A Cinematic Home Run: 25 Years of “The Sandlot”

Since we were discussing cult movies earlier this week, we thought we’d take a moment and discuss one of the most under-the-radar cult flicks in recent memory: The Sandlot. With a cast consisting largely of unknowns (save for James Earl Jones, Karen Allen, and Denis Leary), this nostalgic comedy became a sleeper hit when it was originally released in April of 1993. The film is a warm and funny mashups of classics like Stand By Me, A Christmas Story and The Bad News Bears that remains essential summertime viewing.

Set in the San Fernando Valley during the summer of 1962, the movie follows outcast new kid Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) as he attempts to join the other neighborhood kids in playing baseball in a rundown sandlot. The only problem is that he doesn’t have the skills needed to make the eight-player squad, a problem that is fixed when his loving stepfather Bill (Denis Leary) teaches him the fundamentals of the game. After practicing to enhance his abilities he earns a spot on ths team’s squad.

But trouble once again rears its ugly head when Scotty borrows his stepfather’s prize baseball–signed by no less than Babe Ruth–and it lands in a yard inhabited by a legendary dog known for his ferocity dubbed “The Beast.” With the help of his teammates, Scotty embarks on a perilous/hilarious mission to recover the ball, learning that not everything in life is as it appears to be along the way.

Thanks to countless video rentals and TV airings as well as fantastic word-of-mouth, the reputation of The Sandlot and its fandom has grown exponentially in the past 25 years. It’s quotability (“you’re killing me Smalls!”) and repeat viewing value have become so great that an attempt to further the story through direct-to-video sequels and a recently announced prequel continue to attempt to recapture the magic of the original film. While you can never truly be a kid again, the joy that comes from films like this one is the next best thing.

What’s your favorite scene from The Sandlot? Let us know below!