Sunday, January 20, 2008
Rafael Palmeiro, 2005 Upper Deck ESPN #11
Ugh. I've been putting off writing about Rafael Palmeiro and all of that "stuff", as Jason Giambi might say. I'm still not quite in the mood for it, so let's talk about his masterful performance in 1994's Little Big League.
For those unfamiliar with this fine film, it's the story of a twelve-year old boy whose grandfather's death leaves him as the owner of the Minnesota Twins. Following a blowup with the abrasive, Billy Martinesque manager, the boy installs himself as the team's skipper. Hilarity ensues, and the team - and little Billy - learn some valuable lessons.
Rafael Palmeiro is one of several major league players to portray himself in a cameo. The first baseman appears in a Rangers uniform, as he was still with the team at the time of filming. In his big scene, young Billy is feeling the strain of a Twins losing streak as well as some family tensions. When Palmeiro makes a putout on a bang-bang play at first, the pint-sized manager snaps and calls the umpire...well, we never do find out. Gotta keep that PG rating! But Raffy's reaction steals the scene. He looks on in shock, his eyes bugging out comically.
Sure, he wasn't going to win any Oscars for his performance. But he showed a hell of a lot more personality than say, Randy Johnson. Besides, there still might be room for #25 in Hollywood. It only takes one look at Sly Stallone to tell you all you need to know about film studio steroid policies.