Was Benny From 'The Sandlot' Crushworthy When We Were Kids? We Settle The Nostalgic Debate Once And For All
You're a true '90s kid if you can recite lines from the 1993 movie The Sandlot. This classic coming-of-age baseball film that looks at the rag-tag pick-up team of Benny, Ham, Kenny DeNunez, Squints and Smalls (who will forever be killing us) in 1962. These characters probably inspired more than a few kids to pick up a ball, bat and a glove to go play a little ball with their friend. Far, far away from any junkyard dogs. But, you really show your age when it comes to your opinions on how hot you thought Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez was when you were, well, age appropriate back in the day.
For those who have never seen the film or haven't done a re-watch since they were a kid, maybe go find a copy and read the rest of this piece once you've gotten a chance to know Benny, the sweet team captain who idolized Babe Ruth and always seemed to have his sights set on something much bigger than just playing in the sandlot. Seriously, it's a must-see.
But, the question here isn't whether The Sandlot is a good movie — that's a no-brainer. Of course, it is. But, to the younger you, who watched the film more times than you care to mention, was Benny the ultimate pre-teen crush? That's the real question.
I've decided to step up to the plate and settle this important debate once and for all by putting a call to Bustle writers and readers to think back in time and weigh in on this two-decades in the making debate. Believe me, there's a lot of passion behind this one simple question. We're talking all-caps responses, first love admissions, and a few comparisons to JTT, that all seem to come to the same conclusion. (We're talking all but one person here.) The fact of the matter is, if you were a girl under the age of 14 when you saw this movie, you had a major crush on Benny.
But while all were pro-Benny, each response seem to reminisce about what it was to be a little kid with a crush in different ways.
1. “You mean child actor Mike Vitar, my first love???” - Julie
2. "Yes. Duh. I don't remember anything else about this movie besides thinking Benny was cute. (And that I once watched it at my friend's house 'cause it came on cable all the time. I didn't have cable growing up so watching stuff at friends' houses shaped a lot of my childhood. But anyway, Benny. Crushworthy. Yes.)"- Lia
3. "YES YES YES YES” - Kate
4. "Who needed JTT when you had B-E-N-N-Y? Yes, I definitely had a big crush on him." — Jenn
5. "THAT IS ALL" - Hayley, using the photo above as her response
6. "He was hot in the same way Daniel Larusso from Karate Kid was hot in that they're both not but also the movie is part of your childhood so you're just kind of fond of the character." - Martha
7. "Yes. yes. yes. Benny was so cute, and the fact that he grew up to become a professional baseball player only made him more appealing." -Sam, whose email included the title, "Benny Bae Bae"
8. “I don’t particularly remember having any feelings, but I hear I’m wrong.” - Kelsea
9. "Yes, he was hot and anyone who says otherwise is wrong." — Kayla
10. "I kind of secretly liked him and never talked about. But I'm here today to say, yes, he was really hot." — Christine
11. "I feel silly saying this as an adult, but the 10-year-old me would definitely say YES, he was hot." — Brittany
12. "I loved him so much I wrote him a fan letter! He actually wrote back (or someone did, though I like to think it was him) and sent an autographed picture. I probably still have it. I should try and find that." — Laurie
Vitar has long left acting to become a fire fighter, but as Buzzfeed noted in their "Where Are They Now?' The Sandlot edition, that doesn't mean fans of the movie have forgotten about their childhood crush. And according to our highly dependable study, most definitely haven't. Benny will go down in history as our collective first, pre-teen crush. Eleven people can't really be wrong, can they?
Image: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (3)