In Hollywood’s Lineup : Movies: Scott Patterson gave up on baseball after five years in the minors. That was hard work. But the practice paid off--now that he’s in ‘Little Big League.’


Scott Patterson was a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves’ and New York Yankees’ triple-A teams for five disappointing years.

“I was called up for the (majors) a few times, but they never activated me on the 25-man roster,” Patterson acknowledges. “It was a little frustrating. That’s why I walked away from it.”

And walked into acting. In fact, the blond, blue-eyed Patterson has finally made the majors thanks to Hollywood. He plays a pitcher for the Minnesota Twins in “Little Big League,” Castle Rock’s family comedy about an 12-year-old boy who inherits the Twins from his late grandfather and becomes the team’s manager. Patterson’s cocky Mike McGreavy doubts his young manager’s ability and gives the boy a difficult time.


Originally, Patterson auditioned for the bigger role as the team’s wholesome first baseman. Timothy Busfield eventually got that part. “Things being what they are out here, I didn’t have enough credits,” Patterson explains at his Beverly Hills publicist’s office. “I think they always saw me as McGreavy as soon as I walked in.”

“He is really good,” says director Andrew Scheinman. “But this is a more Middle America story--he did seem kind of urban. He was such a great baseball player, coupled with his acting. I think he has a real shot.”

Patterson, 31, acknowledges he has a lot in common with McGreavy. “I was kind of like him when I played,” he says. “I never made the amount of money he did. I never had the amount of success he did. But I wasn’t that severe an outsider. Pitchers are usually outsiders. They are kind of shunned on the team. They don’t play every day, so they don’t get the same amount of respect unless they are Cy Young Award winners.”

During his auditions, Patterson didn’t tell the producers or Scheinman about his professional baseball experience. But he couldn’t keep it a secret for long. At the movie’s baseball tryout, Patterson impressed a scout from the St. Louis Cardinals.

“After the workout, he said, ‘Would you be interested in playing professional baseball?’ I said, ‘You are a little late for that.’ ”

“I had put the word out that I wanted actors who really played baseball,” says Scheinman. “I didn’t know how good he was.”

Patterson always looked upon baseball as strictly a job. “I worked very hard. I was very disciplined and that’s how I approached it.” Acting, though, is a different story.


“I look at it--without sounding too pretentious--as a life process. I like being around creative people.”

Patterson, who grew up in New Jersey, was always torn between sports and the arts. “I always played baseball; it was a way to stay out of the house.”

He quit the baseball team during his junior year in high school. “I went through a late adolescent rebellion. I grew my hair, and I was writing a lot. I wrote a lot of plays. I just didn’t care about sports. The coach thought I was insane.”

Patterson spent a lot of time hanging out in New York during his freshman year at Rutgers University. Finally, an old friend persuaded him to return to sports.

After leaving pro baseball nine years ago, he spent a year traveling throughout Europe. “I hadn’t been outside a ballpark in five or six years. I didn’t know what a sunset was like in the summer outside the stadium.”

Upon his return to the United States, he went to New York and began studying acting with Robert Lewis. Eventually, Patterson and a friend formed their own theater company, the Arc-Light Repertory Company. “We were really struggling along, trying to make a little buzz happen. It was way Off Broadway. I was at a point where an audience was going to be my best teacher.”

After six years in New York, Patterson went to Hollywood in 1992. Besides “Little Big League,” he has appeared as a murderer bent on killing Raymond Burr in the 1993 TV movie “The Return of Ironside,” and recently completed a role as an evil alien in the upcoming Fox TV film “Alien Nation: Dark Horizon.”


Since moving to Los Angeles, though, Patterson hasn’t found the time to return to the theater or complete the screenplay he’s writing. “Now is the time for (acting). It’s a real dogfight getting established.”