Nothing says summer quite like baseball and childhood nostalgia, and no film better encompasses the two than The Sandlot. The kid-friendly sports comedy wasn’t quite a home run with critics upon its initial release in theaters in 1993, but thanks to the indelible charm of its young cast and some genuinely funny lines, the film has become a bona fide cult classic and generational touchstone over the years. What has the cast been up to? Let’s check in on our favorite ragtag team, because the anticipation is killing us, Smalls!
Tom Guiry – Scotty Smalls
Tom Guiry was just 11 years old when he was cast as new kid in town Scotty Smalls—the New York native’s feature film debut. Guiry, who started acting to deal with his shyness, landed an agent after she saw him in a local play. The Sandlot was one of his first big auditions, but he didn’t initially get the part. "They hired somebody else," Guiry told The Huffington Post, "it was neck-and-neck. I didn’t get it, so I came back home." Luckily for Guiry, the other actor didn’t work out, so he came back to screen test again, and he knocked it out of the park.
Guiry followed up his work in The Sandlot with a role in the 1994 family film Lassie, and yet another baseball film, The Last Home Run, in 1996. However, the shy kid eventually blossomed into an actor who’s mostly made a career out of playing tough men. He appeared alongside Sean Penn and Tim Robbins in Mystic River, went to war in Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down, navigated the Irish mob in the TV series the Black Donnellys, and played a fur trapper alongside Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. An incident with the law in 2013 notwithstanding, Guiry mostly lives a quiet life with his wife and kids in New Jersey between roles.
That doesn’t stop The Sandlot from bringing him back into the news every now and again, though. In 2018, for example, he and Patrick Renna made headlines after they ran into an unsuspecting stranger sporting a t-shirt with the film’s signature line, "You’re killing me, Smalls!" The really humorous thing about it was that the wearer didn’t seem to get the reference — or who he was taking a picture with — so it was the actors who were more excited about the chance encounter. Guiry credits the "nostalgia factor" and continued relatability of the movie with why it still resonates with audiences more than a quarter of a century later.
Mike Vitar – Benny ‘the Jet’ Rodriguez
Though Mike Vitar made a considerable impression on young audiences as star player Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez, he only made a handful of appearances in film and TV afterwards. Following The Sandlot, he continued to display his athletic abilities on film as Luis Mendoza in two Mighty Ducks sequels, but he quit acting in 1997 following a guest spot on TV show Chicago Hope.
In the midst of his acting career, Vitar started training in Emergency Medical Services in the Los Angeles area, eventually becoming a firefighter in 2002. He was honored the following year for his work saving two fellow firefighters during a house fire in the Hollywood Hills. Unfortunately, not all of Vitar’s actions have been heroic: he was arrested in 2015 after allegedly assaulting a grad student on Halloween in northwest Los Angeles with two other firefighters. In early 2017, Vitar pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery and struck a plea deal to avoid a four-year jail sentence.
Patrick Renna – Hamilton ‘Ham’ Porter
Patrick Renna stole bases and hearts as Hamilton "Ham" Porter the second he uttered the line "You’re killing me, Smalls!" The actor was just 13 when he made his film debut in The Sandlot and had a blast. "I don’t even necessarily remember the filming as much as I remember the times we didn’t film," he told Us Weekly. "Running around with all the guys and raising hell in Salt Lake City and going to movies…things like that."
He reunited with Sandlot castmate Chauncey Leopardi two years later in the soccer flick The Big Green, following a turn opposite comedian Pauly Shore in Son in Law. Renna continued working throughout the ’90s appearing on favorites like Home Improvement, Boy Meets World, and The X-Files and a string of movies. He also had a recurring role on Boston Legal and more recently appeared in the Kickstarter-funded film Bad Roomies, which he co-produced.
