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The Sandlot

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The Sandlot
Four children hold a baseball bat with the paw of a dog resting on the top of it. The film's tagline on top reads "They're more than a team. They're the best buddies in the entire history of the world". Below the film's title, another tagline reads "A Piece of Paradise a half block wide and a whole summer long".
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Mickey Evans
Written by
  • David Mickey Evans
  • Robert Gunter
Produced by
  • Dale De La Torre
  • William S. Gilmore
Narrated byDavid Mickey Evans
CinematographyAnthony B. Richmond
Edited byMichael A. Stevenson
Music byDavid Newman
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • April 1, 1993 (1993-04-01)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$7 million[citation needed]
Box office$34.3 million[1]

The Sandlot (released in some countries as The Sandlot Kids)[2] is a 1993 American coming-of-age sports comedy film co-written, directed, and narrated by David Mickey Evans. It tells the story of a group of young baseball players during the summer of 1962. It was released on April 1, 1993 and stars Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Karen Allen, Denis Leary, and James Earl Jones. The movie is set in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California and the filming locations were in Midvale, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, Utah. It grossed $34 million worldwide and has since become a cult film.[3][4]


In the late spring of 1962, fifth-grader Scott Smalls moves to a suburb of Los Angeles with his mother and recent stepfather, Bill. As school ends and summer begins, Smalls' mother encourages him to make friends, so he tries to join a group of boys who play baseball daily at the neighborhood sandlot—brothers Timmy and Tommy Timmons, Michael "Squints" Palledorous, Alan "Yeah-Yeah" McClennan, Bertram Grover Weeks, pitcher Kenny DeNunez, catcher Hamilton "Ham" Porter, and their leader and best player Benny Rodriguez. Everyone but Benny laughs at Smalls' lack of ability, and an attempt to play catch with his stepdad Bill leaves him with a black eye. Nevertheless, Benny invites him onto the team and helps him improve his skills, earning the boys' respect.

When Ham hits a home run into an adjacent backyard, the team is dismayed. Smalls tries to retrieve the ball but they stop him, explaining that "the Beast", an enormous English Mastiff, lives behind the fence. According to Squints, in 1942, Mr. Mertle, the owner of the property, bought a young guard dog, and it grew increasingly huge and vicious, until Mr. Mertle received a court order to keep the Beast chained up permanently. In the years since, the Beast has claimed every baseball that has gone over the fence.

One particularly hot day, the team opts to go swimming at the neighborhood pool, in lieu of playing baseball. While there, Squints fakes drowning to receive mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn, with whom he is infatuated. He kisses her, and the boys soon get banned from the pool, but as they leave Wendy waves at Squints with a warm smile.

The team plays a Fourth of July night game by the light of fireworks, and Smalls observes that, to Benny, "baseball was life." Later, they play against a snooty rival Little League team, and win handily. That night they celebrate at a fair, where chewing tobacco shared by Bertram before riding the Trabant causes them to vomit.

One day, Benny hits the cover off the team's only ball, much to the boys' amazement. With Bill away on business for a week, Smalls volunteers to keep the game going by bringing a ball from home, so he borrows Bill's prized baseball autographed by Babe Ruth, unaware of its value. He hits his first home run, sending it into the Beast's yard. The boys are confused by Smalls' expressing dismay instead of celebrating the hit, but when they learn of the autograph, Benny rallies them to action. They scrounge enough change to buy another baseball, and forge Babe Ruth's signature on it as a temporary replacement while they come up with a plan to rescue the autographed ball. Smalls suggests going to Mr. Mertle for assistance, but Squints insists Mr. Mertle is "the meanest old man that ever lived" and won't help. The team tries to recover the lost ball with various makeshift devices, but each attempt is thwarted by the Beast.

That night, Smalls has a nightmare about being hammered by an enormous baseball with the Babe's autograph on it. But Benny dreams that the spirit of Babe Ruth visits him and advises him to rescue the ball himself. "Heroes get remembered," says the Babe, "but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you'll never go wrong."

The next day, Benny, equipped with a new pair of PF Flyers, climbs into the junkyard and retrieves the ball by "pickling" the Beast and leaping back over the fence, but the dog breaks its chain and leaps after him, chasing him through town. Benny races back and jumps into Mr. Mertle's yard again, but the Beast crashes through the fence, which falls down on top of him. Smalls and Benny free the dog, who gratefully licks Smalls' face and leads them to its stash of baseballs.

The two meet Mr. Mertle, and learn that he had been a baseball player and friendly rival of Babe Ruth, but was blinded after being struck by a pitch. He kindly trades them the chewed-up ball for one autographed by all the 1927 New York Yankees (Murderer's Row), and asks them to visit every week to talk baseball with him.

