"You're gonna lose! You're gonna lose! You're gonna lose!"
It's a phrase that has been said, and repeated, by so many over the years. Need the perfect way to taunt your opponent? Use that. Trying to distract someone? Go for it. Want to annoy everyone around you? Scream it at the top of your lungs. Nobody made it more famous than Stilwell (it is Stilwell with one "l", not the commonly misspelled "Stillwell").
Stilwell--or as many baseball and movie fans alike remember as Stilwell Angel--was the chocolate-loving young boy from the 1992 classic baseball movie "A League of Their Own." He was far from the most important character, but his role definitely made director Penny Marshall's box office masterpiece that much more enjoyable.
Played by Justin Scheller, Stilwell -- the son of right fielder Evelyn Gardner (Bitty Schram) -- is a legend in his own right, thanks to Columbia Pictures, but Scheller carved out an impressive life for himself as a high school football coach in Indiana.
Stilwell from "A League Of Their Own"
"A League of Their Own" is one of the greatest sports movies of all time. That's not up for debate. The cast alone turned an amazing storyline into a classic Hollywood film for the ages.
Tom Hanks (manager Jimmy Dugan) delivered a great performance. So did Geena Davis (catcher Dottie Hinson), Madonna (center fielder "All the Way" Mae Mordabito), Rosie O'Donnell (third baseman Doris Murphy) and Megan Cavanagh (second baseman Marla Hooch).
Add in a stellar supporting cast of Lori Petty (pitcher Kit Keller), Tracy Reiner (left fielder and pitcher Betty Horn), Ann Cusack (left fielder Shirley Baker), Anne Ramsay (first baseman Helen Haley), Freddie Simpson (shortstop Ellen Sue Gotlander), Renee Coleman (catcher Alice Gaspers), David Strathairn (Ira Lowenstein), Garry Marshall (Walter Harvey), Jon Lovitz (Ernie Capadino), Bill Pullman (Bob Hinson) and so many more; It's no surprise why the film is still popular today.
Based during World War II, the ballplayers and coaches from the Rockford Peaches and Racine Belles were the clear focus of the film. From tryouts at the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field to the World Series, they were on a mission to win the new women's baseball All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) -- something closer to Major League Baseball (MLB) than softball -- by the end. There was more than baseball, though, as everyone was battling their own personal lives and struggles.
Then, of course, there is Stilwell.
On the surface, Stilwell is innocent. He's just a kid forced to go along for the ride. However, the young boy got on everyone's nerves, especially Jimmy Dugan, and provided great comic relief throughout the film.
Stilwell grew up (literally) by the end of the movie at the Baseball Hall of Fame, which was played by Mark Holton, and in real life.
Where Is Stilwell Today?
— 14 News (@14News) June 18, 2015
— Denny Spinner (@dwspinner) June 17, 2017
Born in Evansville, Indiana, Justin Scheller never acted on the big screen again. "A League of Their Own" was the only thing he did. Instead of movies, the former child actor became a high school football coach.
Scheller was the head football coach and social studies teacher at Springs Valley High School in French Lick, Indiana. He then moved to Bedford and accepted an assistant coaching job at Eastern Greene High School in Bloomfield back in 2017. To his day, Stilwell reminds children that there is no crying in baseball.
That Stilwell role still carries on, too.
"I don't try to avoid it, but it's not something I go spouting off or bragging about," Scheller said back in 2014. "I don't mind talking about it when people find out, but It's not something I mention. Most of my friends do it for me. That's how it's been my whole life. It's not something I'm ashamed of by any means. It's just not something to brag about."
According to his Facebook page, he is now a program analyst for SIAC and is married.
Scheller has certainly moved forward with life, but there's no doubt a part of him will always be Stilwell.
This post was originally published on August 3, 2020.
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