Template:Infobox Film The Sandlot is a 1993 American comedy-drama sports film about young baseball players. The film was directed by David Mickey Evans and was released with the title The Sandlot Kids in Australia and the United Kingdom.
The film is told through the perspective of Scott Smalls (Tom Guiry), who is reminiscing on his first summer in Los Angeles. Smalls moves with his mother and stepfather to a new neighborhood, and struggles to make new friends. One afternoon, he decides to follow a group of neighborhood boys, and watches them play an improvised game of baseball at a small field, which they call the “sandlot.” Smalls is reluctant to join their game because he fears he will be ridiculed on account of his inexperience. Nevertheless, he chooses to play with them, but fails to catch a simple fly ball and properly throw the ball back to his infielders. All the other players, except for Benny Rodriguez, begin to jeer Smalls for committing defensive miscues, prompting him to leave the sandlot in embarrassment. Benny, who is the best player in the neighborhood, shields Smalls from the insults of his peers, and invites him to rejoin their game. He proceeds to give Smalls advice and helps him earn the respect of the other players. In time, Smalls is accepted and becomes an integral part of the team.
As Smalls continues to play with the team, he begins to learn many of the customs of the sandlot, while experiencing many misadventures with his new friends. He learns that players avoid hitting home runs over the sandlot’s fences, as the property beyond them is guarded by a ferocious dog, called “the beast.” One day, Benny hits a ball so hard, that he ruptures its leather, causing the ball's entrails to come out. The group cannot afford to buy another baseball, and is forced to retire for the afternoon. However, Smalls runs to his step-father’s trophy room, and steals a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth, in hopes of preserving the game. The team is impressed with Smalls’ gesture, and allows him to have the first at bat with the ball. He proceeds to hit the ball out of the sandlot, but is shortly enveloped by fear once he realizes that he has lost his stepfather’s ball. The situation is further worsened when Smalls realizes that the ball was autographed by Babe Ruth, and is almost irreplaceable.
Smalls and his friends begin engineering elaborate plans to recover the ball from the beast. After five failed rescue attempts, Smalls prepares to accept his fate. Around the same time, Benny has an enlightening dream, where he is visited by Babe Ruth, who encourages him to run into the sandlot, and use his speed to recover the ball and escape. Ruth leaves Benny with the words, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” Benny rallies his friends the following morning at the sandlot, and prepares to recover Smalls’ baseball. Using his PF Flyers, he steals the ball from the Beast, and successfully manages to elude the dog as it chases him through town. At the end of the race, the Beast is injured after a fence collapses on it. Smalls feels responsible for the ordeal, and helps the Beast (whose real name is revealed to be "Hercules") escape the rubble. Benny and Smalls then decide to tell the dog’s owner, Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones), about the ordeal. They eventually learn that Mertle was a professional baseball player in Template:By and was a friend of Babe Ruth. Mertle, whose career was shortened after being hit by a stray pitch, agrees to give Smalls a ball signed by Murderers' Row – several of the best Yankee hitters in the late 1920s. In exchange, the boys are to visit Mertle once a week to talk about baseball. Smalls proceeds to give his stepfather the ball that Mertle gave him.
While his stepfather is still mad at him, they eventually get over the issue. He then goes on to explain what became of all his friends, and the future careers they pursued. The film then jumps twenty years into the future, where Smalls is a radio commentator for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez is one of the team’s star players. While he is in the twilight of his career, Benny manages to steal home in the movie’s final comments, before flashing a thumbs-up to Smalls in the press box.
- The Sandlot baseball team
- Tom Guiry as Scott "Scotty" Smalls
- Mike Vitar as Benjamin Franklin "Benny the Jet" Rodriguez
- Patrick Renna as Hamilton "Ham" Porter
- Chauncey Leopardi as Michael "Squints" Palledorous
- Marty York as Alan "Yeah-Yeah" McClennan
- Brandon Quintin Adams as Kenny DeNunez
- Grant Gelt as Bertram Grover Weeks
- Shane Obedzinski as Tommy "Repeat" Timmons
- Vitor DiMattia as Timmy Timmons
- Other characters
- Denis Leary as Bill, Scott's Stepfather
- Karen Allen as Scott's Mom
- James Earl Jones as Mr. Mertle
- Marley Shelton as Wendy Peffercorn
- Herb Muller as Young Mr. Mertle
- Art LaFleur as Babe Ruth
- Wil Horneff as Phillips
The film was generally well received by critics, with Roger Ebert giving it a thumbs up. However it has a "rotten" 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film grossed $4 million in its opening weekend and a further $32 million through ticket sales. Figures for worldwide, VHS and DVD sales are estimated to be at $76 million. Since its release on both VHS and DVD, the film has become a cult favorite.
Internet comedian the Nostalgia Critic called this film an "all-American classic" during a video he called 90's Sports Montage.
- The Sandlot 2 (2005) - A direct-to-video sequel in which a new Sandlot gang, complete with girls, is featured. The only returning cast member is James Earl Jones in his role of Mr. Mertle.
- The Sandlot: Heading Home (2007) - Another direct-to-video sequel starring Luke Perry as Tommy "Santa" Santorelli who gets knocked back to 1976 from 2007 and relives his childhood. Chauncey Leopardi reprises his role as Squints.
The film's original score was composed by David Newman, and was unreleased until 2006, when a limited edition was released as part of the Varése Sarabande CD Club.
Songs in order of appearance:
- "Finger Poppin' Time" - Hank Ballard
- "Smokie Part II" - Bill Black's Combo
- "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" - The Tokens
- "There Goes My Baby" - The Drifters
- "This Magic Moment" - The Drifters
- "America The Beautiful" - Ray Charles
- "Green Onions" - Booker T & The MG's
- "Tequila" - The Champs
- "Wipe Out" - The Surfaris