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The Chicago Cubs needed a miracle... they got Henry Rowengarter.
12-year-old Henry Rowengartner is a Little Leaguer who is a little...inept at playing (as in, he inadvertently throws a fielded ball over the outfield fence instead of to the infield). When he breaks his arm trying to catch a fly ball, it seems like another downer for the kid - until he discovers that the tendons in his arm have healed a little too tight, giving him the ability to throw the ball with amazing force.
After a startling demonstration of this newfound ability at Wrigley Field, he is signed on as the pitcher of the Chicago Cubs, where he learns that being a professional baseball player is a lot harder than it looks.
This movie contains examples of:
- Accidental Athlete
- Chekhov's Skill: Henry's mother's underhanded lobs
- Curse Cut Short: Combined with a Smash Cut; Mary starts it while watching the game at work while Chet actually finishes the curse in the dugout.
- Disability Superpower
- Disappeared Dad: Henry's dad
- Down to the Last Play
- Feud Episode: His fame nearly ruined his friendship.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Steadman's surgically repaired shoulder finally gives out in the final game of the film. Henry also resets his tendons accidentally after taking a fall similar to the one earlier in the film, and loses his superhuman velocity for the final inning.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: "Funky butt-lovin'..."
- Gretzky Has the Ball / Aint No Rule derailed: In real life, the minimum allowed age for a Major Leaguer is sixteen.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Three Home Alone alums have supporting roles as various members of the Cubs organization. John Candy plays the team's play-by-play commentator, Eddie Bracken (the kindly store owner in the sequel) is the team's owner, and Daniel Stern (who also directed the film) plays the team's eccentric pitching coach.
- The Janitor as the Cubs' first baseman.
- Is That What She Told You?: Henry's mom told him stories of how his dad was a great baseball player. She later admits that he walked out on them when Henry was young and was never a baseball player. However, Henry knew all along, his grandmother told him the truth years ago. He never said anything because he thought his mom liked it when she tells him stories about how "great" his dad was. Near the end of his last game, he discovers that his mom was the great baseball player all along.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chet Steadman
- Mama Bear: Henry's mom
- My Name Is Not Durwood: The team's manager constantly misremembers Henry's last name.
- Parental Substitute: Chet Steadman quickly becomes a father figure for Henry.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse - Henry is just a kid, but he can throw fastballs at over 100 miles an hour.
- Playing Against Type: Gary Busey is neither villainous nor crazy, like 99% of his resume.
- Precision F-Strike: Mary and Chet get increasingly angry at what they perceive to be the Dodgers pitcher throwing at Henry (despite the fact he's basically outside the batter's box and is so skittish, he falls even if when it's not close to him).
- Shipper on Deck: Henry for his mom and Chet Steadman
- Shout-Out: The way Henry tries to enter the Cubs' clubhouse is a nod to Dorothy at the gates of Oz.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: Played with. A man in the stands who failed to throw back a home run gets angry when Henry throws it from the nosebleed section of center field to Home Plate, thinking it was to show him up. He tries to go after Henry, but his friend stops him, saying simply "He'd kill ya" if he tried to fight a kid with such a strong arm.
- Throw It In: When Henry's mom celebrates Henry scoring his first run, she smacks her head on an overhead light. This was unplanned; Amy Morton legitimately smacked her head on it. You can see her start to mouth "Oh, shit" as the scene begins to cut, which is funny because that scene also contained the film's actual precision "Shit"-strike".
- Took a Level In Jerkass: Mary's boyfriend Jack goes from a dorky, if well-meaning guy to a complete and total ass as soon as he gets a taste of big money.
- Try Not to Die: Chet's very brief pep talk to Henry before the latter goes to bat for the first time.
Chet: Remember, stay low.
Henry: Yeah, and?
Chet: And....don't get killed!