On This Day: ‘Rookie of the Year’ Premieres in Theaters in 1993

by Amy Myers
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On this night, 28 years ago, 13-year-old Thomas Ian Nicholas buttoned up his tux and headed the premiere screening of Rookie of the Year.

The film focused on a young boy, Henry Rowengartner, who through an arm injury received superhuman ability to pitch a baseball. The prodigy pitcher joined the Chicago Cubs and helped the team win the division title and play in the World Series.

However, before Nicholas had his big break with Rookie of the Year, the film industry looked quite glum for the discouraged teenager. In fact, he almost missed out on the role altogether, had he not swung out on another audition.

‘Rookie of the Year’ Star Almost Missed the Role

Before auditioning for the sports comedy, Rookie of the Year star Thomas Ian Nicholas focused more on dramas. In particular, Nicholas fought for a spot in the movie, The Good Son. Unfortunately, he lost out on the opportunity to Macaulay Culkin. Culkin, at the time, was famous for his recent star role in Home Alone.

While at first, this might have been bad news for Nicholas, it actually worked out in his favor.

“I remember being so bummed,” Nicholas told the Chicago Tribune. “But if I had done that film I wouldn’t have been available for ‘Rookie of the Year.’ It was right around that same time. So it’s sort of like I fell into comedy even though drama was my forte, and then I got roped into comedy for a little more than a decade.”

Rookie of the Year ended up launching Nicholas into his long career in comedy films.

Once Rookie of the Year star Thomas Ian Nicholas grew up, he shed his image as Henry Rowengartner. Instead, he took on the personality of Kevin Myers in his next big role, American Pie.

As the initiator of “the pact,” Nicholas’ character is the catalyst for the movie’s storyline. Having just broken up with his girlfriend, Kevin is desperate to “become a man” before he and his friends go off to college. Of course, the friend group promises to do the same.

Oddly similar to Rookie of the Year, Nicholas portrays the leader of the awkward and anxious teenagers. Like young Henry Rowengartner, Kevin Myers often gives the boys the confidence and courage they need.

Nicholas would continue his role as Kevin in the franchise’s sequels, including American Pie 2, American Wedding and American Reunion. While not as prominent, he still played a vital role in the storyline.

Obviously, he quickly began portraying much more mature roles than when he first started acting. However, Rookie of the Year will always be a classic of Nicholas’.

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