Tom Hanks' Cast Away co-star Wilson appeared at the Cleveland Guardians game Friday night, joining the two-time Oscar-winner as he threw the ceremonial first pitch. Wilson the volleyball was famously the only friend Hanks' Chuck Noland could talk to while he was stranded on a deserted island for most of Cast Away. Hanks has a long connection to Cleveland, as he started his acting career there in the late 1970s.
Hanks walked to the mound at Progressive Field in full Guardians attire, carrying Wilson with him. The volleyball had the red Wilson face on one side and Guardians' block "C" logo on the other side. Hanks put Wilson on the mound, but the ball had a mind of its own and kept rolling away. Hanks tried to direct the ball, but it continued rolling away.
Eventually, Hanks gave up on trying to get Wilson to stay steady. He tossed a baseball to 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, even as Wilson continued moving around.
Although Hanks was born in Concord, California, his acting career has 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 City to continue pursuing acting, and, as they say, the rest is history.
In Cast Away, Hanks starred as Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who crash-lands on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean. He makes a friend out of a volleyball, whom he names after the manufacturer, Wilson. The "character" has become a pop culture icon on its own, making appearances in parodies of Cast Away. The movie was directed by Robert Zemeckis and earned Hanks a Best Actor Oscar nomination. It was Hanks' last Oscar nomination until 2020 when he earned a Best Supporting Actor nod for playing Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
The Guardian's Friday game was their first home game as the Guardians since the team changed its name from the Indians. Hanks narrated the July 2021 video announcing the change. The name references the Hope Memorial Bridge's statues called the "Guardians of Traffic." Sadly 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.