After his career in professional baseball is abruptly terminated by a severe shoulder injury, pitcher Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) takes a job as a high school baseball coach and begins a family with his wife Lorri (Rachel Griffiths). But when surgery restores his powers, allowing him to pitch faster than ever before, he makes a deal with with his high school team: if they do well in the local championships, then he will try out once again for the major leagues. Based on a true story.
Jim Morris, the real-life hero of The Rookie
, has an inspirational story all but guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face. Blessed with an awesome fastball, Morris nursed dreams of pitching for Major League Baseball during his 20s; injuries and bad luck, however, forced him to give up hope and become a teacher and coach. Years later, pressed by students and colleagues to try out for "the Show" one more time, Morris discovered he still had a powerful arm, and he was signed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Rookie
is at its best throughout this first chapter in Morris's mid-life adventure, though the rest of the film finds fresh angles on more familiar baseball-movie conventions. Dennis Quaid is soulful and charismatic as Morris, perfect in his depiction of a man both thankful and startled that destiny has given one of the good guys his due. --Tom Keogh