A good movie prop not only gives a character something to do, it also affects the plot. Babe Ruth’s autographed baseball from 1993’s The Sandlot isn’t unique (people have it in their real-life collections), but without it, the main storyline in this iconic coming-of-age film couldn’t happen.
In “The Sandlot,” shy fifth grader Scott Smalls moves to Los Angeles and tries to fit in with the kids who play baseball in his neighborhood, although he’s not very good because his stepfather – who loves baseball – never trains with him. The team’s de facto leader, Benny, accepts him anyway, and Smalls is having the best summer of his life…that is, until he borrows a baseball from his father’s trophy room for a simple game of pick-up. As he hits his first ever home run, the ball sails into the yard of “The Beast,” a supposedly vicious dog who is said to eat children.
This unfortunate development spells embarrassment and downfall for Smalls. He’s mortified when his new friends find out he didn’t know who Big Bambino was, and he’s even more despairing at the thought of having to tell his stepdad what he did. The entire quotable final act of The Sandlot is about the ball and will forever be in the hearts of baseball and movie fans alike.