Today in Philly Sports History: Freddie Prinze Jr. Makes the Phils, 2001

Today in Philly Sports History: Freddie Prinze Jr. Makes the Phils, 2001
August 24, 2009, 5:50 am
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The Phillies' bullpen in '01 might not have been lights out, precisely, but it was fairly effective. Lefty Rheal Cormier, up-and-comer Vicente Padilla, Jose Santiago and former 9th-inning man Ricky Bottalico all were decent or better at doing the setup work, and Jose Mesa had an excellent year as a closer, with 42 saves and a 2.34 ERA. So it's hard to see why exactly they were apparently desparate enough to call up Ryan "Lawnboy" Dunne in Summer Catch, released on August 24th, 2001. Catch told the story of Dunne, played by Freddie Prinze Jr., as he struggled through the Cape Cod Summer League, balancing his psychological demons (unsupportive father, washout brother) and his rich new girlfriend (a smokin' Jessica Biel in her first starring role) with his erratic performance on the mound.

Eventually, Prinze gets his shit together long enough to throw one super-good outing, witnessed by Phillies scout Hugh Alexander (Scrubs' John C. McGinley). Despite leaving his own no-hitter in the ninth inning to go chase down the departing Biel, McGinley is suitably impressed to offer him a deal with a minor-league Phils affiliate. By the end of the movie, his entire hometown is watching him give up a home run to the Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. (echoes of Little Big League) in his first pro appearance as a Phillie--amidst cameos frm then-Phils Pat Burrell, Mike Lieberthal and Doug Glanville.

We don't know what happened to Dunne after that, exactly, but let's hope the rest of the 00s treated him a little kinder than they did Freddie.

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