Charlie Esteves, to Charlie Sheen, to Ricky ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn … now it can (sorta) be told….

The new issue of Sports Illustrated plays the “Where Are They Now” card in the middle of summer — and this time around, in addition to tracking down Mark Eaton, Roger Bannister and the ’71 Pittsburgh Pirates, it’s a strange trip back to the 1989 movie “Major League” and whatever Charlie Sheen can remember about it 22 years later.


Chris Nashawaty, a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, had a two-hour interview with Sheen, as well as other members of the cast and crew, to uncover some new tidbits. Such as:

== What got Sheen to agree to come onto the project: “When I saw the script it wasn’t like catnip, it was like crack. I was going to a premiere, and I had a meeting with (writer/director) David (Ward) in the morning, so I had the script in the limo, and I was late because I couldn’t put it down. Then I sat in my driveway for an hour to finish it. It was probably as good a script as ‘Platoon’ (a movie that he and Tom Berenger also appeared together in), seriously.”

== How Sheen, once a pitcher at Santa Monica High when he was known as Charlie Esteves, had some extra zip to his fastball: “Let’s just say that I was enhancing my performance a little bit. It was the only time I ever did steroids. I did them for like six or eight weeks. You can print this, I don’t give a f—. My fastball went from 79 to like 85.”

(Sheen also adds about his Santa Monica days): “I had a great arm. I was just born with it. I played at Santa Monica High, but because of academic s—, they pulled me off the team. I used to go to this place in Missouri called the Mickey Owen Baseball School. I went to get scouted. But I looked at the talent there and knew I couldn’t do it for a living. I think my baseball career would have been spent riding buses, not jets, if you know what I mean. So I figured, Hey, I’ll pursue a real idiot’s job instead. Acting!”)


== On having women fly in to Milwaukee, where the movie was filmed: “It wasn’t as bad as on ‘Young Guns’ (which he did a year earlier). We made that one in Santa Fe, and you would fly into Albuquerque and drive to Santa Fe on this two-lane highway. Literally, the girls that were leaving would pass the ones coming in. ‘Major League’ was so physically demanding that you didn’t have a lot of time for that. You’re lying in bed and everything [hurts], and you’re thinking, I have to pitch tomorrow?! But there were certain days that we’d look at the schedule for the next day and be like, ‘Gentlemen, tonight we ride.’ ”

== On Mitch Williams taking the “Wild Thing” personna in his major-league career: “Mitch Williams, that f—— guy never gave me credit. Come on, dude; you’re coming out to the Wild Thing song… . You changed your number… . Can I get a little nod? I have to tell you, though, Major League became my all-access backstage pass to baseball. Guys like Joe Morgan and Eric Davis would tell me they carried one movie with them on planes — ‘Major League.’ And I’m like, “Guys, you gotta get bored with it after a while!”

== On what Major League means to him personally: “We had this party at my place a few months ago to watch Major League. It was awesome. The beard was there–Brian Wilson, from the Giants. We had Eddie Murray and Kenny Lofton. And I got David Ward to introduce the film. Colin Farrell showed up. And when my big strikeout at the end comes on, the place goes nuts like we’ve never even seen the movie before. I’m in between my two girlfriends, and I look over and there’s Colin Farrell giving me a thumbs-up. I reach behind me for a fist bump from Brian Wilson, who goes, ‘Winning!’ I’m telling you, David Ward created a baseball classic, and baseball is all that matters in the world. You know, I always wonder what I’m going to be in the middle of when I die. And I just hope it’s not in the middle of the greatest f—— pennant race ever.”

Here’s the whole story (linked here), including this quote from former Dodger catcher Steve Yeager, on the set as the technical advisor as well as a coach for the Cleveland Indians: “I didn’t have to do much for Charlie. We had him on a radar gun, and he was throwing in the mid-80s. With Tom (Berenger) we started with the basics as if we were teaching a young kid how to play. He was blocking balls. I felt sorry for him because I was beating him up pretty good.”

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