Before Ray Liotta’s Shoeless Joe Jackson disappears into the corn one last time, he reiterates the movie’s infamous tagline. “If you build it, he will come,” says Liotta’s character. Kevin Costner’s Ray Kinsella turns toward home plate, dejected after not receiving an invite to explore the corn, to find his father, John.
To “ease his pain,” Ray gets his wish of speaking with his father on better terms before – as John walks away toward the corn – the son asks, “Hey dad, do you want to have a catch?” For any parent-child pair that enjoyed the movie or last night’s Major League Baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, Ray Liotta’s role in the 1989 classic certainly sticks in our memories.
The Goodfellas actor died in May at the age of 67. While the entertainment world continues to grieve, the sports world honored Liotta at Thursday night’s special event. Costner did not attend this year’s festivities, but he did lend his voice for a tribute aired at the stadium during a commercial break.
The video tribute highlights the scene where Ray Kinsella throws Shoeless Joe his curveball during batting practice. Liotta rips a liner back to the mound, knocking the pitcher on his butt. Costner says, “God gave us that stunt that night, and now God has Ray.”
The Yellowstone actor continues, “And though he may be gone, that’s the beauty of a game like baseball, and a movie like Field of Dreams. He gets to live forever in our hearts whenever he steps out of that cornfield.” The heartfelt monologue left few dry eyes in the Dyersville, Iowa stadium adjacent to the movie set.
Fan Tributes Pour In for Liotta, Reminiscing His Role as Shoeless Joe
As Kevin Costner spoke and once the tribute made its way to the at-home viewers, social media exploded with emotional responses. From remembering the first time watching the movie, or expressing gratitude for the meaning of the classic, folks had plenty to say on the impact of Ray Liotta’s depiction of Shoeless Joe Jackson.
One fan voiced his displeasure with the Academy Awards for not recognizing the actor’s efforts in Goodfellas with a nomination.
Another fan watched a clip of the players of last night’s affair walk out from the cornfield, thinking of Ray Liotta.
If you’re looking to watch Field of Dreams, the movie is available on Peacock. I watched it following the Cubs’ victory last night and can confirm that tears flowed. Between James Earl Jones’ performance as Terrance Mann, Moonlight Graham’s emotional exit and the father-son catch, the classic stands the test of time.