Renna still doesn’t mind being recognized by Sandlot fans. As he told MTV, "99 percent of the time, it’s people that are remembering a great moment in their childhood and they’re just telling me how much it meant to them…it’s pretty awesome." In addition to taking on an entirely different role as a new father to his son Flynn with wife Jasmin, Renna also recently returned to the screen in a big way with a recurring guest role in the Netflix wrestling dramedy GLOW. In the show, Renna appeared as a superfan of the titular team named Cupcake. Considering his second-most famous line from The Sandlot came when he ridiculed a teammate by shouting, "You play ball like a girl!" it’s a little poetic to see him stanning some female athletes in his newer work.
Chauncey Leopardi – Squints
Chauncey Leopardi made his film debut in 1991’s Father of the Bride remake starring Steve Martin. Just 12 years old on the set of The Sandlot, he admitted he’d constantly pester director David Mickey Evans about when they’d be filming his character’s kiss with lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn. Despite an otherwise hot summer, it was a chilly 50 degrees the day Leopardi had to jump in the deep end of the pool to be "saved," but the big grin after the kiss was real.
Leopardi worked quite a bit after receiving his poolside CPR, popping up in ’90s faves like Boy Meets World and the film Casper with Christina Ricci, who he costarred with again in The Opposite of Sex in 1998. He also played bully Alan on the beloved cult TV show Freaks and Geeks and had a recurring role on Gilmore Girls. From 2009-2012, Leopardi made a living as a professional poker player, but a big loss forced him into the job market. He lives in Los Angeles with his daughter, and regularly appears at special fan events and screenings.
Marty York – Alan ‘Yeah Yeah’ McClennan
Yeah, yeah. Like more than one of his Sandlot castmates, Marty York made his screen debut in the film, which he followed with small parts on Saved by the Bell: the College Years and a couple of episodes of Boy Meets World. Other than Sandlot fan events and a 2015 episode of Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show, the place he’s appeared the most has been gossip site TMZ, which reported he was arrested for alleged domestic violence in 2009. Since his "little league days," York has transformed from scrawny kid to buff personal trainer, and at one point he was working on developing a line of workout supplements he dubbed "Beast Juice"—a reference Sandlot fans will recognize as being inspired by the fearsome dog the crew has to face.
Despite his attention-getting physique, York has expressed some gratitude about his relative anonymity in adulthood, when compared to his more recognizable former co-stars. "I think me and Vic [DiMattia] don’t really get recognized as much as like — we went out to dinner with Pat Renna, who plays Ham. That dude looks exactly the same," he told Philly Voice. "He can’t walk down a street without people driving by and yelling, ‘You’re killing me, Smalls!’"
Brandon Quintin Adams – Kenny DeNunez
Brandon Quintin Adams was one of the few kids in the cast who already had quite a bit of acting experience prior to appearing in The Sandlot. Adams got his start dancing in Michael Jackson’s 1988 music video for "Smooth Criminal," proving he too had some impressive moves. He did quite a bit of TV in the late ’80s, including a recurring role on A Different World, and made his feature film debut in Wes Craven’s 1991 horror flick The People Under the Stairs before joining The Mighty Ducks.
After the success of The Sandlot, he appeared again alongside castmate Karen Allen in Ghost in the Machine and reunited with Mike Vitar in D2: the Mighty Ducks. Supporting roles on Moesha and Sister Sister followed, but he took a hiatus from acting after the murder of his friend, actor Merlin Santana. After doing some voiceover work for the video game Kingdom Hearts II in the late 2000s, Adams pivoted into a hip-hop career, releasing an album called B Lee H.D.
Grant Gelt – Bertram Grover Weeks
Grant Gelt got his start with a string of TV appearances on Knots Landing, Tales from the Crypt, Northern Exposure, and Blossom and others, making his film debut in the Steven Seagal action movie Marked for Death in 1991. However, The Sandlot gave him the biggest role of his short acting career. He fondly recalls making the film, especially the night when the boys snuck into a screening of the R-rated hit Basic Instinct. Gelt has since started a new chapter in his career, moving from artist management into a senior executive role at the artist-to-fan engagement platform Fullscreen Direct.
