Meet the man who just wanted to 'have a catch'

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Field of Dreams event

Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), his wife Annie (Amy Madigan) and daughter Karin (Gaby Hoffman) are greeted by a youthful John Kinsella (Dwier Brown), Ray's father in "Field of Dreams." (Universal Studios / June 17, 2014)

Dwier Brown was on screen for about five minutes. It was enough to help create one of the movies' greatest moments.

And we’re giving you the chance to meet him, hear his stories and answer your questions. I’m sure he’ll also sign an autograph if you buy his new book, "If You Build It ..."

Don’t know Dwier Brown? Can’t place the name? Understandable.

But I’ll bet you know his face, and it’s a gimme that you know the moment. It is the moment that “Field of Dreams’’ is all about. The last five minutes. The last two lines. The lasting memory.

“Hey ... dad. Wanna have a catch?’’

“Yes, I’d like that.’’

Kevin Costner’s Ray Kinsella says the first line.

Dwier Brown’s John Kinsella responds with the second.

And then I cry.

All of the fantastical nonsense in “Field of Dreams,’’ and the film comes down to the simplest thing. After author W.P. Kinsella’s passionate imaginings to let “Shoeless Joe’’ Jackson play baseball again and Archie “Moonlight’’ Graham get just one at-bat, the fairy tale ends with one of the truest moments in a parent-child relationship: playing catch.

Twenty-five years after Ray Kinsella built it and they came, we’re giving you another chance to see that moment on the big screen at the Music Box on Aug. 7. It’s only $15 a ticket for an evening made for families, and only $100 for a block of 10 if you want to bring the entire dugout.

Tribune movie critic Michael Phillips and I will lead a post-movie discussion and take your questions. Even better, the man who portrayed Kevin Costner’s father will join us on stage.

We always have microphones set up for the audience, and you probably have questions for a guy who was in a movie with Costner, Burt Lancaster, James Earl Jones and Chicago’s own Amy Madigan as the put-upon wife who can’t believe Coster is razing his corn crop.

By the way, “Field of Dreams’’ almost didn’t have real corn stalks, as if you can believe that in Iowa. Brown tells the story in his book that principal photography in Dyersville proceeded during the worst drought anyone could remember. The famous stalks would’ve come up to Shoeless Joe’s knees if not for some Hollywood ingenuity, a story Brown would be delighted to tell you.

There are other stories Brown would love to tell, the most touching of which are those that follow people asking whether he’s “that guy’’ from “Field of Dreams.’’ Yep, he is. Proudly. Remarkably, too, when you consider it was just a moment and it was 25 years ago.

“The movie ‘Field of Dreams’ was instrumental in helping me realize many of my lifelong dreams,’’ Brown writes in his book. “It answered my prayers of being in a movie that was meaningful to people and created the added bonus of continually sending those people into my path to tell me about it. The film managed to get me into one of the Top 100 Movie Moments of all time, the Baseball Hall of Fame and gave me the opportunity to meet my idol, Jimmy Stewart. Now it has given me reason to write this book. That’s not a bad legacy for five minutes of screen time.’’

We already have whole baseball teams buying tickets, but you don’t have to come with a group that big. Go to https://haveacatch.eventbrite.com, and buy a couple tickets for you and someone with whom you want to have a catch.

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