Friday, February 3, 2012

Flick Friday: Mr. Baseball

Flick Friday is back and today we've got Mr. Baseball. This 1992 release tells the story of Jack Elliot (Tom Selleck), former Yankee star, who's career is in free fall. He gets sent to the Chunichi Dragons, the only team willing to take the aging star. Elliot is less than thrilled, and lets everyone around him in Japan know it.

The other American on the team Pedro Cerrano Max Dubois (Dennis Haysbert) tries to help Jack adjust to Japanese ways, but he too is turned off by Elliot's arrogance. It takes a beautiful Japanese woman (who also happens to be the daughter of the Dragon's manager) to finally turn Jack around, both as a person and as a ballplayer.

Tom Selleck does a great job playing a ballplayer. Anyone who watched him on Magnum PI knows that he was a fan. But more than a fan, he looks like an athlete; he's got a decent swing. The producers had a lot of cooperation from the Japanese teams and shot all of the game action at their ballparks. Never once did the game action seem phony to me.

The producers also had some cooperation from a certain...

....sports card company. Upper Deck not only made...

...prop cards for the movie (that card uses the 1991 UD design)...

....but they also released this actual card as a short print in their 1992 set. That's Frank Thomas with Selleck, playing the hot rookie who takes Jack Elliot's spot on the team.


While several of the Japanese teams copies the uniform style of National League teams (Dragons = Dodgers; Giants = Giants), no one copies the Cubs. (sarcasm on...) I wonder why? (sarcasm off..) The Cubs were never mentioned in the movie, but there is a Cubs connection.

In an early scene in the movie, DuBois takes Elliot to a bar to meet some of the other Americans playing on Japanese teams. One of the Americans is introduced as Lyle Massey.

"Massey" is on the far right and the actor portraying Massey isn't really an actor; he was an American who had actually spent 11 years playing ball in Japan. His name....Leon Lee. His son....

...Derrek Lee! Leon actually has two credits in the movie, one as Lyle Massey and one as a baseball consultant.

I suppose you can also make a Cubs connection in that the Cubs did the opposite of Mr. Baseball, signing a Japanese "star" to play for them, good 'ol Kosuke Fukudome. But I don't think we can hang the "Mr. Baseball" tag on Fukudome. "Mr. Over-hyped Overpaid Flop" would be more appropriate.

This ugly card sums up Fukudome's ugly time with the Cubs.


  1. Great job connecting the Cubs. We've all noted how uneven that Chicle set was. I don't think I've ever seen the Kosuke. I won't be looking to purchase a copy either.

  2. Bonus connection: before playing for the Cubs Fukudome played for the same Chunichi Dragons that Tom Selleck`s character plays for in the film.