Daniel Sunjata steps up to the plate -- The ''Rescue Me'' star plays baseball legend Reggie Jackson in ESPN's ''The Bronx Is Burning''

By Meeta Agrawal
Updated July 13, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Stepping up to play a 1970s Yankees superstar in ESPN’s current miniseries The Bronx Is Burning would seem natural for the classically trained actor who scored a Tony nod as a baseballer in the 2003 Broadway play Take Me Out. But Sunjata, 35, doesn’t revere the U.S. national pastime. ”Growing up in Chicago,” he says, ”I was a huge Bulls fan.” So wearing Reggie Jackson’s No. 44 required practice, on and off the field. ”ESPN’s a great network if you’re making a sports saga,” notes Sunjata, who studied their highlight reels and interviews to become Mr. October. The Rescue Me regular says his multiculti background (African-American, Irish, German) prevents typecasting: ”[I] make the most of my ethnic ambiguity. As an actor you want to be an Everyman.” Sex and the City fans, however, know exactly which man he is: Sarah Jessica Parker’s sailor suitor from season 5’s Fleet Week-themed episode. Sunjata laughs, ”I get stopped more in the streets for that than anything.”