Major League II is a 1994 sequel to the 1989 film Major League. Major League II stars most of the same cast from the original, including Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, and Corbin Bernsen. Absent from this film is Wesley Snipes, who played Willie Mays Hayes in the first film and who by 1994 had become a film star in his own right. Omar Epps took over his role.
Major League II also welcomes some new faces to the team. David Keith plays Jack Parkman, a selfish superstar catcher who is looking to replace the aging Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger) as the starter. Takaaki Ishibashi, of Japanese comedic duo Tunnels, is outfielder Hiroshi "Kamikaze" Tanaka who helps excite the team. Eric Bruskotter is rookie catcher Rube Baker who is getting used to the MLB life. Unlike the first film, which was rated R, Major League II is rated PG and is distributed by Warner Bros. instead of Paramount Pictures.
|Major League II|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David S. Ward|
James G. Robinson|
David S. Ward
|Screenplay by||R.J. Stewart|
Tom S. Parker
by David S. Ward
|Music by||Michel Colombier|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
The success of last season has changed the attitudes of the Indians. Pitching sensation Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn has become a media sensation and as such is now more concerned about his public image than his pitching, causing him to lose the edge on his fastball. Instead, he begins to rely on highly ineffective breaking balls, to which he gives nicknames such as "Eliminator" and "Humiliator." Home run hitter Pedro Cerrano becomes a Buddhist and adopts a more placid, carefree style as opposed to the angry and aggressive player he was before. Center fielder Willie Mays Hayes is still as fast as ever but like Vaughn is more concerned with his self image, as he comes into camp wearing flashy jewelry and showing off his newly found batting power (which is not much). Hayes also appeared in an action film that was a flop and resulted in him spraining his knee. Aging catcher and team leader Jake Taylor has also returned, but once again is dealing with injuries to his knees.
The team also has a major change at the very top. Rachel Phelps, the owner whose attempts to sabotage the team so she could move it to Miami were foiled, has sold the team to Roger Dorn, who has retired from his playing position to take the job. One of his first acts as owner is to sign Oakland Athletics all-star catcher Jack Parkman, which forces Jake to compete for his old position. Parkman is an arrogant player who does not respect the team. To further complicate things, minor-league catcher Rube Baker has also been invited to camp despite his inability to throw the ball back to the pitcher with any consistency.
As the team breaks camp, Taylor confronts manager Lou Brown as to his status. While he made the team, the other two catchers did as well and since Parkman won the competition to start, it does not make sense for both Taylor and Baker to be on the active roster. Lou tells him that he is keeping him on as a coach and not as a player, which upsets Jake but he gets over his anger and decides to take the position.
Once again, the Indians start slow. Cerrano's religious conversion causes him to struggle, as even the slightest mishap causes him to lose focus. Hayes, with his new prima donna attitude, refuses to play even with the slightest injury. Vaughn's control issues return and once again he gives up far too many runs. Furthering the issue is the incompetence of the owner, as Dorn is in over his head and has to resort to various methods to raise cash such as selling advertising space on the outfield walls.
Perhaps the biggest problem of all is the team's new star. Parkman quickly becomes a divisive figure in the clubhouse as his ego is out of control. Parkman is also unafraid to let his frustrations out in public and eventually, Lou reaches the end of his tolerance regarding Parkman and decides to suspend him after Parkman criticizes the team in the local papers. Parkman then informs Lou that the suspension is moot as he has been traded to the White Sox. Lou confronts Dorn for not consulting him about the trade. Dorn explains that he could no longer afford to pay Parkman's salary and had no choice but to trade him. In return, Japanese import Hiroshi "Kamikaze" Tanaka, a gifted left fielder with a penchant for crashing into the fence, is sent to the Indians.
Finally out of options, Dorn sells the Indians back to Rachel Phelps. Rachel keeps Dorn on as the Indians general manager and his first order of business is to re-activate himself as a player. Phelps bought the team back as revenge for ruining her plan to move the team to Miami. With the Indians now in last place, she has another chance to do so. Lou suffers a heart attack in the clubhouse due to his frustration over the team's performance and Jake is given the reins of the team.
Things come to a head during a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. When Rube is hit by a pitch in his ankle, Hayes is called upon to run for him but refuses to do it, which angers Jake. Vaughn quarrels with Hayes and the two begin fighting, which leads to the entire team fighting each other and getting ejected. After the game, Tanaka criticizes Cerrano for not having any "marbles" due to his struggles and Hayes makes a wisecrack at Baker about his injury, leading Rube to chastise Hayes and the rest of the team for their lack of passion and demand that he be inserted into the lineup for the second game of the doubleheader. Inspired by the speech, Hayes volunteers to run for the injured Baker in the bottom of the ninth inning of the second game and promptly steals second, third and home to tie the score. Cerrano, also inspired, demands that Jake insert him into the game to pinch hit and he responds by hitting the game-winning home run.
The win sparks a hot streak that the Indians ride all the way to a second straight division title, clinched by beating the Toronto Blue Jays on the last day of the season. Despite the team's hot streak, Vaughn continues to slump as his ineffective breaking pitches have caused him to lose confidence in his best pitch, his fastball. To make matters worse, he refuses to finish games he starts and has allowed the fans to get into his head.
