Tom Hanks Reunites with Wilson from Cast Away at Cleveland Guardians Game

The Cleveland Guardians kicked off the MLB season under their new name with a little help from the two stars of Cast Away. Actor Tom Hanks, a longtime fan of the baseball team, had personally announced their official name change in 2021. On Friday’s opener at Progressive Field, Hanks was introduced as a “Cleveland baseball fan since 1977,” and given the honor of throwing out the first pitch for the Guardians.

Hanks was not alone. Hanks walked out to the pitcher’s mound with Wilson the volleyball from Cast Away. It turned into a bit of a gag, as the remote-controlled Wilson – with Cleveland’s “C” on the back – continuously rolled away from Hanks every time the actor would attempt to go for his pitch. It got a lot of laughter from the fans in attendance, though Hanks did eventually toss the pitch. Unfortunately, the Guardians lost to the San Francisco Giants 4-1, but it was still an unforgettable occasion for Cleveland fans nonetheless.

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Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Cast Away was released in 2000. It starred Hanks as a man stranded on a deserted island as he was forced to survive off the land with dreams of one day going back home. His only friend on the island is a volleyball with a bloody handprint for a face, named “Wilson” based on the company logo featured on it. Wilson the volleyball became a pop culture icon that is still often referenced with seemingly most everyone in attendance at the Guardians game instantly recognizing the prop.

Related: These Are the 11 Best Robert Zemeckis Films

The Real Wilson Was Sold at Auction for $ 300,000


Tom-Hanks-in-Cast-Away
20th Century Fox

If you’re thinking that Wilson is looking better than ever after over two decades, that’s because the ball at the Guardians game is not the real Wilson. The actual prop used for the film was sold at auction in 2021 for $ 300,000. That amount was far above the estimated selling price of $ 80,000. According to the auction listing, the prop was the actual volleyball used for the scene where Wilson floats away in the water, devastating Hanks’ character.

Hanks has also previously reunited with Wilson in 2015. Also occurring at a sporting event, the meeting happened when Hanks was watching a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. The actor was placed on the Jumbotron, and as he waved at the fans, someone tossed him a Wilson prop from off-screen. This prompted raucous applause from the crowd and footage of the reunion went viral.

It’s no surprise to see that so many people still fondly remember Wilson. Cast Away was a huge success when it was released, grossing $ 429 million worldwide despite having almost no dialogue and a volleyball as one of its lead stars. Hanks also won the Golden Globe and was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his performance. The actor has also said that Cast Away is one of the three movies he most enjoyed working on, as there were “adventures every single day.”


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