Best Sports Movie Character Tournament


04-19-2020 Update: Welcome to the Fantasy Six Pack’s Best Sports Movie Character Tournament Championship match-up! It all comes down to this…#9-Seed Jimmy Dugan vs. #1-Seed Michael “Squints” Palledorous!

Here’s the updated bracket with one game left:

Best Sports Movie Championship

Voting for the Championship match-up is officially open, and the polls will stay open until 3:00 AM EST on 4/21/20. Get your votes in now to decide our winner!

Championship Voting:

This poll is no longer accepting votes

9. Jimmy Dugan (A League of Their Own) vs. 1. Michael "Squints" Palledorous (The Sandlot)
22 votes

After placing your votes, scroll down to check out the selection committee’s seeding methodology and our analysis of each region.

As always, we will send out notifications on Twitter for the opening of each voting period. Stay tuned in, and follow us daily to see if the characters you voted for advanced!

Here at F6P, we pride ourselves on being original and we’re betting you have never seen a Sports Movie Character tournament, have you? Well, we’re doing it!

Some of it is that we are emboldened by the success of our Best NCAA Men’s Player Tournament. Some of it is that like many other sites out there we don’t have a lot of new sports data to analyze. Hopefully, that will change soon. And that’s another reason we are doing this. During this time of quarantine, we can all use a little distraction. So why not a Sports Movie Character tournament?

I am sure many of you are familiar with the recent Netflix phenomenon, Tiger King. But for those of you who have seen it, let me ask you: Is it the plot that kept you watching or the fact that you really had to see what the various wackadoo characters were going to do next? The same can be said about some of our favorite sports movies. Fiction or non-fiction, we pretty much know how most of these movies are gonna end. But it’s seeing what these characters say or do that keeps us watching.

Hopefully, this tournament will also give you some suggestions of something to watch. Sure, you could watch one of the Rocky movies for the 900th time. But, perhaps there are a number of movies here you haven’t seen or heard. And, at least every movie here has some character worth watching.

Best Sports Movie Character Tournament

Full Tournament Bracket

Best Sports Movie Characters

Seeding Methodology

Yes, it’s possible that some of your favorites aren’t there. But our selection committee of A.J. Applegarth, Josh Mantel, Joe Bond and myself did not take this lightly. We decided that a max of one character per movie could be selected. So as much as it pained us to leave out “Ham”ilton Porter from The Sandlot, his lineup mate “Squints” forced us to take Porter out. Or we agreed that Mr. Miyagi was a more memorable character than Daniel LaRusso. However, since we had The Karate Kid in our underdog category, we decided that LaRusso himself was more of an underdog than Mr. Miyagi. There are other examples, but we believe we compiled a pretty strong field.

We also know that we left some decent sports movies out. We mutually agreed to exclude animation. Therefore, we excluded Space Jam and anything with Scooby-Doo meeting the Globetrotters. We also decided to leave sports movies that focused on animals, like Seabiscuit and Air Bud, for example, out. Our suspicion, however, is that no one will complain about the omission of the latter. Before we were done, we had compiled a list of about 90 sports movies. We know we left out some very good ones from light family favorites (Cool Runnings) to more issue-focused movies (Coach Carter) to just plain silly (Necessary Roughness). And for the record, we did not let lousy sequels like Major League II, Rocky V, or Karate Kid III influence our decisions.

In addition to leaving out a number of sports movies, we know we did leave out certain sports. I apologize to my fellow Marylander natives as there is no jousting or lacrosse. We also had so many, so we left out things like cheerleading (Sorry Bring it On fans) or some of the less physically demanding “sports.” Yes, the spelling bee has been televised on ESPN, but that doesn’t make Akeelah and The Bee a sports movie. Feel free to complain in the comments section if you want. But we tried to include more sports than just “the big four”, so we also have soccer, golf, tennis, bowling, ice skating, track & field, and all three of wrestling/boxing/martial arts, along with dodgeball. Besides, we are focusing on the characters and that last one had plenty!

Meanwhile, the seeding of each region was admittedly more group consensus than any scientific methodology. However, for our first region, we agreed to seed based upon both athletic and life success. This is why Muhammed Ali got a higher seed than Jake LaMotta. For underdogs, we seeded based upon who was given the least of a chance and ended up succeeding the most.

Just because we overthought this, doesn’t mean you should. Perhaps watch the movie before you vote a character out. But vote for the most memorable sports character in each of the matchups in each of the regions below.