Bill loves the Murderer's Row ball, but still grounds Smalls for a week for taking and ruining his autographed ball. Their relationship improves and Smalls begins to call him "Dad". The boys continue to play on the sandlot the rest of that summer, and several subsequent summers, with the Beast – whose real name was Hercules – as their mascot. As the years pass, they eventually go their separate ways: Yeah-Yeah enlists in the army, and later develops bungee jumping; Bertram disappears into the counterculture movement; Timmy and Tommy become wealthy upon inventing mini-malls; Squints marries Wendy, has nine kids with her and the two run the local drug store; Ham becomes a professional wrestler: "The Great Hambino"; DeNunez plays triple-A baseball, but later owns a business, and coaches his sons' Little League team; and Benny earns the nickname "the Jet" after the story spreads of how he outran the Beast.

As an adult, Smalls becomes a sports commentator and remains friends with Benny, now a player for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Performing the play-by-play for a Dodgers game, Smalls cheers Benny on as he steals home to win the game, and they give each other the same thumbs-up sign they have shared since childhood. In Smalls' broadcast booth, he has on display the chewed-up Babe Ruth autographed ball, the Murderer's Row ball, the forged Babe Ruth ball, some of Bill's pictures of Babe Ruth, and a large picture of the Sandlot kids from 1962.


  • Tom Guiry as Scott "Scotty" Smalls, new kid in town, who later becomes a left-center outfielder for the Sandlot team.
  • Mike Vitar as Benjamin Franklin "Benny" Rodriguez, leader of the group, as well as the most dedicated and skilled member of the team.
    • Pablo Vitar as adult Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez
  • Patrick Renna as Hamilton "Ham" Porter, overweight, short-tempered catcher.
  • Chauncey Leopardi as Michael "Squints" Palledorous, glasses-wearing, snarky shortstop.
  • Marty York as Alan "Yeah-Yeah" McClennan, smart-mouthed third baseman.
  • Brandon Quintin Adams as Kenny "The Heater" DeNunez, easygoing pitcher.
  • Grant Gelt as Bertram Grover Weeks, rebellious second baseman.
  • Victor DiMattia as Timmy Timmons, hapless first baseman.
  • Shane Obedzinski as Tommy "Repeat" Timmons, right-center outfield, and Timmy's younger brother.
  • Karen Allen as Smalls' mom
  • Denis Leary as Bill, Smalls' stepdad
  • James Earl Jones as Mr. Mertle, former player who now resides near the Sandlot, and owner of "The Beast".
  • Marley Shelton (credited as Marlee Shelton) as Wendy Peffercorn, lifeguard at the local pool, and love interest of Squints.
  • Art LaFleur as Babe Ruth "The Great Bambino"
  • Wil Horneff as Little League team leader Phillips


The film was first released to theaters on April 1, 1993.[6] It grossed $4,000,000 in its opening weekend and a further $32,000,000 through ticket sales. Figures for worldwide VHS and DVD sales are estimated to be at $76,000,000. After being released on both VHS and DVD, the film became a cult favorite.[3] In 1993, The Sandlot first came to home video in a slipcase, along with the LaserDisc in widescreen, but later came in a clam shell case in 1994. On January 29, 2002, the DVD was released under Fox's Family Feature banner, in widescreen (Side B) and full screen (Side A); the 2013 repackaged DVD is widescreen only. The film was released on Blu-ray for the first time in March 2013 to celebrate its 20th anniversary.[7] The film then had a re-release on Blu-ray and Digital HD on March 27, 2018, as part of the film's 25th anniversary.[8]


Critical response[edit]

The Sandlot received generally positive reviews upon release. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 65% based on 62 reviews, with an average rating of 6.10/10. The site's critical consensus read: "It may be shamelessly derivative and overly nostalgic, but The Sandlot is nevertheless a genuinely sweet and funny coming-of-age adventure".[6] Metacritic assigned the film had a weighted average score of 55 based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[10]

Critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, comparing the film to a summertime version of A Christmas Story, based on the tone and narration of both films: "There was a moment in the film when Rodriguez hit a line drive directly at the pitcher's mound, and I ducked and held up my mitt, and then I realized I didn't have a mitt, and it was then I also realized how completely this movie had seduced me with its memories of what really matters when you are 12".[11] Bob Cannon of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, praising its simplicity and strong fundamentals.[12]

Leonard Klady of Variety gave the film a mostly negative review. He praised the cinematography and score, but felt the baseball team did not come together, and that the film, while sincere, was a "remarkably shallow wade, rife with incident and slim on substance".[13]

Defamation suit[edit]

