The Sandlot is almost unanimously agreed upon as one of the greatest all around sport movies of all time. I would definitely consider it the best out of all baseball movies. It details the summer of some neighborhood kids playing baseball and building life-long friendships. Another very famous baseball movie is Rookie of the Year, which tells the story of Henry Rowengartner and how he becomes a MLB caliber pitcher after injuring his elbow. Both movies have two players who play in the MLB, with Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez playing for the Dodgers at the end of The Sandlot, while Rowengartner stars for the Cubs for most of the movie.
This brings up an awesome hypothetical, would if Rodriguez stepped into the box to face the triple digit-throwing teenager? After re-watching both movies and looking into the stats, here is my theory. I believe the Cubs young pitcher would dominate “Benny the Jet” time and time again.
The Miracle Pitcher
Let’s start with the facts, which is that the twelve-year-old was able to consistently throw the ball 100 MPH. During the movie, we see him tryout for the Cubs, where he is clocked at 103. In 2019, there were 21 pitches clocked at 103 or higher, all thrown by Jordan Hicks. Out of those 21 pitches, 5 were put in play, FIVE. Of course, all five were outs, there was not a single hit off a pitch thrown that hard. In fact, only one of those pitches reached the outfield, with all stats according to Stat Cast. Rowengartner was a reliever, and throughout the movie was shown embarrassing superstars such as Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla. If he was able to throw the ball over 103 MPH consistently, his fastball would dominate every hitter in the MLB, including the hometown hero, Benny the Jet.
Benny the Jet
The most memorable moment of Benny Rodriguez’s career was his epic steal of home against the Giants. Unfortunately, it appears that The Jet’s biggest help on the Dodgers was his pinch running ability. Based on the ending of The Sandlot, it appears Benny was a bench player, who could provide speed on the bases when needed. If he was unable to start on the Dodgers, chances are his bat wasn’t up to starting caliber, as his defense would have been there after the countless hours spent on the Sandlot field. If he couldn’t hit off average MLB pitching, it is easiest to assume that Henry Rowengartner would mow down Rodriguez. The one chance Rodriguez would have is if the star reliever wasn’t pumping 103. Of course, that is a major if, but if Henry was only throwing 100, then Benny’s chances would soar. Here is why…
The average slash line for MLB hitters in 2019 was .252/.323/.435. In 2019, hitters slashed .257/.356/.415 off pitches that were 100 MPH or more. In case you don’t understand those stats, I will simplify them for you. If hitters saw pitches that were 100 MPH, they hit better than any other ordinary pitch. Of course, 103 miles per hour and 100 miles per hour are a big difference when it comes to reaction time, so if Henry Rowengartner was throwing his normal speed, he would dominate the bench-bat of Rodriguez.
My opinion is that the Cubs’ reliever would dominate the Sandlot legend. But it is baseball, so it would not surprise me if Benny was able to succeed a little bit off Rowengarter. I mean, the heater was the only pitch that Henry could throw, because 12-year-olds aren’t exactly snapping off MLB-caliber curveballs on the regular. Even though “The Jet” would know exactly what pitch was coming, I think it would still get blown past him. I mean, all batters know Cardinals’ pitcher Jordan Hicks throws hard, but they can’t do much about it. So, if Henry Rowengartner is able to throw 103 miles per hour, or maybe even harder, I don’t see my childhood hero Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez standing a chance in this clash of baseball movies.