Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 4, 2004
BASEBALL: Taking a Swing at Wagner

Sunday at 8 on TNT, Matthew Modine is going where, apparently, no actor has gone before: portraying Honus Wagner on film. The tall, thin, and rather callow-looking Modine doesn't seem like the best choice for the rough-hewn, barrel-chested, bow-legged slugger from coal country in Western Pennsylvania, but Robert DeNiro, who seems the obvious choice if you've seen pictures of Wagner, is too old for the part, and it sounds like Modine's at least made a sincere effort to pick up some baseball chops and some of Wagner's mannerisms. Time will tell if he's successful (not that I'll be watching a movie that's on against the Sopranos, but I'll be tempted to see if I can catch a bit of the first hour). Wagner's certainly a guy worth remembering: as I've noted before, for the decade of his peak he was the best hitter for average in baseball, the best hitter for power in baseball, the game's best base thief, tough as nails and unafraid of anyone, and the nicest guy in the game to boot. As Modine learned from his research for the part:

"I didn't know much about Wagner besides the baseball card," he says. "When I researched him, I found out he was one of the best guys ever to play the game. I couldn't find anything negative about him."

Of course, the cast list suggests cause for great concern: will no one portray Butts?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:08 AM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

I saw ads for that, but had no idea it was about Wagner. Interesting.

I agree about Modine. He doesnít look like an athlete at all, certainly not like images of the Dutchman that Iíve seen.

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at April 4, 2004 1:44 PM

I caught about a minute of this between the Sox-Orioles game, the kids' bedtime and the Sopranos. It looked pretty cheesy.

Posted by: The Crank at April 5, 2004 2:08 PM
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