The Chicago Cubs’ run to the 2016 World Series was filled with amazing moments, and perhaps the most amazing, unlikely moment of all was provided by one of the team’s most improbable heroes, catcher David Ross. An aging backup player who intended to retire after the season, Ross helped spur the team to victory in the World Series’ historic game seven by hitting a home run off reputedly unhittable Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller. With that one swing, David Ross became a bona fide folk hero (and he’ll never have to pay for dinner in Chicago again until the day he dies).
The Cubs, baseball’s lovable losers for over a century until they finally won the World Series, are probably the perfect subject for an underdog sports movie. And amiable, aging Ross is probably the perfect character to place at the center of such a movie. It’s a combination that Hollywood just couldn’t resist.
In May 2017, the aforementioned David Ross will publish Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, a memoir chronicling his many years as a major league player, but especially focusing on his final year with the Cubs and his heroic feat in the World Series. According to THR, Radar Pictures is teaming with Ross and the Cubs to produce a film adaptation of the memoir to be called Teammate: My Life in Baseball. Ram Getz and John Corcoran are working on the script with Getz and Ted Field producing and Lisette Brooks executive producing. Ross gets an executive producer credit along with memoir co-writer Don Yeager.
In addition to serving as ace pitcher Jon Lester’s personal catcher, David Ross became an inspirational leader for the Cubs during their season-long run to the World Series. “Grandpa Rossy” mattered as much to the team for his personality and humor as for his on-field exploits, which made it all the more amazing and fitting that in the final game of the season, he came through with such a huge hit.
As baseball movies go, stories about underdogs prevailing against huge odds generally do the best. The most recent example of this was Moneyball starring Brad Pitt as a front office executive trying to revolutionize a stodgy sport using controversial analytical methods. Maybe the most stirring example of an underdog baseball movie was 1984’s The Natural, starring Robert Redford as a talented-but-aging nobody finally getting his shot in the big leagues and performing epic feats (with Randy Newman’s famous score soaring in the background).
David Ross as a character is probably closest to someone like Tom Berenger’s Jake Taylor from Major League: the crusty old broken-down catcher going on one last run. Another character who comes to mind is Kevin Costner’s Crash Davis from Bull Durham, the aging player filled with wisdom who becomes a mentor to younger hot-shots. It should be interesting to see what actors Radar tabs to star as Ross and the Cubs’ other players. Unfortunately, famed Cubs fan Bill Murray is too old to play Ross.
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