Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, 16, Bop: these tween rags introduced us to all our first crushes. Every Tuesday, we remember the dudes that decorated our photo binders. This week: a homerun to our hearts, Mike Vitar.
20th Century Fox, 1993
Name: Michael Anthony Vitar
We Called Him:There's no cutesy nickname for Mike's fans that we're aware of — but if you know one, please clue us in.
How Old Is He Now? 35 (Born December 21, 1978)
Claims to Fame: Mike is most famous for playing Benjamin Franklin "Benny the Jet" Rodriguez in arguably the best coming-of-age film of the '90s, The Sandlot — but he also starred in The Mighty Ducks sequels D2 and D3 as Luis Mendoza, the fastest skater on the team.
Why We Loved Him: It's not just his athletic prowess that made us love him, but it certainly didn't hurt. His characters' sports of choice gave him a certain totally crushworthy intensity.
Plus, there's nothing like a dedicated, ambitious dude with good eyes. Just look at him!
Since his most visible role was Benny in The Sandlot, we can imagine the Mike we had a crush on as similar that character: a little tough, but not in a way that alienates others. At least, not too much.
Benny was, at his core, a super sweet guy — which allowed him to forge a friendship with the hopelessly awkward narrator, Scotty Smalls.
When you're a kid, it's hard to find a dude to crush on with total dedication; it's like a juvenile equivalent to having honor. Benny had it coming out his ears.
What He's Up To Now: It's been over 20 years since The Sandlot, and like many child stars who have retained their sanity, Mike is no longer in showbiz! He's a firefighter with the Los Angeles Fire Department, is married to a lovely woman named Kim, and has two children.
Getting out of the game doesn't stop him from sending some love towards his fans! On his full MySpace profile — now, heartbreakingly, only available on archive.org — he left a message to those who support him.
I would like to meet anybody and everyone who has supported me even though I’ve been out of the acting business for ten year now. To all the fans I have nothing but love and great respect for all of you and who knows I might one day consider acting again. SO STAY TUNED!
Unfortunately, some of his posts, like the blog entries "Fire Fighter vs Actor" and "Dream Role," have been lost to the sands of time, as much as we're itching with curiosity to learn more.