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During 1932, 10-year old Yankees fan Yankee Irving is a big fan of Babe Ruth and dreams about becoming a professional baseball player one day, despite being lousy at being a novice. One day, during a visit at the Yankee Stadium with the help of his father working as a janitor there, he gets to see Ruth's special baseball bat. However, he is shooed away by an unknown security officer - who is really Lefty Maginnis, a pitcher for rival team Chicago Cubs - employed by Napoleon Cross - the owner of his team who wishes to make the Yankees lose against his team - by stealing Ruth's precious lucky bat. Lefty manages to do so, indirectly causing Yankee's father to lose his job and endangering Yankee's family to live out on the streets during the Great Depression. Knowing full well who did the deed, Yankee embarks on a journey to recover the bat and return it to Babe Ruth while dealing with Lefty and Napoleon.

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Did we mention the bat and the baseball are alive in the eyes of Yankee?


Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Marti.
  • Adult Fear: Yankee traveling all the way to Chicago to return Ruth's bat while his parents are faced with the horror of living in the streets. Then they realize he's not with them and have to find him. Then there's the fact the kid is being assailed by a grown man during said trip on top of dealing with the hardship of traveling.
  • Adults Are Useless: The Chicago Cubs are depicted as complete buffoons during Yankee's attempt to score a home-run being distracted by people at the stands, crashing into each other, not paying attention to anything going on until the last minute, and being served as footstools.
  • Alan Smithee: Robin Williams requested to remain uncredited out of respect for his friend Christopher Reeve.
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  • All of the Other Reindeer: Because of his bad baseball skills, the other kids dread having Yankee on their team. And make their displeasure very clear.
  • Amusing Injuries: Lefty gets a lot of these, progressively making him look more and more villainous as a result.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The film is set in 1932, yet at one point Screwie mentions Superman (which is director Christopher Reeve's most iconic role), a character that wouldn't be created until 1938.
    • Marti's father is a member of the Cincinnati Tigers, a team that wouldn't be founded until 1934.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Darlin' and Screwie.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Yankee is a big fan of the New York Yankees and an even bigger fan of Babe Ruth. He not only bats for them, but Babe even decided to have him bat for them.
  • Bully Hunter: Marti makes her entrance by assisting Yankee against a couple of bullies from her home.
  • Calling Your Shots: Babe Ruth is shown famously doing this in game three of of the 1932 World Series in a newsreel clip near the beginning of the film.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nobody wants to believe an unchecked security guard - who was actually part of the rival baseball team - stole the bat with Yankee's account of the events. This kick-starts Yankee's adventure to retrieve and return the bat to Ruth to save his family from living in the streets.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Screwie is full of this.
  • Double Entendre: On the subject of Yankee meeting Marti, who's the daughter of Lonnie Brewster.
    Darlin: Ooh, he can pitch me anytime.
  • The Great Depression: A surprisingly optimistic portrayal of this era. As Christopher Reeve himself put it, "Just because it's the depression doesn't mean it has to be depressing."
  • I Call Her "Vera": Ruth calls his bat Darlin'. Yankee names the ball he found Screwie.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Screwie proves that he has a heart and manages to cheer up Yankee right during Babe Ruth's big game as they're trapped in the room overlooking the field.
    • Earlier, when Yankee broke down crying from homesickness, he calling out Darlin' for putting a ten-year-old in this situation and not even saying "thank you."
  • Kick the Dog: Did Cross have to taunt Yankee by saying his parents were probably looking for a new kid?
  • Mama Bear: Marti's mother, who is quick to notice the man chasing Yankee is not his dad and tries to get him out of her house with a broom.
  • Meaningful Name: Yankee is a big fan of the New York Yankees.
  • The Napoleon: Fittingly, Napoleon Cross.
  • Nice Hat: Yankee wears a blue New York Yankee baseball cap.
  • Politically Correct History: Zig-zagged. Yankee and Marti socialize with no social stigma, but her father is clearly shown playing for a Negro League team.
  • Reality Ensues: Midway during his trip, Yankee starts to greatly miss his family and considers how awful things will get if he doesn't succeed.
  • Title Character: The "hero" part in the movie's title refers to Yankee.
  • Toilet Humor: The morning after his first night with Yankee, Screwie has the misfortune of rolling under the cover right when the kid farts.
    "How long have you been takin' trombone lessons? "
  • Took a Level in Badass: The intro shows Yankee as a terrible baseball player. Going through the adventures he went through and meeting people who helped him improve his form, allowed him to get a home run against Lefty.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: Going on the adventure with Yankee and Darlin' helps Screwie become less of the cynic he was at the start.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: No one else besides Yankee seems to notice the bat and the ball are sentient. Even a ball rolling up in a can isn't weird on itself. It just rolled up by itself!
  • Would Hurt a Child: Lefty is unnecessarily rough with both Yankee and Marti.

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