Shane Obedzinski – Tommy "Repeat" Timmons
Shane Obedzinski was just three years old when he booked his first job: a national Kool-Aid commercial. He made his feature film debut in 1991’s My Girl, starring Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky, and was cast as little Tommy "Repeat" in the Sandlot a couple of years later after an audition in Orlando.
Obedzinski quit acting after The Sandlot and returned to Florida to finish school. After graduating, he toured for a few years with a local band and worked at several local restaurants before opening his own pizza parlor in Brandon, Florida. Though he’s mostly focused on expanding his restaurant business, Obedzinski is interested in returning to acting, and booked a role in a 2017 short called Space Gila from the Deep.
Victor DiMattia – Timmy Timmons
He may not have been able to handle a certain treehouse vacuum cleaner, but Victor DiMattia certainly cleaned up when it came to booking acting jobs. Prior to playing Timmy Timmons, DiMattia appeared on a number of TV shows, including Family Ties, Punky Brewster, Designing Women, and Growing Pains. He made his big-screen debut in Turner & Hooch with Tom Hanks and worked with rapper Vanilla Ice on his ill-fated screen debut, Cool As Ice.
DiMattia quit acting a few years after The Sandlot and pursued other interests, including playing in a band. He works as a bartender in L.A., writes comedy, and hangs out on occasion with castmate Marty York, in addition to putting in regular appearances at Sandlot fan events. In 2018, his cinematic career began to show new signs of life when he starred in an indie film called Get Married or Die. "I’m still doing some acting and even some other stuff, kind of behind the scenes, in film," he told Philly Voice of his reemerging presence in Hollywood. On top of that, he also runs a pop culture-centered podcast called Vic in a Box, which he launched in mid-2017 with — surprise, surprise — a commentary segment on being part of The Sandlot.
Marley Shelton – Wendy Peffercorn
The Sandlot cemented Marley Shelton‘s place as an all-time movie dreamgirl the minute she appeared onscreen in Wendy Peffercorn’s signature red bathing suit and white sunglasses. Up until that point, Shelton had mostly TV credits on her résumé, but after The Sandlot, her career really took off.
The California blonde later appeared in Pleasantville, Never Been Kissed, and Sugar & Spice, and wasn’t afraid to go grindhouse for Quentin Tarantino in 2007’s Death Proof. She appeared in Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s stylish Sin City and has worked with Oliver Stone twice: in 1995’s Nixon and 2008’s W. She also popped up as Joan’s BFF on an episode of Mad Men in 2013.
While Shelton loved her time on The Sandlot, the role she’s most proud of is mom to two daughters. Her career doesn’t show signs of slowing down, however. She appeared alongside Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in his 2018 vintage video game adaptation Rampage, and she also earned top billing on the ambitious NBC series Rise, which was sadly canceled after a single season. Despite all the credits she’s racked up, Shelton still gets recognized for her role as Squints’ sunglass-clad crush. "I’m always so flattered when people recognize me from it because it was 25 years ago!" she told US Weekly. "Online, my husband found someone who made a whole clothing line. They printed fabric with Wendy in the bathing suit. He bought one online to tease me and wore it to my birthday party."
Art LaFleur – The Babe
Veteran character actor Art LaFleur had some pretty legendary cleats to fill when he accepted the role of The Babe in The Sandlot, but he’d done his homework. "I had just read a biography of Babe Ruth," he told SB Nation, "So when I went into the audition I went in as Babe. I wore a newsboy kind of hat. I went in with a cigar…I used some of the slang terms that he used." Impressed, director David Mickey Evans hired him on the spot to play the legendary slugger who visits Benny the Jet in a dream. LaFleur already had a couple of baseball films under his belt, comedy Mr. Baseball and the classic Field of Dreams, when he joined The Sandlot team, making him something of a sports film MVP.
