With a sweep at the hands of the Mets looming at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night, the Cubs are breaking out a good luck charm in hopes of surviving the NLCS. His name is Thomas Ian Nicholas, the actor better known as Henry Rowengartner, the 12-year-old Little Leaguer who pitched for the Cubs after a freak accident in the beloved classic comedy Rookie of the Year.
Boy, what a movie that was. It had Daniel Stern, Gary Busey and John Candy in memorable roles. It had cameos from Booby Bonilla and Barry Bonds, both of whom struck out on some high, stinky limburger. And perhaps most memorably, it gave us an unforgettable PG-13 version of a curse.
It’s worth noting that Rowengartner’s last strikeout of the game, on that tasty floater that he learned from his mom, came against the Mets. Also worth noting that winning that game in the movie only meant that the Cubs won the division. Guess when you’re the Cubs, you dream small.
This isn't the first time Nicholas has made an appearance at Wrigley since the movie premiered in 1993: He's thrown out the first pitch and belted out "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during previous visits. But in the past he's done so in a Cubs jersey with his own name on the back. Not tonight.
"I called the team and I said, 'Can you make a Rowengartner jersey for me?,'" Nicholas told ESPN.com. "I've never done that. I haven't worn a Rowengartner jersey since the movie, but I feel like we kind of need it right now. It's kind of like my rally cap."
Let's just hope they get the spelling right.
Photos by Everett Collection