‘Field of Dreams’ Star Art LaFleur’s Death Prompts Moving Social Media Tributes

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Art LaFleur, who played baseball heroes in Field of Dreams and Sandlot, died Thursday. Fans mourned the character actor, with many quoting his best-known movie lines.

The official social media account of the Field of Dreams movie site in Iowa tweeted their condolences.

“It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to actor Art LaFleur, who played Chick Gandil in Field of Dreams. Another legend joins the corn. Our condolences go out to Art’s family and fiends. #dreamnation”

LaFleur Portrayed a Chicago White Sox Ghost in Field of Dreams

LaFleur was one of the ghost players on Field of Dreams, the Kevin Costner movie that turned into an instant classic in 1989. The movie was about righting wrongs between a father and a son by using the soothing, supernatural powers of baseball. LaFleur played Chick Gandil, who was the surly first baseman for the Chicago White Sox. Historians say Gandil was one of the instigators of the Black Sox game-fixing scandal in the 1919 World Series.

In one of the Field of Dream scenes, LaFleur, as Gandil, was playing baseball with Shoeless Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver and Eddie Cicotte in front of the Kinsellas. Cicotte still was holding a grudge against Gandil for a perceived on-field slight from so long ago. Gandil told him “For Pete’s sake, Cicotte, that was 68 years ago! Give it up, will ya?”

One fan wrote: “Rest in peace #ArtLaFleur. I have never forgotten the privilege of working with you, your kind smile, and your focused respect for the craft.

LaFleur Suffered From Parkinson’s for Last 10 Years

According to LaFleur’s wife, Shelly, her 78-year-old husband suffered from Parkinson’s for the past decade. She announced the sad news of his passing on social media.

Shelly LaFleur wrote: “This guy… After a 10 year battle with A-typical Parkinson’s, Art LaFleur, the love of my life passed away. He brought laughter to so many people as Babe Ruth in the Sandlot, The Tooth Fairy in The Santa Clause 2 and 3, and Chick Gandil in Field of Dreams to name just a few. He was a generous and selfless man which carried over to his acting but more importantly it was who he was for his family and friends.”

LaFleur played Babe Ruth in The Sandlot, a coming-of-age movie set in 1962. That movie was four years after Field of Dreams. James Earl Jones, like LaFleur, also was in Sandlot.

Twitter users recalled all the lines from the Babe, which later evolved into so many gifs and memes. “Everybody gets one chance to do something great,” one fan posted.

Another quoted a well-known line. “Every kid remembers this quote in some form or fashion. Rest east Art LaFleur.” And the quote: “Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Follow your heart kid and you’ll never go wrong.”

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