Where could a destitute Major League team, who is made up of dodgy players, find the motivation to play? They have an owner waiting to sell the team, who charters buses for away games and offers the team an outboard motor in a metal tub as a spa. Welcome to Cleveland, where the Indians have not won a World Series since 1948.
Major League is a fictional, motivation and comedy story of the Cleveland Indians on decline, or so the new owner thought. Las Vegas showgirl, Rachel Phelps, inherited the franchise from his deceased husband. She hated the winters of the north. In her quest to relocate the team to sunny Miami, she went out of way to ensure that the franchise would registered the lowest attendance on record, thus triggering a clause that would legally allow her to move the team south. Phelps recruited the worse collection of players. She thought this group of rag tag players would be exactly what she needed for this self demolition job.
The team was led by catcher Jake Taylor. Despite his bad knee, his greatest asset was to find the motivation for the team. There was, Rick Vaughn, a convicted felon who was serving time in jail when he was recruited. Vaugh possessed a heat seeker fastball. Unfortunately, his missiles were mainly misdirected away from home plate. There is Willie Hayes, who is faster than a speeding bullet. The only problem for him was getting a hit. Cuban, Pedro Cerrano was a power hitter who could hit anything but curve balls. His opponents soon figured him out. Finally, there was Roger Dorn, a competent 3rd baseman who refused to put his body on the line. He was preserving his status for a big trade sometime after the season. This rag tag team was managed by Lou Brown, an ex-tire salesman.
Right from the start of the season, Phelps had made known her intention to Brown. She made no secret of her dislike for the team. Initially, Brown decided against telling his players about Phelps’ scheme. By doing so, he was hoping that team could keep some motivation going. That resulted in a poor start to the season. Vaughn was supposed to be the leader in the rotation, but his inaccuracy from the mound resulted in loss after loss as his ERA mounted. The fans began to nickname him the ‘Wild Thing’. Brown soon discovered that his ace pitcher could not really see well. After dressing him up with a pair of fancy glasses, the ‘Wild Thing’ started to prove his stuff, and the team started winning some games.
At this point, Phelps cut more privileges from the team. The scene that summed it all was when carpet tape had to be used to fix a broken propeller of the plane that was supposed to carry the team from city to city for their away games. Brown had enough. He promptly gathered his team at the locker room and told everyone about Phelps’ plan to disband the team. Taylor suggested that since they had nothing to lose, the team should get back at Phelps by winning the pennant. Brown gave the team added motivation by removing one portion of a dress on a cardboard cut-out model of Phelps taken during her showgirl days for every win the team achieves. The team played very well down the stretch of the season, and eventually clinched a tie for the division by beating the Chicago White Sox on the last game of the season.
That earned the Indians an unlikely one game playoff with their boogie team, the New York Yankees. Their motivation was on a different level now. The winner would win the Division and go on to the American League Championship series. As events would conspire, Vaughn would retire the Yankees’ premier hitter on three strikes coming out of the pen. That kept the game alive for Pedro Cerrano to finally hit a game tying homerun on a curve ball with a little bit of voodoo rebellion. On the final play of the game, Taylor would fake a bleachers pointing homerun allowing Hayes to steal home for the game winning run. The Indians clinched and the Division and promptly left Phelps agonizing over her failed plans to move south.
Major League was everything a motivation film was supposed to be. Again the theme of team unity over everything was key to its success. It does not matter which type of players you had. As long as they have a common goal and desire, impossible odds can be surmounted. Unlikely outcomes could be achieved. Even in boogie baseball town where the World Series had not been won since 1948, some hope could surface once in a while to bring the city closer together. Enjoy this outstanding comedy and motivation film.
Starring Tom Berenger (Jake Taylor), Charlie Sheen (Rick Vaughn) and Wesley Snipes (Willie Hayes).