With the MLB season under way, we cast our ballots for the best players ever to hit (and pitch on) the big screen, from ''Wild Thing'' to Roy Hobbs to the Pride of the Yankees and our ultimate sluggers at No. 1
PLAYED BY Charlie Sheen MOVIEMajor League (1989) POSITION Pitcher
TEAM The Cleveland Indians, here a group of broken-down misfits (including aging catcher Tom Berenger, left) recruited precisely for the likelihood that they'll drive down ticket sales, giving the owner an excuse to move the team to Florida.
STATS He's called ''Wild Thing'' because of pitches that fly at 100 mph but are liable to hit anything but the strike zone. (Those thick specs don't seem to help much.) He's also a pot-smoker and convicted carjacker.
ACCURACY Well, pot-smoking ex-cons aren't completely unknown to baseball, and Sheen, well known for his own offscreen career as a Wild Thing, gives one of his best comic performances.
MEMORABLE MOMENT The entire stadium sings along to the Troggs' ''Wild Thing'' as Vaughn pitches in a championship game.
MALE KLEENEX FACTOR 2 out of 10 hankies (10 out of 10 if you're an Indians fan)
PLAYED BY John Cusack MOVIEEight Men Out (1988) POSITION Third base
TEAM The Chicago White Sox, whose 1919 lineup would be known after the scandal as the Black Sox
STATS When his team is accused of throwing the 1919 World Series, it's Weaver who most steadfastly maintains his innocence.
ACCURACY Could the real White Sox have been this obvious, making such blatant errors?
MEMORABLE MOMENT Watching an obscure outfielder at play, Weaver is asked if that could really be his disgraced teammate Shoeless Joe Jackson playing under an assumed name. ''Nah,'' he says, ''those fellas are all gone now.''
MALE KLEENEX FACTOR 10 out of 10 hankies (''Say it ain't so, Joe. Say it ain't so.'')
PLAYED BY Jackie Robinson MOVIEThe Jackie Robinson Story (1950) POSITION Second base
TEAM The Brooklyn Dodgers, though there's also his personal support team: wife Rachel (Ruby Dee) and Dodgers president Branch Rickey (Minor Watson)
STATS Robinson is best remembered for his courage as the first African-American major leaguer of the 20th century, but the film is an artifact of its time, tending to ignore racial issues in order to focus on Robinson's athletic prowess and star quality.
ACCURACY Robinson's no actor, but his quiet courage and dignity are apparent, and there's surely no one who could better reenact his feats on the field.
MEMORABLE MOMENT Robinson faces a potentially violent confrontation with some white hecklers.
PLAYED BY Robert Redford MOVIEThe Natural (1984) POSITION Right field
TEAM The fictional New York Knights
STATS Hobbs should have been a star in his youth, but he was brought down by his own hubris and a wicked temptress (Barbara Hershey). Sixteen years later, as an aged rookie wielding an invincible bat of his own making (dubbed ''Wonderboy''), the slugger seeks redemption and the glory he'd swung at and missed the first time around.
ACCURACY Hobbs' fortunes take a very different path in the Bernard Malamud novel that is the movie's source.
MEMORABLE MOMENT With a mighty blast, Hobbs knocks out every light in the ballpark.
PLAYED BY Gary Cooper MOVIEPride of the Yankees (1942) POSITION First base
TEAM The New York Yankees, in what may have been the team's greatest dynastic period — they won six World Series in the 17 seasons Gehrig played.
STATS Known for his work ethic, the ''Iron Horse'' played 2,130 consecutive games, a record that lasted six decades until broken by Cal Ripken Jr. He was also a top infielder and strong slugger, hitting four home runs in one 1932 game.
ACCURACY Moderate, despite the presence of many of Gehrig's real-life teammates in the cast (most notably Babe Ruth). Since Cooper couldn't bat left-handed, he shot his scenes in mirror-image, wearing a reverse-lettered uniform and running to third base instead of first, and the footage was then flipped in the editing room.
MEMORABLE MOMENT After being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease, the future Hall of Famer retires, famously telling the Yankee Stadium crowd: ''Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.''
MALE KLEENEX FACTOR 10. Anyone who doesn't weep at Gehrig's farewell speech is a stone.
PLAYED BY Geena Davis and Tom Hanks MOVIEA League of Their Own (1992)
POSITIONS Catcher (Hinson) and manager (Dugan)
TEAM The Rockford Peaches, a real team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which lasted from 1943-1954
STATS Hinson is the best player in the women's baseball league that starts up while the men are overseas during World War II. Jimmy, a potential Hall of Fame hitter whose career was cut short by a drinking problem, proves an adept manager, leading his team to the women's World Series — with a lot of managerial help from Hinson.
ACCURACY Director Penny Marshall supposedly made sure she cast actresses who could really field and hit. The old women playing baseball at the Hall of Fame sequence at the end of the film are real-life alums of the AAGPBL.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS Dottie does a split while catching a pop fly. And an apoplectic Jimmy tells a bawling player, ''There's no crying in baseball!''
MALE KLEENEX FACTOR 3 out of 10 hankies, until the coda with the survivors gathered at the Hall of Fame — then it's an 8
PLAYED BY Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins MOVIEBull Durham (1988) POSITIONS Catcher (Davis) and pitcher (LaLoosh)
TEAM The Durham Bulls, minor-league misfits whose fortunes improve along with Nuke's pitching
STATS Davis, a seasoned catcher who's quietly chasing a minor-league home-run record, is brought in to teach discipline to rookie LaLoosh, a prospective major leaguer with ''a million-dollar arm and a five-cent head.'' The two find themselves in a romantic triangle with groupie supreme Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon).
ACCURACY Writer-director Ron Shelton was a minor-league player himself, so dialogue like ''You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes'' has a ring of truth.
MEMORABLE MOMENT Crash teaches Nuke how to spout bland clichés when sportswriters interview him.
MALE KLEENEX FACTOR 1 out of 10 hankies (Unlike most baseball movies, Durham isn't the least bit sentimental.)