vote for him: Is his catch against the All-Stars (just before being asked to join the team) the best, most impossible fielding play ever filmed?
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