Did the Actors Learn Baseball in Moneyball? Are There Any Real Players in Moneyball?

The cast of Bennett Miller’s sports biopic ‘Moneyball’ includes not only Academy Award winners such as Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman but also renowned baseball players. Since the film features several baseball characters playing the sport, Miller and the other creative heads mainly cast professional players for the roles, except for Chris Pratt, who portrays Scott Hatteberg, the resurrected star of the Oakland Athletics. To authentically play Hatteberg, the actor not only befriended the baseball player but also trained immensely, ensuring maximum authenticity as far as his performance is concerned!

The Real Baseball Players in Moneyball

There are mainly six former baseball players in ‘Moneyball,’ starting with Royce Clayton, who plays Miguel Tejada. Clayton was a shortstop who made his MLB debut in 1991 with the San Francisco Giants. He was named an All-Star in 1997 while he was playing for the Texas Rangers. Apart from the Giants and Rangers, he played mainly for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, and Milwaukee Brewers. He ended his playing career at the Boston Red Sox, averaging .258 and with 723 runs batted in.

Chad Kreuter, a former catcher and manager, portrays pitching coach Rick Peterson in the film. Chad made his MLB debut with the Texas Rangers. His best season was in 1993 with the Detroit Tigers as he batted .286 with 15 home runs and slugged .484. The catcher also played for the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers before ending his MLB career at the Rangers, where it all began for him. Casey Bond, who plays Chad Bradford, was a center fielder for the San Francisco Giants, drafted in 2007. He was released ahead of spring training in 2009.

Derrin Ebert, who plays Mike Magnante, was a relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. After one year in the major leagues, he played in the minor league organizations of the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers. He is currently a pitching coach of the Salt Lake Bees, a team that plays in Minor League Baseball. Stephen Bishop, who plays David Justice, played baseball for the Highlanders while attending the University of California, Riverside. After signing with the Atlanta Braves, he played for their affiliate in the Pioneer League. Bishop’s portfolio also includes tenures at the Sioux Falls Canaries, St. Paul Saints, and High Desert Mavericks.

Ken Medlock, who plays the head scout Grady Fuson, was a pitcher for the Decatur Commodores of the minor leagues and a coach for St. Paul Saints, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

Perfecting the Swing

For the role of Scott Hatteberg, Chris Pratt was cast. Pratt, in real life, played as a catcher in Little League. “One of the things that he [Hatteberg] and I actually had in common, and one of the reasons I could relate is that all through Little League, I played catcher. It was never my natural instinct to field ground balls or play the infield,” the actor told The Louisville Cardinal about playing Hatteberg. Pratt had to transform himself into an infielder for the movie. “I definitely related to that, not only in just my having been catcher and needing to learn how to play infield, but in having done primarily comedy and trying to do something a little bit different and dramatic,” he added.

Pratt, however, is right-handed, unlike Hatteberg, a lefty. He had to train with his left hand specifically to portray the baseball player. The training also helped him lose around 40 pounds for the role. “I think I lost the weight trying to get good swinging lefty. I was fortunate enough to work with Chad Kreuter’s former head coach at USC, and I was there every day for a few hours. They were running me through drills and batting practice and fielding drills and it was fun, man. It was really fun,” Pratt told The Big Lead.

Pratt got the role beating several professional baseball players as well. “I went to a baseball tryout, a physical audition, and there were several hundred players there. These guys were pros. Literally ex-professional baseball players, both from minor and major league, but also foreign teams, ex-college guys,” the actor told Movieline. “We did a tryout and that’s how they cast 95 percent of the baseball players, was just based on physical ability and the likeness to the real players in real life. So, you’re definitely seeing baseball players play real baseball. I think that was really important for Bennett and everyone making the movie to stay authentic to the sport,” he added.

Read More: Where Was Moneyball Filmed?