Growing Up… in the 1960s, when PF Flyers were a kid’s greatest weapon, “shoes guaranteed to make a kid run faster and jump higher.” It was a time when the only savior from a burning hot summer was the local public pool, and when all you could do after school to kill the time was find the closest sandlot and play baseball with your best buds.
Living… for the game. It seems like Benny plays baseball every day. And even when it’s too hot to play, Benny’s thinking about playing. He’s the best player at the sandlot. The oldest, the leader of the pack. They all look up to him, especially Smalls, the newest member of the team, invited by none other than Benny himself.
Profession... middle school student. And maybe someday, if he’s lucky, his profession will be “professional athlete.”
Interests… baseball, and everything that goes with it. As the film’s narrator put it, “For Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, baseball was life.” Babe Ruth is Benny’s hero, and his beloved PF Flyers speed Benny around the bases as fast as the mighty Babe himself. (We mean the young, skinny Babe.) Benny loves hitting a home run so hard that he busts the baseball’s red stitches.
Relationship Status… nonexistent. Benny might be the oldest of the kids, but he still doesn’t seem to spend too much time thinking about girls. His only adolescent object of affection is Wendy Peffercorn, the local lifeguard at the public pool. But even Benny doesn’t have the guts to try anything with her.
Challenge… getting back Smalls’ Babe Ruth-autographed baseball, which went over the fence into the land of “The Beast,” a legendary man-eating dog. If anyone can get them out of “The Biggest Pickle,” it’s Benny.
Personality… a leader. Probably the nicest of the group, Benny is not only the leader because he’s the oldest. He’s got a charisma about him; a love for the game that gives him a glow, a certain something special. Not even Smalls can put his finger on what’s so great about Benny. But everyone knows it. And everyone respects him for it.
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