31 Years Ago Today Indians Fans Flocked to Theaters to See the Debut of "Major League"

Matt Loede

31 years ago long suffering Indians fans made their way to local theaters in Northeast Ohio to take in a movie that would become a part of the organizations culture.

Today, that movie officially turns 30 years old.

“Major League” debuted in theaters today in 1989, a comedy movie that was about a struggling, down and out baseball team that came together after they found out the team’s owner was set to relocate the team if the attendance for the team fell below a certain level.

Little could anyone know that 31 years later how embraced the film would be in terms of how fans to this day love the movie and in come cases relate to it about the Indians, who themselves made a turnaround in the mid-1990’s.

There are so many memorable lines to the film, as well as that moment near the end where Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, a closer who is played by Charlie Sheen, comes out of the gate in the bleachers to the song “Wild Thing.”

The names still roll off the tongue of Indians fans – manager Lou Brown, third basemen Roger Dorn, pitcher Eddie Harris, Pedro Cerrano, Jake Taylor, and speedster Willie Mays Hayes.

There is also the treat of “Harry Doyle,” played by longtime Milwaukee Brewers announcer and actor Bob Ucker, who steals the show with some memorable one liners throughout the movie.

Who could ever forget the line from Doyle - “Just a reminder fans about Die Hard Night coming up here in the stadium. Free admission to anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won the pennant.”

Then there is the famous line in the post-game after the Indians offense barely shows up, leading to the very famous exchange.

For weeks after the movie was released, local theaters were crowded with Indians and baseball fans who wanted to live out the dream of seeing the Tribe make it to the playoffs, which they do after beating the archrival New York Yankees in a one-game playoff in the ninth inning.

The movie started out at number one at the box office, and was well received by the critics, as Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 83 percent on their rating system.

A number of local minor league teams over the years have given out bobbleheads of various characters from the movie, and it always seems they are one of the most popular giveaways of the year.

While there was a couple of sequels made from the original, nothing compared to the first movie which fans still love to this day.