Released in 1989, Major League is not only remembered for being a hilarious and irreverent sports movie, but also for its star-studded cast. The film took many familiar tropes from baseball movies and turned them on their ear for a sidesplitting combination of sports, drama, and romance. The cast was jam-packed with established stars, but it also featured a few fresh faces that would see their careers reach new heights in the ensuing decade. Among the cast was a wealth of real-life baseball personalities, and the entire experience was steeped in an obvious love for America’s pastime.


Though the film wasn’t shortlisted for any awards, Major League still left its mark on popular culture and was received rather warmly by critics. In the U.S., the movie was a box office hit when it grossed $49 million (via Box Office Mojo), and is considered one of the best baseball movies in Hollywood. Aside from being beloved within the baseball community, Major League‘s legacy lived on when it was nominated as one of the AFI’s 10 best sports films in 2008. It inspired two sequels throughout the 1990s, but it was clear that the magic of Major League had everything to do with its original cast.

RELATED: The 5 Most Realistic (& 5 Most Unrealistic) Baseball Movies Ever Made

Dennis Haysbert (Pedro Cerrano)

Dennis Haysbert looks on as President Palmer in 24

Appearing as Cuban defector Pedro Cerrano in all three Major League films, Dennis Haysbert made his mark by playing the voodoo practitioner that used his superstitions to help him in the outfield. Haysbert was already an accomplished TV actor by the time he starred in Major League, but it wasn’t until 2001 that he landed his career-defining role as the doomed President David Palmer in 24. He was cast as the Allstate spokesman in 2003, and he continued to use his baritone as the narrator in shows like 2021’s American Justice.

Chelcie Ross (Eddie Harris)

The Trapper looks on in Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Chelcie Ross’ turn as Eddie Harris showed the realities of an aging MLB pitcher who was forced to cheat to stay relevant, and he was the perfect foil for the younger Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn. Ross had played mostly bit parts before his starring role in Major League, and the 1990s saw his career skyrocket as he starred in several blockbusters including 1992’s Basic Instinct. Though his career slowed down somewhat during the 2010s, Ross was recently seen in critically acclaimed projects like The Ballad of Buster Scruggs from 2018, and the 2022 TV series Super Pumped.

Charles Cyphers (Charlie Donovan)

Charles Cyphers talks to a crowd in Halloween Kills

Charles Cyphers’ role as Charlie Donovan saw him play the ineffectual General Manager of the team, and he took orders from Rachel Phelps. With some of the best John Carpenter horror films under his belt, Cyphers was a frequent collaborator with the legendary director before coming to Major League, though he had also transitioned to comedy roles. Cyphers’ career began to wind down after his appearance in the baseball movie, but he did reprise his classic role as Sheriff Lee Bracket from Halloween and Halloween II when he starred in Halloween Kills in 2021.

Wesley Snipes (Willie Mays Hayes)

Wesley Snipes looks on in Dolemite is my Name

Willie Mays Hayes was the comedic heart of Major League, and Wesley Snipes perfectly embodied the humor of the character through his physicality and body language. Major League was only Snipes’ fourth film role, and he used it as a launching point for an extremely successful career throughout the ’90s and early-’00s. Legal trouble temporarily derailed Snipes’ career, but he made his comeback in movies like the Rudy Ray Moore true story, Dolemite Is My Name in 2019. Also in 2019, Snipes returned to TV in a guest spot on What We Do in the Shadows.

RELATED: Could Wesley Snipes Appear In The MCU’s Blade? Here’s Why He Should

Rene Russo (Lynn Weslin)

Frigga talks to Loki in Thor The Dark World

Acting alongside Tom Berenger in Major League‘s romantic storyline, Rene Russo played Jake Taylor’s ex-girlfriend Lynn Weslin, who spent most of the film on the fence about her former lover. Major League was Russo’s first film role, and it didn’t take her long to land other major roles throughout the ’90s such as in the critically acclaimed film The Thomas Crown Affair in 1999. In the ’00s, Russo’s career began to transition to more mature roles, and she landed the recurring part of Thor’s mother Frigga in the MCU, first appearing in 2011’s Thor.

James Gammon (Lou Brown)

James Gammon talks to a doctor in Grey's Anatomy

The most experienced actor in the cast of Major League, James Gammon was the perfect choice to play the team’s grizzled manager Lou Brown. Starring in the best westerns of the ’80s, Gammon’s rough-and-tumble look served him well even after his turn in Major League, and he continued to play police officers and cowboys throughout the rest of his career. Gammon continued to act well into the 2000s, and one of his last major appearances came in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in 2007. The seasoned veteran of the screen died in 2010.

Margaret Whitton (Rachel Phelps)

A man and woman toast with martini glasses in Trial By Jury

Acting as the dastardly villain of Major League, Margaret Whitton shone when she brought Rachel Phelps to life while the character conspired to tank the team and move them to Miami. Whitton’s greatest strength was playing powerful women who took no guff, and her roles before Major League reflected that archetype, like in the underrated Michael J. Fox film The Secret of My Success in 1987. Whitton only appeared in a handful of projects after Major League, and she made her last film appearance in 1994’s Trial By Jury. Whitton passed away in 2016 after leaving the spotlight decades before.

Corbin Bernsen (Roger Dorn)

Henry Spencer looks angry at a man in a suit from Psych

Corbin Bernsen’s role as Roger Dorn in Major League was an example of art imitating life, and Dorn was the team’s vain third baseman who believed he had a career in the movies after baseball. When starring in Major League, Bernsen was in the middle of a lengthy stint on the TV series L.A. Law and his filmography featured an even mix of film and TV roles after 1989. Bernsen’s career didn’t slow down in the decades following Major League, and he had many guest spots on shows like Billions and Psych throughout the 2010s and 2020s.

RELATED: Psych True Story (What Really Inspired The Show)

Charlie Sheen (Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn)

Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men

Considered one of Charlie Sheen’s best movies, his outing as Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in Major League saw him co-star as the team’s cocky new ace pitcher who struggled with his pitch control. Sheen had already made a splash in the ’80s with films like Platoon and Wall Street, and by 1989 he was a full-fledged star. The 1990s continued Sheen’s rise to the top in hit comedies like 1991’s Hot Shot!, and by the 2000s he transitioned to TV with a full-time role on the sitcom Two and a Half Men. A series of controversies derailed Sheen’s career, and he only made a few cameo appearances in the 2010s.

Tom Berenger (Jake Taylor)

Tom Berenger cocks his gun in Sniper: Assassin's End

The veteran catcher Jake Taylor was the protagonist of Major League, and Berenger’s easy likability made him the perfect choice to play the working-class hero character. Berenger’s reputation had been firmly established through films like The Big Chill from 1983, and he even appeared alongside co-star Sheen in the Vietnam War movie Platoon in 1986. Berenger’s success continued into the ’90s in films like 1993’s Sniper, and his action career continued well into the 2020s through outings like 2022’s Black Warrant. Alongside his film career, Berenger made a few one-off TV appearances on shows like Training Day and Hawaii Five-0 in the 2010s.

MORE: Do Tom Berenger Or Billy Zane Cameo In Sniper Rogue Mission?

Source link