‘The Hill’ depicts Rickey Hill’s moving story of how he overcame his medical limitations and social perception to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a professional baseball player. In doing so, the narrative delves into the man’s family life to give the audience an idea of his upbringing and in-built support systems that sustained him in his impossibly thorny search for an athletic career. Born with a degenerative spine disease, Rickey had a tough path ahead of him. Yet, with persisting talent and the unshakable faith of his friends and family, the man faces every obstacle life throws his way.
In the film, Gracie Shanz-turned-Hill is depicted as one of Rickey’s first-ever supporters who roots for the boy in his childhood and returns as a teenager to inspire and motivate the man toward his success. Therefore, people must be curious to know about Rickey Hill’s real-life wife and her current whereabouts.
Rickey Hill’s Ex-Wife, Sherran, Inspired Gracie’s Character
Despite being a biographic film based on Rickey Hill’s life, ‘The Hill’ departs from reality in a few places. Perhaps the most notable instance of the same occurs with Siena Bjornerud’s character, Gracie Shanz, Rickey’s childhood friend whom he ends up marrying. In the film, Gracie is the daughter of an alcoholic man whose detestation of James Hill’s pious pastorship drives the latter’s family out of town. Nonetheless, Gracie, a young Rickey’s self-proclaimed girlfriend, refuses to cut ties with the boy and sends him letters years into the future.
Once Rickey’s career as a Baseball player lifts off with local teams and noteworthy games, Gracie, who has kept tabs on the man all this time, finally returns to his life. The two fall into a flirtatious relationship soon enough, with Gracie encouraging the man to hold on to his dreams even when the odds stack up against him. Their love story makes for a compelling side plot and drives the audience to connect with the film emotionally.
Gracie and Rickey’s story isn’t entirely without basis in reality, considering real-life Rickey Hill’s involvement in the film’s development. Yet, Gracie Shanz is not a real-life person with connections to Rickey Hill but rather a character inspired by Hill’s real girlfriend, eventual wife, and ex-spouse, Sherran.
The real-life couple, Hill and Sherran, met in their childhoods and married each other on August 5, 1975, when Hill was 18. The baseball hitter’s father, Pastor James Hill, officiated the couple’s wedding ceremony, which took place on Expo Stadium’s Home Plate. While the childhood-friends-turned-teenage sweethearts had a rom-com-esque relationship, it also came with its own set of complications. As such, Hill and Sherran ended up separating.
It is possible that Sherran’s on-screen counterpart wore a different name to ensure the former’s privacy since her character’s backstory comes with more than its fair share of family-driven turmoil.
Sherran Lives a Private Life
Sherran Hill barely occupied a space in the limelight during her and Baseball player Rickey Hill’s marriage. In fact, apart from their memorable baseball field wedding ceremony, little is known about the couple’s relationship. They had three daughters and several grandkids who turned out to be baseball enthusiasts like their grandpa. Nonetheless, anything else about the woman’s career, family, and social life before or after her marriage remains unavailable to the public.
Still, in 2023, Hill briefly spoke about his former wife in a conversation with Senior Planet and said, “I was about seven or eight when we [Sherran and Hill] first met. She lived next door to us growing up. And when we met up a little later in life, we wound up getting married on the home plate. But it was very hard for her— being married to a baseball player. We had three wonderful daughters, but we’re no longer together. I can’t say I blame her. It was tough for her.”
As such, we can conclude that Sherran, who grew up in Texas alongside Hill, had a tumultuous marriage with the man, which eventually ended in a divorce.
Read More: Where is Rickey Hill Now?