Initially, he moved to California to be a writer, but a friend convinced him to try acting instead. LaFleur studied with famed teacher, Gordon Hunt (father of Oscar-winner Helen Hunt), and by the late ’70s, he’d already secured small parts on Charlie’s Angels, Lou Grant, and M*A*S*H. He’s worked fairly consistently ever since, appearing in cult classics like The Blob, family fare like The Santa Clause 2, and episodes of House, Home Improvement, The Mentalist, and Key and Peele. Though it was just a "one-day job," LaFleur says he gets recognized for The Sandlot more than anything else in his career.
Denis Leary – Bill
Denis Leary was still relatively new to acting when he appeared in The Sandlot as Scotty Smalls’ stepfather Bill. He’d spent nearly a decade working his way up the stand-up comedy circuit in Boston and New York before his one-man show No Cure For Cancer catapulted him to fame, landing him a recording contract, TV special, and commercial spots on MTV in which he’d rant about everything from R.E.M. to Cindy Crawford. From there, the offers started pouring in. Leary continued making a name for himself throughout the ’90s in everything from Demolition Man to Wag the Dog and Pixar’s A Bug’s Life. He was a regular on the late-night circuit and continued performing stand-up, as well as producing Comics Come Home, the annual TV special for charity featuring prominent comedians.
Leary is perhaps best known for his Emmy-nominated performance and writing on the FX firefighter dramedy Rescue Me, which ran for seven seasons. He also wrote, produced, and starred in the series Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll for FX, but it was canceled after just two seasons due to mixed reviews and low ratings. But he’s still had plenty of other career home runs thanks to roles in the popular Ice Age movies, two Amazing Spider-Man films, and the HBO drama Recount, among other credits (including being a dead lookalike for a certain polarizing political figure). His latest book, Why We Don’t Suck, hit shelves in October 2017.
Karen Allen – Mom
By the time Karen Allen appeared as the empathetic mom in The Sandlot, she’d already cemented her place in fans’ hearts as Katy in 1978’s classic frat comedy Animal House and Indiana Jones’ gal pal Marion Ravenwood in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. Spunky and likable, Allen made for an affable sparring partner to Bill Murray in Scrooged, and turned on the waterworks in John Carpenter’s underrated sci-fi drama Starman opposite Jeff Bridges. As the ’80s wound down, Allen turned her attention back to theatre, working on and off Broadway.
After her son was born in 1990, Allen took smaller roles, such as her work in The Sandlot, so she could spend more time with her family. In 1993, she and her son moved to the Berkshires region of Massachusetts into a converted barn she’d purchased. She got involved in the local theatre scene, acting in and directing plays at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and teaching classes. Allen opened a yoga studio in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1995 and a store called Karen Allen Fiber Arts in 2005, featuring what she told the New York Times were her "first ecstasy": textiles, something she studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology during her early twenties in New York.
Steven Spielberg managed to lure her back for the fourth Indy flick, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008, but Allen has mostly remained happily out of the spotlight.
James Earl Jones – Mr. Mertle
Like his character in The Sandlot, James Earl Jones has his own history with baseball, at least onscreen and in the theatre. Prior to appearing as the reclusive Mr. Mertle in the 1993 flick, Jones similarly opined about the love of the game to Kevin Costner’s down-on-his-luck farmer in 1989’s Field of Dreams, appeared alongside Richard Pryor and future Star Wars co-star Billy Dee Williams in 1976’s Negro Leagues-inspired The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, and won a Tony Award in 1987 for his role as a man whose major league career was denied because of his skin color in August Wilson’s play Fences. Jones has also used his golden voice to narrate an introductory video at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City as well as the 1984 documentary There Was Always Sun Shining Someplace.
Beyond his associations with baseball, the distinguished, multi-award-winning actor has been a fixture in film, TV, and onstage for decades, though it is his booming baritone voice that has become his most recognizable talent. From Darth Vader to Mufasa, characters on The Simpsons and more, Jones has become the go-to guy for voices, narration, and commercials needing gravitas. Not bad for a guy who started off as a stuttering kid. He’s set to return as the voice of Mufasa for Disney’s live-action/CGI update of The Lion King in 2019.