From “42” to “The Bad News Bears,” the 5 best baseball movie villains

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 04: Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Rogue One) speaks onstage during SYFY’s Resident Allen World Premiere Screening & Panel at New York Comic Con 2019 - Day 2 at Jacobs Javits Center on October 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for ReedPOP )
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 04: Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Rogue One) speaks onstage during SYFY’s Resident Allen World Premiere Screening & Panel at New York Comic Con 2019 - Day 2 at Jacobs Javits Center on October 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for ReedPOP ) /

Movies that tell a story on America’s pastime has always held a special place in my heart. There’s nothing like enjoying a quality baseball movie.

Though, just like any sports movie, every baseball movie has to have a villain. You’re not engaged with the story if there’s not a villain to hate and a hero to root for. Throughout the years, everyone always talks about the baseball movie heroes. Whether it’s Roy Hobbs (“The Natural”), Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn (“Major League”), or Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez (“The Sandlot”), everyone always remembers the heroes. But, what about the villains? Here are five of the best baseball movie villains.

Ben Chapman, “42”

As you may now, “42” is a biographical sports film about baseball player Jackie Robinson, who was the first black athlete to play in Major League Baseball. Based in the 1940s, Robinson as we know dealt with a great deal of racism. But, possibly not as much as he received from Phillies’ manager Ben Chapman. Actor Alan Tudyk did a great job portraying the racist manager, especially during important scenes.

As seen in the film, the scene where Chadwick Boseman (Jackie Robinson) and Tudyk are seen posing for a photo op basically just for the press to paint a positive picture for the Phillies’ franchise was significant. Often, when it comes to biographical movies, stories can be fabricated and even exaggerated. This was a true story that really happened and needed to be highlighted in the film. It was scenes like that and the one seen above that really make you hate Tudyk’s character as Chapman even more.

He wasn’t just a racist. He was not a great person overall and it’s shown early and often in the film.

Roy Turner, “Bad News Bears”

As a former Little League baseball player, I’ve seen my share of coaches like Roy Turner (coach of the Yankees). Yes, the Yankees had the most talent and were likely the best team in the league. Admittedly, I’ve seen my share of league managers who had favorite teams/coaches like Cleveland (played by Joyce Van Patten) did. She clearly showed favoritism towards the Yankees more than any other team in the league. We almost could have saved this spot for her, but Vic Morrow did such as great job portraying the aggressive and flawed competitor in Turner.

Whether he’s picking on Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley) and telling him he doesn’t belong at a baseball field, or telling Mr. Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) to forfeit, Turner concedes the role as the primary antagonist of the film. But, no scene make you hate Coach Turner more than this scene near the end of the film in the championship game versus the Bears.

He really cared about winning that much? The famous line, “You tried to hit him,” lingers on in baseball movie memories. Joey Turner (Brandon Cruz) quickly got his revenge as you see in the scene above and, for once in the movie, you found yourself cheering for the little guy, while simultaneously hating Roy Turner even more.

The Judge Goodwill Banner, “The Natural”

As the owner of the New York Knights, Judge (Robert Prosky) actually prefers his team to lose and will go through any hoops, twists, and turns to make sure it happens. His team losing allows him to run the organization and be in full control. In addition to that, he bets against his team and profits off that as well.

One of the most memorable moments was when Judge attempts to bribe Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) into throwing the game for the pennant.

Basically the entire movie, Judge lives in a tower above the ballpark, scheming new ways to make money off his team and how he can to take Pop Fisher’s remaining 40% of the team’s remaining stock. This is one of (if not the) greatest baseball movies of all time, so essentially that could make Judge the most hated baseball movie villain of all-time as well.

Clu Haywood, “Major League”

The film “Major League” was brought to fruition as a sports comedy. It’s about a former showgirl/dancer Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton) from Las Vegas who inherits a professional baseball team, the Cleveland Indians, from her recently deceased husband. She could have easily been chosen as a baseball movie villain, but The Judge from “The Natural” takes the cake when it comes to that character.

From “Major League,” the most hated villain was Clu Haywood (Pete Vuckovich). Even his mustache was angry in this movie. He was the best hitter in the entire league and most-feared player … and rightfully so. He trash-talked and thought he was better than everyone.

Okay, he probably was, but that’s besides the point. I think it comes down to how bad you felt for the Indians. Going from the worst team in the league to a contender made them easy to root for. Even today, the Yankees (maybe the Astros) are the most hated team in baseball and Haywood’s arrogance makes you hate him and the team even more in this film. Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn  gets his revenge on Haywood at the end striking him out on a 101 mph fastball high and inside.

Jack Bradfield, “Rookie of The Year”

There’s nothing worse than a wannabe stepdad, especially when he only wants anything to do with you until he sees you are an MLB star and notices how he has a money-making opportunity. He forcefully makes himself the manager for his stepson Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nicholas).

Jack Bradfield (Bruce Altman) was so concerned with how much money he was making off Henry that he didn’t even notice Chet “Rocket” Steadman (Gary Busey) was making moves on his lady Mary Rowengartner (Amy Morton). Thankfully, just when Jack thought he closed a deal that would send Henry to the Yankees and give him a huge payday, he got dumped. It was perfect timing. Early on, it’s noticeable there’s no chemistry between Henry and him, but capitalized on this first opportunity to take advantage of the kid.

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Overall, the movie may not be the greatest baseball movie ever, but Jack has to be one of the most-hated baseball movie villains of all-time.