SI: How much would Pedro Cerrano, your character in Major League, have commanded on the open market?
Haysbert: He could have gotten Big Papi numbers.
SI: You took your role as a ballplayer seriously, right?
Haysbert: I have always thought of myself as an athlete—even at the ripe old age of 52. At the time of filming I was a good rightfielder and I had a strong arm. Anybody rounding first had to be willing to pay the price because I could gun them down. The only reason I missed those curveballs was because it was in the script [laughs].
SI: What sports did you play at San Mateo ( Calif.) High?
Haysbert: Football, baseball and track. Then at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, I got into fencing. I actually entertained the thought of training for the Olympics. I love the sport. I pride myself on being limber.
SI: In Grambling's White Tiger, you played real-life quarterback James Harris. What stood out about that role?
Haysbert: That was something the universe sent me, because I always wanted to play quarterback in high school, and they would just not look at me. I still have some angst about that. I was an all-league and all-county defensive end. I always pictured somebody before I made a hit—like the Adam Sandler character in The Waterboy. Every quarterback I hit was my coach.
SI: You said that Tiger Woods's six-tournament winning streak is the best athletic performance you've seen. You have your own streak with Tiger, right?
Haysbert: I've been booked to play with Tiger in San Diego three times—and three times something has come up. One time it was rained out, and two times I had to work. I would have loved to walk the course with him. Man, what I could have learned!