In the ALCS, the Indians square off in a rematch with the White Sox and win the first three games of the series. This inspires Rachel to give the team a phony pep talk before Game 4, which is purposely designed to get in the heads of the players and distract them. It works, as a still struggling Vaughn gives up a game-winning home run to Parkman in the bottom of the ninth. The White Sox then defeat the Indians in the next two games, forcing a seventh game in Cleveland.
The night before the game, Jake goes to visit Vaughn at his home and tells him that he might be called on to pitch in relief in Game 7. Vaughn nonchalantly tells Taylor he will be ready, which infuriates Jake to the point where he lashes out at Vaughn. He calls Vaughn out for having lost his edge and strongly advises him to find it again before the upcoming game.
The White Sox jump out to an early 2–1 lead in Game 7 after Parkman bowls over Rube on a play at the plate, taunting him as he struggles to get up. With the Indians down by one, Hayes reaches base on a walk and taunts Parkman by saying he is going to score on the play without sliding. Rube then lines a drive to the left field corner and Hayes rounds the bases and heads for home. The ball gets to Parkman first, but Hayes, making good on his promise not to slide, hurdles over Parkman and lands on home plate. Parkman responds, however, by hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning and the White Sox take a 5–3 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
Although the Indians get a runner on, two quick outs are recorded and Jake is forced to make a strategic move. To this point, despite multiple requests, he has not used Dorn in a game since he came back. Jake finally decides to use him to "take one for the team" and sends him up to pinch hit. Dorn takes the first pitch off his lower back and is pulled for a pinch runner.
Cerrano steps in, having apparently reverted to his more placid self. He greets Parkman, who reminds him that his team is still losing the game. After taking two pitches, Cerrano's teammates begin shaking little bags of marbles at him. With this, the Cuban slugger is able to find his focus and send the next pitch over the fence to give the Indians a 6–5 lead.
However, the go-ahead runs reach base with two outs in the top of the ninth. Jake calls on Vaughn to get the final out and to the crowd's amazement, Vaughn has taken Jake's message to heart and rediscovered his edge. To further this, he tells Jake that he intends to walk the current batter and pitch to Parkman instead, who is on deck. Knowing that an intentional walk will load the bases, Jake initially balks but takes confidence in Vaughn and allows him to face Parkman.
Vaughn throws a fastball that Parkman swings through for strike one, then follows with another fastball that Parkman fouls straight back. With two strikes on him, an impressed Parkman dares Vaughn to throw it a third time. Vaughn fearlessly complies with one more fastball dubbed the "Terminator" that Parkman swings through, striking out to end the game and send the Indians to the World Series.
The movie debuted at No. 1, knocking out D2: The Mighty Ducks, another sports comedy featuring Major League star Charlie Sheen's brother, Emilio Estevez. In the United States, the movie grossed a total of $30,626,182 at the box office.
Cleveland Stadium was not used, as it was in the first film. Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore replaced Milwaukee County Stadium as the stand-in for the team's home. Although Oriole Park bore a stronger resemblance to the stadium that the Indians were playing in when Major League II was released (the now-Progressive Field), like Milwaukee County Stadium it was designed to represent Cleveland Stadium in the film as the new ballpark was not yet named at the time of the filming. The outfield scoreboard at Oriole Park reads "Welcome to Cleveland Stadium" at various points and scenes in the outfield are played in front of a blue wall, which Cleveland Stadium had (Oriole Park and Progressive Field both have dark green outfield walls).
Coincidentally, a year after this film was released, the actual Cleveland Indians team made it to the 1995 World Series, which was the team's first playoff appearance in 41 years. The Indians ended up losing in 6 games to the Atlanta Braves. In the lead-up to Game 3, the first World Series game played in Cleveland in 41 years, the PA system played "The House Is Rockin", the song from the end of Major League II. In another coincidence, Bob Uecker served as a commentator for the 1995 World Series television coverage on NBC. Two years after that, the Indians made it to the World Series again (also telecast by NBC and again with Uecker as a commentator) ended up with the same result, this time losing to the Florida Marlins in 7 games. It would be 19 years before the Indians returned to the World Series, which they would once again lose in 7 games to the Chicago Cubs.
David S. Ward announced in 2010 that he was working on new film, which he called Major League 3, and hoped to cast the original stars Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes and Tom Berenger. The plot would see Sheen's character Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn coming out of retirement to work with a young player. The film is being seen as the third film in the series, despite the fact that a third film, Major League: Back to the Minors, was released in 1998.
On April 6, 2011 in Cleveland Ohio, Charlie Sheen during his "violent torpedoes of truth" tour announced to the audience that he was working on a third sequel, titled Major League 3, and said "We are gonna shoot it right here in Cleveland!" He opened the show wearing a "Rick Vaughn" #99 Cleveland Indians jersey.
In 2017, Morgan Creek announced plans to reboot their classic films from '80s and '90s as either television series or movies, following the success of The Exorcist television series reboot. Several films in the early stages of development include film series Young Guns, Major League, and Ace Ventura.