In 1998, Michael Polydoros sued 20th Century Fox and the producers of the film for defamation. Polydoros, a childhood classmate of David Mickey Evans, the writer and director of The Sandlot, claimed that the character Michael "Squints" Palledorous was derogatory and caused him shame and humiliation. The trial court found in favor of the film-makers, and that finding was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal.[14] After initially agreeing to review the case in 1998,[15] the Supreme Court of California reversed its decision, dismissing the review and reinstating the Court of Appeal's opinion in favor of 20th Century Fox.[16][17]

Sequels and prequel[edit]

  • The Sandlot 2 (2005) – a direct-to-video sequel in which a new Sandlot gang is featured. The only returning cast member is James Earl Jones as Mr. Mertle. Evans also returned to direct the sequel and voiced Smalls' younger brother, Johnnie.
  • The Sandlot: Heading Home (2007) – another direct-to-video sequel starring Luke Perry as Tommy "Santa" Santorelli who gets knocked back to 1976 from 2004 and relives his childhood. Chauncey Leopardi reprises his role as Squints.
  • A prequel film was announced in July 2018.[18]
  • In 2019, a TV series with the original cast was in the works for Disney+,[19][20] as a result of Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox.[21] In November 2023, the series was cancelled due to the lengthy SAG-AFTRA strike.[22]


The film's original score was composed by David Newman, and was not released until 2006, when a limited edition was released as part of the Varèse Sarabande CD Club. This release paired it with selections from Newman's score for The War of the Roses.[23] Subsequently, in 2018 a remastered and expanded limited edition re-issue of the original motion picture score was published by La-La Land Records in observance of the film's 25th anniversary.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Sandlot". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on January 27, 2021. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  2. ^ Phillips, Nicole (September 4, 2017). "15 films with completely different titles in other countries". The Independent. Archived from the original on February 9, 2023. Retrieved February 9, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Alexander, Bryan (September 19, 2013). "'The Sandlot' at 20: Diamonds are forever". USA Today. Archived from the original on May 22, 2016. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  4. ^ Caron, Tim (March 25, 2015). "The Cult of The Sandlot". Crooked Scoreboard. Archived from the original on July 5, 2015. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  5. ^ Brownstein, Mathew (July 6, 2018). "MMO Exclusive: Director, Writer and Narrator of "The Sandlot", David Mickey Evans". Metsmerized Online. Archived from the original on 2018-07-07.
  6. ^ a b "The Sandlot (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on July 20, 2021. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  7. ^ "The Sandlot Blu-ray 20th Anniversary Edition". Blu-ray.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2018. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  8. ^ Webmaster (February 7, 2018). "The Sandlot 25th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition". Blu-ray.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2018. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  9. ^ "The Sandlot Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on September 6, 2021. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  10. ^ "SANDLOT, THE (1993) B+". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 7, 1993). "The Sandlot (1993)". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 8, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  12. ^ Cannon, Bob (April 23, 1993). "The Sandlot (1993)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  13. ^ Klady, Leonard (April 4, 1993). "The Sandlot". Variety. Archived from the original on April 10, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  14. ^ Polydoros v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 57 P.2d, 798 (Cal. Ct. App. 1997).
  15. ^ Obverbeck, Wayne. "Polydoros v. 20th Century Fox Film". Wayne Obverbeck's Communications Law Website. California State University, Fullerton. Archived from the original on June 7, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  16. ^ Chiang, Harriet (October 16, 1998). "Films Can Use Real Names, Likenesses, State High Court Rules". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  17. ^ Polydoros v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 965 P.2d, 724 (Cal. Ct. App. 1998).
  18. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (July 31, 2018). "'The Sandlot' Prequel In The Works At Fox With Original Writer-Helmer David Mickey Evans Scripting". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 11, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  19. ^ Greene, Steve (March 2, 2019). "'The Sandlot' Director Teases TV Show Revival With Original Cast Returning". Indie Wire. Archived from the original on March 4, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  20. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 11, 2019). "'The Sandlot' Series In Early Development At Disney+". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 7, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  21. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (March 19, 2019). "Disney Completes 21st Century Fox Acquisition". Variety. Archived from the original on March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  22. ^ Mitovitch, Matt Webb (November 7, 2023). "Inside Line: Scoop on Fire Country, For All Mankind, Magnum, Morning Show, Chucky, Sullivan's Crossing, Euphoria, a Disney Cancellation and More". TV Line. Retrieved November 7, 2023.
  23. ^ "David Newman – The War Of The Roses/The Sandlot (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2006, CD)". Discogs.com. Archived from the original on 2019-10-29. Retrieved 2019-06-15.
  24. ^ "SANDLOT, THE – 25th ANNIVERSARY: LIMITED EDITION". La-La Land Records. Archived from the original on 2019-08-09. Retrieved 2019-06-15.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]