The movie about Rickey Hill’s uphill battle to play pro baseball inspired a local mayor, who was determined to meet him in person


“I am so impressed by this movie,” Denton Mayor Gerard Hudspeth said.

DENTON, Texas — The uphill battle of Rickey Hill has gotten the attention of movie lovers all over the country. 

Hill’s short-lived but extraordinary baseball career is now an award-winning movie. What’s even better, it depicts his life off and on the baseball field where he shined beyond anyone’s expectations.

“First of all, for me to even be there was a miracle,” Rickey Hill said. 

Rickey Hill is getting a taste of Hollywood at the age of 67. The movie based on his life launched to number 1 on Netflix just five months after its theater release. The movie is inspiring people around the world and in his own backyard. Hill grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. 

When Denton Mayor Gerard Hudspeth sat down to watch “The Hill,” he had no idea it involved a man living so close to him in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. 

“It was not until the end that I saw he is now playing golf in Fort Worth,” Hudspeth said.

“The Hill” left Hudspeth so inspired he decided to go on a quest to try to locate the real-life Rickey Hill. The mayor used social media and found mutual friends. Eventually, Hudspeth reached out to Hill and invited him to Denton for lunch, not knowing whether he would accept the invitation. 

“I am so impressed by this movie,” said Hudspeth, “From the beginning, just a kid struggling, family, struggling and that resonates.”

In the movie, a Montreal Expos scout signed Hill after being so impressed at tryouts. He witnessed a young Hill hitting home runs during batting practices from a baseball field on the other side of the park. After being recruited, Hill played four seasons in the minor leagues. It was just what Hill dreamed of too. 

“I was out there to do more than dream and I fought and I didn’t ever believe I could NOT make it,” Hill said.

But at age 22, he was forced to retire when degenerative spine disease cut his dreams short.  Despite the disease, Hill had already made up his mind that he would play baseball like the pros until he could no longer swing the bat. Degenerative Spine Disease was no stranger to Hill.

“I inherited it,” said Hill. “My grandmother and my great-grandmother both were in wheelchairs at 38 and 45 years old.”

In 1977, Hill’s brother wrote the 56-page story about their family that inspired the movie. In April 2024, the film won Best Family Feature at the Family Film Awards. Prior to that, Hill’s movie garnered him international invitations for speaking engagements and appearances. 

But more importantly, Rickey wants others to use their faith to pursue their dreams. 

“My faith in God carried me through, all the way through,” Hill said.