The Rookie |


Dennis Quaid, The Rookie

(The Rookie: Deana Newcomb)

It’s enough to make Dubya proud: the star, the director, and the guy who inspired the story all have Texas in their blood. Quaid plays Jim Morris, a high school science teacher and baseball coach who strikes a deal with his team: If they win the championship, he’ll try out for the majors. The surprise? At age 35, Morris signs with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and becomes the oldest major-league rookie in nearly 30 years. ”I think we all place bets with ourselves,” says Quaid. ”[We say] if this happens, we’ll try this or that. And that actually happened here – those kids had never won their district [before].” Director Hancock had no trouble relating to Morris’ story. Not only had he played the game as a teen, his dad was a high school football coach who taught biology. ”It’s really a story about fathers and sons and second chances,” Hancock says. ”It became for me less similar to baseball movies and more similar to ”The Last Picture Show” and ”Hud” and other Texas movies.” Hancock admits that having a Houston native in the lead was a relief. ”I needed a guy who could wear Wrangler jeans and boots and not look funny and walk right in them.”