‘Little Big League’ and Baseball Star Brad Lesley Dies at 54

Movie Talk
Brad Lesley
Brad Lesley

Before he appeared in '90s-era sports films, he was first an actual major league player.

Brad Jay Lesley died over the weekend from kidney failure after being rushed to a Marina Del Rey, California, hospital, his ex-wife, Chiho Svimonoff, told TMZ. He was rushed to the hospital on Saturday and ultimately didn't make it.

Lesley was perhaps best known for playing John "Blackout" Gatling in the 1994 family comedy "Little Big League." But those who followed him first as a major league player might argue that point. Then nicknamed "The Animal" for his aggressive, theatrical self-motivation tactics, Lesley played for the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers from 1982 to 1985.

Get a Glimpse of Brad Lesley's 'Animal' Behavior:

Lesley's other film credits include "Brother" (2000, as Moose), "Big Monster on Campus" (2000, as Arnie), "Buddy" (1997, as Ali Baba), "A Boy Called Hate" (1996, as the Moving Truck Driver), and Mr. Baseball (1992, as Niven). He also appeared briefly as himself in 1996's "Space Jam." Michael Jordan is said to have asked him personally to do the cameo.

Lesley also became a star in Japan, playing pro baseball there and also appeared on the gameshow "Takeshi's Castle." Lesley was fluent in Japanese, according to his IMDb.com profile.

Lesley had been enduring kidney problems for the past seven months and was living in a nursing home, where he was receiving dialysis, Svimonoff further told TMZ.