Tom Hanks’ Cleveland Guardians first pitch reunites him with ‘Cast Away’ Wilson

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Tom Hanks Castaway Co-star Wilson appeared at the Cleveland Guardians game on Friday night, joining the two-time Oscar winner as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Wilson, the volleyball player, was the only friend Chuck Noland of Hanks could talk to while stranded on a desert island for most of Castaway. Hanks has a long-standing connection to Cleveland, having started his acting career there in the late 1970s.

Hanks headed to the Progressive Field mound in full Guardians gear, taking Wilson with him. The volleyball had Wilson’s red face on one side and the Guardians’ “C” block logo on the other side. Hanks put Wilson on the mound, but the ball had a mind of its own and kept rolling. Hanks tried to head the ball, but it kept rolling.

Eventually, Hanks gave up trying to keep Wilson stable. He threw a baseball at Larry Doby Jr., the son of Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League. Doby caught the ball from Hanks with no problem, although Wilson kept moving.

Although Hanks was born in Concord, California, his acting career has its roots in Cleveland. In the late 1970s, he scored an internship at the Great Lakes Theater Festival. He even won an award for his performance in Shakespeare’s The two gentlemen of Verona. In 1979 he moved to New York to continue acting and, as they say, the rest is history.

In Castaway, Hanks starred as Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who crash-landed on a desert island in the Pacific Ocean. He makes a friend of a volleyball, which he names after the maker, Wilson. The “character” has become a pop culture icon all on his own, making appearances in parodies of Castaway. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and earned Hanks a Best Actor Oscar nomination. It was Hanks’ last Oscar nomination until 2020, when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for playing Fred Rogers in A beautiful day in the neighborhood.

The Guardians’ Friday game was their first home game as the Guardians since the team changed its name from the Indians. Hanks recounted the July 2021 Video Announcement change. The name refers to the statues on the Hope Memorial Bridge called “traffic wardensUnfortunately for Hanks and the Guardians, they lost their home opener 4-1 to the San Francisco Giants. The Guardians also lost 4-2 on Saturday and 8-1 on Sunday.

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