The Rookie, directed by John Lee Hancock, told the tale of Jim Morris's rise from a small-town high school science teacher and coach to a major league baseball player. It was Morris's sports agent, Steve Cantor, who had convinced the pitcher that his story could make a Hollywood movie. Walt Disney picked up the project, casting actor Dennis Quaid in the starring role. The actress Rachel Griffiths, of HBO's Six Feet Under, played Morris's wife, Lorri.
The Disney film remained faithful to the pitcher's real-life story, beginning with his Navy brat childhood in Texas and exploring Morris's relationships with his father, wife, children, and students. "The message we wanted to convey was that it's not a baseball movie. It's a family-oriented movie," Morris told ESPN.com. "It entails relationships with high school kids and adults, adults and adults, adults with children. Baseball just happened to be the dream that I pursued." A box-office success, The Rookie received favorable reviews as one of the best family and "feel-good" movies of the year.