There are some stories so uplifting and inspiring that they need to be told. In 2002, John Lee Hancock directed The Rookie and brought to the national spotlight the story of Major League Baseball player Jim Morris. While not a household name before Disney’s theatrical retelling, Morris, played by Dennis Quaid, overcame great obstacles for a short career in the MLB.
Watch The Rookie online to see Disney’s take on a local MLB legend, co-starring Brian Cox, Jay Hernandez, and Rachel Griffiths. The movie was Disney’s first critical success of 2002, despite a comparatively poor box office performance. With The Rookie streaming, the audience is given the opportunity to become inspired by Morris’ brief but notable story. The Rookie is one of Disney’s more dramatic sports movies, alongside Remember the Titans, Miracle, and Glory Road.
Here’s how to stream The Rookie right now:
How to Stream ‘The Rookie’ – Exclusively on Disney+
The Rookie is one of the fan-favorite Disney original movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream The Rookie and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “The Rookie”
- 5. Tap on “The Rookie”
- 6. Tap the PLAY button
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘The Rookie’: Overview
Release Date: March 29, 2002
Creators: Mike Rich
Director: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, Brian Cox
A high school teacher and head baseball coach agrees to revisit his dream of joining the Major League if his team can make it to the playoffs.
How Long Is ‘The Rookie’?
The Rookie has a runtime of 127 minutes.
‘The Rookie’ Plot
Small-town high school science teacher Jim Morris has long-since given up the dream of becoming a Major League Baseball pitcher after a shoulder injury ruins his chances of playing for the Milwaukee Brewers. As he works hard to find the talent in the team he coaches, his gifted fastball inspires a bet between him and his team.
Despite their poor record, his team, the Big Lake Owls, task Morris with trying out for the MLB again if they can make it to the playoffs. With the stakes set, Morris sets out to train a winning team while his players work hard to give their coach the chance to shine again as Baseball’s Oldest Rookie.
‘The Rookie’ Cast
A powerful cast of leading men and women helped bring the story of Jim Morris to life. The dramatic but heartfelt tale of Morris required strong talent to capture its important themes and amplify the film’s emotion.
Dennis Quaid as Jim Morris
Real-life high school teacher and head coach of the Reagan County Owls. The movie follows Morris’ short career as a Major League Baseball player and showcases his time with overcoming the obstacles within his own team. Both Quaid and Morris are Texas natives and “The Rookie” marks the second time Quaid depicted a baseball pitcher. Outside of fast pitches, Quaid performed all of the pitching in the film.
Rachel Griffiths as Lorri Morris
Wife of Jim Morris and mother of two children. Lorri joined Morris on his quest to become a Major League Baseball player and is depicted as supportive of her husband’s decision. Lorri takes care of their three children after the family’s move to Big Lake, TX. Rachel Griffiths is an accomplished movie and TV actress and has been active in the theatrical community since 1987.
Jay Hernandez as Joaquin ‘Wack’ Campos
Owl’s player and part of the reason for the bet with Morris. Portrayed by Jay Hernandez, Campos supported Morris and his dream to become a baseball player. A fashion model and actor, Hernandez had another role in a Pixar movie, “Toy Story 4.” “The Rookie” was Hernandez’s fourth feature film role and the first of two sports roles, the other being “Friday Night Lights.”
Brian Cox as Jim Morris Sr.
The disapproving father of Jim Morris, Morris, Sr. is estranged from his son. Morris, Sr. serves as his son’s biggest obstacle and remains hesitant to support a baseball career. Brian Cox is nearly eight years older than Quaid, but his gruff appearance and demeanor fit the role of the critical parental figure well.
‘The Rookie’ Songs and Soundtrack
Competing against the award-winning soundtrack from the 2000 movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,”, Disney’s “The Rookie” failed to perform. Featuring a mix of country and blues, well-known artists like John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, and Carter Burwell provided the music to back Jim Morris’ journey. Songs like “Some Dreams” by Earle, “In My Time of Need” by Ryan Adams, and Allison Moorer’s “Tumbling Down” helped frame “The Rookie’s” inspirational story of following your dreams.
The soundtrack received a moderate reception but fell into obscurity shortly after. The score was created by Carter Benedict Burwell, who has collaborated with the Coen brothers on 16 films.
‘The Rookie’ at the Box Office
On a budget of nearly $22 million, “The Rookie” only raked in $80.7 million. The movie released alongside films like “Death to Smoochy,” “Panic Room,” and “Clockstoppers,” but was also preceded by “Ice Age” and “The Time Machine.”
‘The Rookie’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
Despite a small box office return, “The Rookie” released to generally favorable reviews. Much of the praise received by the film was over Dennis Quaid’s performance, but the film did earn accolades for its heart and inspiration message. The movie was criticized for being too long, especially considering the subject matter. Critics also enjoyed the movie’s ability to touch on two genres – the down and out team that has to overcome obstacles and the aging talent looking to justify his dream.
Where ‘The Rookie’ Fits in the Disney Movie Pantheon
While so many of Disney’s films become a big part of animated or film culture, “The Rookie” is one that delighted movie-goers upon release and slowly faded into the background. The movie was framed by more memorable titles like “Lilo & Stitch” and “Monsters, Inc.”
In 2002 and 2003, it did win the Best Sports Movie ESPY Award, Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Family Film, the Carnie Award for Theatrical Releases, and the ASCAP Film and Television Music Award for Top Box Office Films. “The Rookie” was also nominated by the American Film Institute for the “100 Years… 100 Cheers” movie list.
For Morris, “The Rookie” helped make him a recognizable figure, which led to a career as an inspirational speaker.
‘The Rookie’ Trailer
‘The Rookie’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
While its subject matter was straightforward and the story was based on a real sports figure, there are still some fascinating facts worth knowing when you go into your viewing of “The Rookie.”
1. Jim Morris Watched His Story Unfolded from the Sidelines
During the game against the Orlando Rays, the real Jim Morris plays one of the umpires. He can also be seen during the district championship, rooting for the Owls in a gray t-shirt and sunglasses.
2. A Treat for Texas Rangers Fans
The scene where Jim steps out onto the pitching mound was filmed at The Ballpark in Arlington during the seventh-inning stretch of a Texas Rangers’ game. Additional pitching shots filmed at the Arlington stadium were shot after the game had ended.
3. Learning a New Skill for the Role
Trevor Morgan, the young actor responsible for portraying Young Jimmy, learned how to pitch left-handed to fit in best with the role. Dennis Quaid is left-handed and underwent nine months of training to perfect pitching a Jim Morris.
4. A Cameo for Alex Rodriguez
Despite being a member of the Seattle Mariners at the time, Alex Rodriguez portrayed a player of the Texas Rangers. He remained with the Rangers until 2004, when he switched over to the New York Yankees for the remainder of his career.
5. An Homage to Classic Baseball History
“The Rookie” has several homages to real events in baseball, such as a 1951 playoff game between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. An announcer’s in-movie cheer about the Big Lake Owl’s victory was a call back to the radio call after Bobby Thomson hit a home run that secured the game for the Giants.