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Where Are They Now: ’80s And ’90s Sports Movie Heroes

You always wonder what happens to the great protagonists of your favorite movies after the events of the film. Were they successful, did they die, did the romantic subplots that were forced into the middle of their storylines actually work out for them? This is especially prevalent in sports films, where an injury or poor performance could theoretically end someone’s career at any time. Here’s how I believe the lives of a few of our favorites played out.

1. Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez

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After a long and storied career with the Dodgers, Benny retired with grace. He became the team’s third base coach and immediately gained notoriety for being able to perfectly sniff out exactly when to wave his boys home. In fact, sabermetrics gurus estimate that the Dodgers won an average of eight extra games per year because of his keen eye for speed and throwdown likelihood, giving him a higher WAR than most of the guys actually on the field. Even later on, when he was named the manager of the team, Benny still retained his spot out on the third base line, which led to his legendary Game 7 wave through of Adrian Beltre in 1998 to win the World Series over Joe Torre’s Yankees. The greatest baserunner after Rickey Henderson cemented himself as the greatest baseball manager after Joe McCarthy that day.

2. Charlie Conway

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Charlie was always a gifted goal scorer, but he never managed to make a pro career out of hockey. He coached for several years at various colleges, but his anti-authoritarian streak never allowed him to stay in one place for very long. Even Gordon Bombay, the commissioner of the NHL, wasn’t able to save Charlie’s job with the newly expanded Minnesota Wild. Fortunately, Charlie finally found his place running Hans’ old sports equipment shop with his wife, Linda. He coached youth hockey during the season and allowed all the reckless street youths to hang out in his store, even until late at night, to keep them out of trouble. After several years of this, he was able to expand his shop into an international chain of stores. His stores offered affordable sporting gear as well as recreational areas for troubled youth to congregate in safety. How did this expansion take place? Through a hefty investment from successful venture capitalist Adam Banks.

3. Crash Davis

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Guys, trust me, I’m with you. I wanted Crash to ascend to the highest ranks of baseball managers ever after his brutal grind for two decades in the minors. But that was the fate of “The Jet,” not Crash. Besides, he wasn’t born for the majors. The minors is where he makes the most sense. After his stint as the manager for Visalia, he returned to Durham to settle down with Annie Savoy in her awesome house. He started coaching the Bulls. He had a couple years where his team led the minors in wins, and he even got offered the bump to The Show once. This time, though, he knew that his place was in triple-A ball. The boys there were rough and in need of guidance. His strength wasn’t in rotations or platooning–it was in shaping young men. Despite his lack of notoriety, he was arguably responsible for the careers of more players than any single manager in history. Plus, he landed mid ’90s Susan Sarandon, so that was a big get.

4. Michael Jordan

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The baseball player, Michael Jordan, made quite the convincing show in “Space Jam” that he could ball on the hardwood. He was already a little up there in years, so it’s tough to say how his attempt to make it in the NBA after the events of the movie turned out for him. I like to think he managed to win a few championships and retire gracefully. Hopefully he didn’t try to extend his career too long and go play for a no-name team, washing away everything he already built. Once he was done with sports forever, he probably did a few endorsements, a few more movies, and lived out the rest of his years quietly. It would be really unfortunate if he purchased a shitty NBA expansion team for himself and never managed to do anything of value with it, but that’s just a pessimistic scenario. Surely people would know him as someone who treated everyone with respect, dressed professionally, and gave a heartwarming speech at his Hall of Fame induction rather than someone who was a talented dude, but was actually a giant asshole in real life and showed no real appreciation for the people who helped him succeed. Right?

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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