Henry Rowengartner lived a child's dream. Because of a surgery gone awry, he was able to pitch at speeds upward of 100 mph at age 12. He got signed by the Chicago Cubs and took baseball by storm, eventually helping the Cubs win a World Series. If you didn't know this wasn't a true story, that very last part is the clincher. That's the plot of "Rookie of the Year," the 1993 film starring Thomas Ian Nicholas as Henry Rowengartner and Gary Busey, Daniel Stern, John Candy, Amy Morton and Albert Hall in supporting roles. "Rookie of the Year" turns 20 years old on July 7. In honor of its anniversary, here are 10 things you might know about the film and its stars. — Mike Oz, Big League Stew
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The 1993 film "Rookie of the Year" turns 20 on July 7. It starred Thomas ian Nicholas as Henry Rowengartner, a 12-year-old who throws 100 mph and signs to play with the Chicago Cubs.
Part of the movie was filmed between games of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field in the 1992 season. During the second game of the doubleheader, after filming had finished, fans were already clamoring for the 12-year heat thrower. They started chanting "Henry! Henry!" for Rowengartner.
Daniel Stern, who directed the film and played pitching coach Brickma, now creates sculptures — check out his Daniel Stern Art page — in addition to acting and voice work. He's best known for his roles in "Home Alone" and "City Slickers," and for narrating "The Wonder Years."
Some people still wear Henry Rowengartner jerseys. You can make one through the MLB.com shop that allows you to customize jerseys. There's a 12-character limit on names, so Rowengartner just makes the cut. Jerseys cost $99.99.
You may remember that MLB stars of the time Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Pedro Guerrero appeared in "Rookie of the Year," but did you know that Daniel Stern actually pitched to them? Because they were whiffing at Henry's fastballs, they had to swing and miss. "I'm a professional," Stern said, "but at the same time I'm not going to waste an opportunity for a personal triumph."
Perhaps the most recognizable co-star in "Rookie of the Year" is Neil Flynn, who plays Stan Okie, the Cubs first baseman. Today, he's best known for playing the janitor on "Scrubs" and starring in current ABC sitcom, "The Middle."
Amy Morton, who played Henry's mother, Mary Rowengartner, is best known for her work in the theater. She's been nominated twice for Tony Awards for her work on Broadway. She's also part of the cast of CBS' "Blue Bloods."
Actor Albert Hall, who played Cubs manager Sal Martinella, stayed busy. He's been on TV shows "Ally McBeal," "24" and "Men of a Certain Age," plus movies such as "Ali" and "National Treasure: Book of Secrets." He had another baseball role too: He played Hank Aaron in the 1998 TV movie, "The Tiger Woods Story."
John Candy, who played Cubs announcer Cliff Murdoch, wasn't originally cast in the movie. Once the movie was edited and the studio liked what it saw, it handed over more money. That's when Candy was cast. He died less than a year after "Rookie of the Year" was released.
Before Thomas Ian Nicholas was cast in the role of Henry Rowengartner, Daniel Stern considered casting his own son. He was the correct age and just happened to be named Henry.