The Sandlot has been called the greatest baseball movie ever made, and the best summer movie of all time. There was no way to know it would ever reach those heights when writer and director David Mickey Evans made the picture which was released in 1993, especially when the seed of the idea for the story came from a small incident from his childhood.
When the neighborhood bullies lost their only baseball over the backyard fence of a house at the end of their block, nobody would go get it because there was a vicious dog back there named, literally, Hercules. DME's little brother didn’t know that, so because he wanted to play baseball so badly (the bullies never included him) he went over to get the ball back in exchange for being allowed to play. He got the ball and the dog got his little brother. Bit him really bad and resulted in a trip to the ER room and stitches.
That long-ago incident is where The Sandlot was born. After he turned the bullies into heroes, the rest became movie history.
Here are ten mind-blowing facts that you didn't know about The Sandlot as told by David Mickey Evans!
The Original Movie Wasn't Titled "The Sandlot"
1. The original title was not The Sandlot. It was “The Boys of Summer.”
Older Ended Up Being Better
2. The characters in the original script were written as 9 and 10 year-olds. The film was actually cast with 9 and 10 year-olds as well. But when we got them all together in a rehearsal room, as an assemble it was instantly obvious that they were too young. So it was re-cast with 12 and 13 year-olds.
3. The big oak tree that holds the treehouse in the Timmons’ backyard is real, but the leaves are not. The production designer got it by chance, for free, from a homeowner who was cutting it down because its roots (the tree was over 100 years old) were ruining the foundation of his house. To ensure the leaves remained green during the entire shooting period, the original leaves were stripped and replaced with more than one million wire-and-satin leaves.
Chilling At The Pool
4. It was brutally hot in Salt Lake City, Utah that summer where the film was shot. It reached 112 degrees in the shade some days, except one. The day they shot the pool scene it was about 54 degrees, and the water was cold as well. That’s why if you look closely you can see Squints’ teeth chattering when he’s ogling Wendy the lifeguard.
The Real Beast
5. There were multiple English Mastiffs that played The Beast. The largest one, the one that licks Scotty’s face at the end of the movie, was one of the largest dogs in the world at the time. Over 200 pounds.
6. "There was only one-night game a year. On the 4th of July the whole sky would brighten with fireworks giving us just enough light for a game. We played our best then because I guess we felt like big leaguers under the lights of some great stadium." That entire scene was shot in about two hours.
Maury Wills Subplot
7. There was a subplot in the original script about Benny trying to keep pace with Maury Wills that summer as Wills was attempting to break the MLB stolen bases record – which he eventually did. That’s the main reason the movie is set in 1962 – the year Maury Wills achieved what some thought impossible.
All In The Family
8. In the last scene at Dodger Stadium, the real-life Maury Wills plays the third base coach for The Dodgers, and the older Benny the Jet was played by Mike Vitar’s real-life older brother Pablo.
9. "Hurry up batter. It's going to be a short game and I have to get home before lunch." All of the trash-talking dialogue Ham speaks from behind the plate when the boys play the Little Leaguers was improvised on the day they shot the scene.
Movie Crew Gets In On Action
10. "I don't believe it! The Jet stole home! The Jet stole home." Most of the Los Angeles Dodgers team in the last scene were played by crew members in the film.