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The Rookie (2002 film): Wikis


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The Rookie

Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Lee Hancock
Produced by Mark Ciardi,
Gordon Gray,
Mark Johnson
Written by Mike Rich
Starring Dennis Quaid
Rachel Griffiths
Jay Hernandez
and Brian Cox
Cinematography John Schwartzman
Editing by Eric L. Beason
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) March 29, 2002
Running time 138 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $22,000,000

The Rookie is a 2002 motion picture directed by John Lee Hancock. It is inspired by the true story of Jim Morris, who had a brief but famous Major League Baseball career.



Jim Morris (played by Dennis Quaid) injured his shoulder 12 years before the movie's events begin, thereby putting an end to his pitching career in Minor League Baseball. Since the injury, he turns to a career as a chemistry teacher, head baseball coach, and assistant Football coach at a Texas high school. His baseball team finds it impossible to hit his pitching when he first throws batting practice. Hoping for some degree of mutual motivation, his struggling charges offer him this agreement: if they reach the state playoffs, he will attend a tryout camp for Major League Baseball.

The team performs well and makes it to the playoffs, forcing Jimmy to meet his end of the bargain by attending a nearby tryout. When he does, the professional scouts discover his ability to repeatedly throw the baseball at 98 miles per hour, a feat that fewer than 10 professional baseball players at the time could accomplish. This ability affords him the opportunity to play professional baseball and he signs on with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization. He is initially assigned to the minor league Class AA Orlando Rays (now the Montgomery Biscuits) but quickly moved up to the AAA Durham Bulls, later to be called up to the "bigs" during the September roster expansions.

A brief epilogue states that Jim Morris spent two seasons in the Major Leagues.

Real life differences

  • The film has Morris making his debut against the Texas Rangers, striking out Royce Clayton on three pitches, with the last swing being a complete swing. In reality, Morris struck out Clayton on four pitches. The third swing was a foul ball, but during shooting, the actor was unable to replicate the pop foul after 8 hours of shooting. The director opted to change the story to three strikes instead. [1]
  • The film portrays Morris as a resident of Big Lake, but he never actually lived in the town. During his time teaching at Reagan County High School he lived in San Angelo and commuted to work daily.
  • The film shows Morris teaching chemistry, and a broadcaster called him a chemistry teacher. In reality, he taught physical science.
  • The scene with the radar gun, which was copied by ESPN in a commercial with Bobby Valentine taking the part of Morris, never actually happened.
  • In the film, the school that Morris teaches at is named Big Lake High School; in real life, though the school is in Big Lake, its actual name is Reagan County High School.
  • The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Texas Rangers uniforms worn in the movie are incorrect for the era in which the film takes place. They were, however, the uniforms worn by those teams at the time the film was released.
  • The bullpen in which Jim warms up prior to his first major league appearance vs. the Texas Rangers is actually the Rangers' bullpen; the visitors' bullpen at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is much less visible.
  • In the scene where Jim's father gives Hunter a first-baseman's mitt instead of a regular fielder's glove, it is implied that Jim, Sr., in keeping with the movie's portrayal of Jim's father as uninterested in baseball, doesn't know the difference between the two. In reality, Jim Morris, Sr. played minor league baseball, and would have known the difference (a first-baseman's mitt is considerably larger and lacks individual fingers).
  • In the film, when Jim is called up to the majors, a teammate named Brooks is called up with him. In real life, Steve Cox was the player called up with Jim. Brooks was a fictional character created for the movie.

Filming locations

The Rookie was filmed almost entirely in North and Central Texas. Apart from scenes filmed at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, locations included the following:

  • The city of Thorndale, Texas, was used predominantly in the opening half of the film as the small town of Big Lake. Thorndale High School's interior and exterior building and baseball field were used for Big Lake High School's campus. Thorndale's Main Street and downtown area was also used extensively in the film.
  • Neighboring Thrall High School in Thrall, Texas, was dressed for several differing scenes, including scenes of several different "away" baseball games filmed on the school's field. Thrall's then-recently completed football stadium stood in as Big Lake's. Thrall's old football field, dressing rooms and recreation pavilion were dressed as an oil refinery's outlay in a deleted scene viewable on the DVD's special features.
  • A scene shot in front of a motel supposedly in Florida was actually filmed in front of what is now a Best Western in Taylor, Texas.

Jim Morris Sr. was not a Naval Recruiter by profession. He was a National Security Agency member posing as a recruiter.

Jimmy's mother did not support Jimmy's dreams in real life. His father was the one that supported his dreams.

Most of the population portrayed in this movie of Big Lake, Tx were fictional. Only the baseball team and those directly connected were based on real people.


  1. ^ Morris spoke about the differences between the film and reality at the MASFAA Annual Conference on November 18, 2007. He was the keynote speaker.

External links



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