Kylie Bunbury is the star of Pitch, the new Fox series. The 27-year-old actress plays Ginny Baker, who becomes the first female Major League Baseball pitcher when the San Diego Padres call her up. The show was created by Dan Fogelman (This Is Us) and Rick Singer (Younger).
This is Bunbury’s first major role, following parts in Twisted, Under The Dome and Tut. New episodes of Pitch air on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.
Here’s a look at Bunbury’s career and how she sees her role.
1. Bunbury’s Father is Retired Canadian Soccer Player Alex Bunbury
Bunbury, who was born in Canada, might have found acting as her career, but she’s been around athletes since the day she was born. Her father is retired soccer player Alex Bunbury, who was born in Guyana. He was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum. After his career in Canada ended, he moved to the U.S. in 1999 and played two seasons for the MLS Kansas City Wizards.
Bunbury’s brother, Teal Bunbury, plays for the New England Revolution.
2. She Feels a Responsibility as the Star of an Inspirational Story
In several interviews before the debut of Pitch, Bunbury said that she felt a sense of responsibility as the star of Pitch, since the story can be inspirational. Her character can be a role model for anyone who wants to follow their dream.
“People are going to get really inspired by this,” Bunbury told Collider. “Ginny is a dreamer, and we’re all dreamers. As time goes on, we suppress our dreams, which really makes me sad. Even right now, I’m getting emotional thinking about it because we shouldn’t. Our happiness matters and our dreams matter. I’ve found a lot of happiness in my dream, and this show is going to inspire and empower a lot of people. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean that it can’t be done.”
In an interview with The Sioux City Journal, Bunbury said she feels a responsibility to “empower women and to inspire them.” But, she said that she can also inspire anyone who dreams.
“You can achieve them and be any size, shape, color gender, creed, whatever it is, you can do it,” Bunbury said.
3. Bunbury Is Always Asked if ‘Pitch’ Is About Mo’Ne Davis, but It’s a Fictional Story
Bunbury told Vanity Fair that people often ask her if Pitch is about Mo’Ne Davis, the 15-year-old girl who pitched during the 2014 Little League World Series. Although the story is similar – albeit on a professional level – Bunbury says that it is not really about Davis.
“While it’s not about her, I definitely think she has opened the door a little wider for this show to be more within the realm of possibility,” Bunbury said. “I’m trying to get her on the show, though. I keep asking!”
Showrunner Kevin Falls told The Hollywood Reporter that he is also asked often if the show is based on a true story, but it’s not. No woman has pitched in the MLB, although just the fact that people think it could happen is a good sign. “So it’s already in people’s minds; they feel like it could happen,” Falls said.
The producers did make an important decision to give her number 43, which is one above Jackie Robinson’s 42. Of course, Robinson’s number is retired across Major League Baseball to honor the first African-American to play in the MLB.
4. Bunbury’s First Paid Job Was Acting in Disney’s ‘Prom’ Movie
Although Bunbury’s earliest acting credit listed on IMDb is a 2010 episode of Days Of Our Lives, she told CNN that her real first paying job was starring in the 2011 Disney movie Prom. She just turned 21 when making the movie and had no idea how to act.
“It was purely instinctual,” she said. “I just remember the first scene I did and the first take, it feeling so right. That’s when I knew that I wanted to do this forever and that my purpose was instilled in it.”
However, she decided that she really did have to work on her craft after her brother told her that he never stopped practicing when he turned pro.
“And that really stuck with me. I needed a foundation,” she told CNN. “And then I started taking acting classes, and now I feel like I have a foundation and I understand what acting is. So that was just my first experience with falling in love with it.”
Bunbury also starred on ABC Family’s Twisted and CBS’ Under The Dome, but Pitch is her first time headlining a show. She also appeared in the 2015 Spike mini-series Tut.
5. Bunbury Never Played Baseball Before Filming the ‘Pitch’ Pilot
According to an ESPN profile of Bunbury, she never played baseball as a kid. Instead, she picked up soccer, track and basketball. To prepare for Pitch, she started walking the MLB Network non-stop and read books about baseball. She also spent two and a half months practicing pitching before filming the Pitch pilot.
“I had never played baseball before, so I was training about three or four days a week,” Bunbury told People. “But I grew up in an athletic family. My dad played and my brother currently plays professional soccer, so I’m athletic. So it was a little bit easier for me to tap into it.”
Bunbury said she lived like a pro athlete during the process. Hopefully that hard work pays off and audiences start catching the show. Nielsen ratings for the premiere were not great, which just 4.3 million viewers tuning in while CBS aired Thursday Night Football. The show’s third episode will have to face off against the start of the MLB postseason.