Regional Analysis

Region I: Bio-Pic Success Stories

Muhammed Ali is a bigger-than-life character and few can question us seeding him at number one. He is after all, “the greatest.” If he doesn’t make it to at least the Sweet Sixteen, that will be a huge upset. Yet Ali and some of the other top seeds in this bracket could be in for an absolute pun-intended fight to advance in the latter rounds of this region. I’ll leave it to Hall of Famer Gale Sayers to tell you why…

But if you are looking for a first-round upset, consider our 13th-seeded Vince Papali:

Papali would have been like a seven seed had we put him in the Underdog region, but had the disadvantage of being a true story. He, therefore, finds himself as a correctly seeded 13th seed in a region littered with actual true legends. But I do like his odds to pull off the upset.

Region II: Comedies

However, our sports movie comedies might be the toughest region of our four. The comedic talents that make the characters in our top half of the bracket come alive might be unparalleled. The fact that multiple-Oscar-Winning Tom Hanks’s Jimmy Dugan is only a 9th seed in this division is very telling. Especially given Dugan has one of the more now-famous lines in nearly all baseball movies:

And a quick note on this while we are here. I know many of you are going to say, “Wait a minute, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was a real league and this should be in the Bio-pic category. . . .” Well, step off the mound for a minute there, ace. Yes, the league did exist. But Jimmy Dugan’s character was actually a composite and not a real composite. So we took some small liberties and put it here in Comedy.

Of course that 8-9 matchup is a pretty good one. Most of you Millenials probably know Kate Hudson better than her mom, Goldie Hawn. But unlike Hudson or even Hanks, Hawn has a string of successful comedy movies, including “Wildcats.”

Even the bottom of this bracket is loaded. Ladybugs might be one of the dumbest sports movies we included in this field, but how can you not love a character played by the incomparable, late Rodney Dangerfield?

Nonetheless, I do expect the top four seeds to cruise to easy first-round victories. However, I am not going to predict who actually comes out of this region. Of course, if Ricky Bobby doesn’t win it, we know what he thinks.

Region III: Nicknames

I think I might like every single entry in this region. Maybe because being a heck of a character is part of having a great nickname. And our top seed, Squints Palledorous, is a heck of a character.

I’ll admit, I kind of bullied the selection committee into making him the No. 1 seed. But “The Sandlot” might be my favorite sports movie and he’s one of the most memorable characters from that movie. He should be someone’s picked upon twerp little brother. Instead, he is a legend in the neighborhood. As Smalls put it, “Michael “Squints” Palledorous walked a little taller that day and we had to tip our hats to him. He was lucky she hadn’t beat the crap out of him. We wouldn’t have blamed her. What he did was sneaky, rotten, low . . . and cool.” And he wields a decent bat and glove too!

Of course “Steamin’ Beamen,” minus the vomiting is the epitome of cool…

And maybe he wasn’t as cool as Willie Beamen, but Crash Davis might have the best monologue in any sports movie. I know literally dozens of people, male AND female, who either tried to memorize Crash’s “I believe” speech or had the movie poster with what he believes hanging in their room.

Of course, Crash is seeded next to “Rudy,” one of the more inspirational characters, especially for the thousands and thousands of Notre Dame fans in this country. It’s an absolutely fantastic story and the epitome of what sports movies can be. Either you or at least someone else in your family is quite familiar with it.

Most are probably not familiar with “Line” Found from The Miracle Season. I am usually the one to introduce sports movies to the rest of my family, but in the case of The Miracle Season, it was the reverse. And I admit this movie surpassed my expectations. Just a really good movie and Caroline “Line” Found is actually a pretty cool character. I wouldn’t count on her knocking off Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, but she is an interesting Cinderella option.

Region IV: Underdogs

Of course, the term “Cinderella” is simply another synonym for “underdog” or what is now part of our lexicon, a “Rocky story.” Naturally, he’s the No. 1 seed. As he says in the clip below, “if that bell rings and I’m still standing, I’m not just a bum from the neighborhood no more.”

And I hate to give anyone the kiss of death, but I think Rocky beats this loaded region and makes it to the Final Four. He might even win the whole enchilada. It will help of course that he won’t have to play the winner of the Daniel LaRusso/Pete Bell matchup. Maybe Pete knows he’s not likely to win, because as he says, “it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it!”

Or perhaps it’s all about the Quan. It will be if Rod Tidwell ends up taking out Rocky. Of course, Coach Bell uses the same technique that Coach Norman Dale uses in Hoosiers when the latter points out that the baskets are the exact same dimensions.

Or perhaps I’m getting too philosophical. We enjoyed putting this Sports Movie Characters Tournament together. Hopefully, you have as much fun voting in it!

About Mark Strausberg

Despite his youthful appearance, Mark has aged hundreds and hundreds of years due to soul-sucking and crushing near misses over his decades of both playing and writing fantasy sports.

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