06/03/2008 11:17 AM ET
The Bigs List: Celeb draft
Stars of stage and screen takes spots on the lineup
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Garth Brooks takes a swing as a non-roster invitee for the Kansas City Royals. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Many celebrities have grown up with baseball. Some even played a little.
For all the actors who have put on a uniform in movies or rock stars who have referenced the Grand Old Game in song, you can tell the big-league dreams have always been there.
In honor of this week's First-Year Player Draft, The Bigs List selects a nine-man baseball team from celebrities who have experienced the game -- in fiction and in reality -- enough for us to think we wouldn't be embarrassing ourselves if we put them on the field.
The Bigs List is on the clock ...
1. Billy Crystal: This fun and funny New Yorker has a ton of baseball ties that make him worthy of inclusion on this team. He famously wore a Mets hat in the hit film "City Slickers," which has just been re-released on DVD. He made a baseball movie of his own, the highly regarded "61*" that detailed Roger Maris' home run chase in 1961 and the misunderstood slugger's friendship with Crystal's idol, Mickey Mantle. And, in Spring Training this year on the day before his 60th birthday, Crystal signed a one-day contract, suited up for the Yankees in a real exhibition game and struck out against Paul Maholm of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a close foul ball shy of getting a single.
2. Garth Brooks: When Brooks sat in with the San Diego Padres in Spring Training a few years back, he got his uniform dirty, pinch-running for Wally Joyner and diving back into first base to avoid a pick-off throw. "They asked if I was nervous, and I said I was too busy thinking, 'I can't believe where I was,'" Brooks said at the time. "It was great. It was a piece of Americana going right down my throat." Brooks also worked out with the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals in Spring Training, showing off a decent glove and raising a lot of money for charity in the process.
3. Trace Adkins: This 6-foot-6 Louisiana native played high school baseball and had some power but couldn't hit the curveball. Fortunately, the late bloomer ultimately decided on music as a career and has flourished. He delivered a metaphorical paean to baseball in the hit song "Swing," pals around with the St. Louis Cardinals and even rocked out a big-league ballpark -- the Tampa Bay Rays' home, Tropicana Field -- this year with his brand of fun-loving honky tonk ("Badonkadonk").
4. Charley Pride: This famous singer had dreams of Major League glory while pitching in the Negro Leagues in the early 1950s, and he managed to sign a Minor League deal with the Yankees organization. Injuries and the U.S. Army derailed his hardball career, however, making it country music's gain. He's a (Country Music) Hall of Famer now, and he still suits up and works out with the Texas Rangers in the spring.
5. George Clooney: He makes this club because he played high school ball in Augusta, Ky., and then tried out for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977. He didn't make it past the first day, but hey, at least he tried. He also wisely tabbed baseball movie veteran David Strathairn (Eddie Cicotte in "Eight Men Out") for the lead role in his excellent film, "Good Night, and Good Luck." A few months ago the Minor League Dayton Dragons offered him a contract. And since his recent football flick ("Leatherheads") didn't exactly fare well with critics or at the box office, maybe this will inspire him to raise his game in a baseball movie.
6. George Thorogood: Before Lonesome George took his Destroyers to the top of the charts with his rocking brand of blues, Thorogood played semi-pro ball on a team in his home state of Delaware. A second baseman, Thorogood earned Rookie of the Year honors before being forced to quit the game by his band. Thorogood graduated to the Major Leagues, though, by singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at Wrigley Field. It also happened to be his daughter's first ballgame.
7. Kevin Costner: He makes this team because he's the king of all baseball movie actors, with the lead roles in two all-time hardball classics, "Field of Dreams" and "Bull Durham," plus the marquee parts in "For Love of the Game" and "The Upside of Anger." He's also from a great baseball college, Cal State-Fullerton, is good friends with University of Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido, and hit a bunch of line drives all over Tropicana Field when taking batting practice there last year.
8. Tom Selleck: Selleck became famous by wearing a Detroit Tigers cap as Thomas Magnum in "Magnum P.I.," and he's always said his fantasy was to be a Major League Baseball player. The 6-foot-4 ladies' man got the chance to play one in the 1992 film "Mr. Baseball," and got an at-bat in a Tigers' Spring Training game in 1991 while researching that role. Fighting a bum hammy that rendered him about as athletic as the Higgins character from "Magnum," Selleck pinch-hit for Rob Deer and struck out.
9. Charlie Sheen: Before he reached the level of baseball movie icon for his role as Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn in "Major League," Sheen had some serious skills on the diamond at Santa Monica (Calif.) High School as a shortstop and pitcher (40-15 record, 3.00 ERA), earning a scholarship offer from the University of Kansas. He also gets persistence points for appearing in "Eight Men Out" and for buying out an entire section of the Angels' left-field bleachers (over 2,500 seats) one night in 1996 just to catch a home run ball -- and failing.
Doug Miller is a Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.