Don Draper, the “Mad Men’’ character that made Jon Hamm famous, does not appear to be much of a sports fan. But Hamm the actor very much is, especially when it comes to the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues.
“The Cardinals are No. 1 in my heart, but the Blues are a solid 1A,’’ he said when I asked him to choose between them.
Fame has given Hamm many opportunities to express his sports fan side, including hosting the ESPYs Wednesday and a role in the baseball movie “Million Dollar Arm,’’ due out in 2014.
He played in All-Star weekend celebrity softball games in St. Louis in 2009 and Kansas City in 2012, the latter at third base beside Ozzie Smith, a moment he said would have amazed his 12-year-old self.
“So it’s nice, obviously, to have that access,’’ he said, but he noted there are downsides to his hectic schedule. In 2011 he and “Mad Men’’ actor Jay Ferguson, a Rangers fan, watched Game 6 of the World Series rushing back and forth to Ferguson’s trailer between scenes.
Hamm watched Game 7, won by the Cardinals, in an airport lounge.
ESPYs producer Maura Mandt said Hamm is an ideal choice to host because of his sports bona fides in addition to his stage presence. “You can’t put someone up on this night in this room who doesn’t not only have knowledge of but truly appreciates what went on in sports this year,’’ she said.
When asked to name his favorite sports movie, Hamm mentioned eight, saying, “I can’t pick one . . . I think when they’re done right there is nothing better. I’m a fan of the genre.’’
Hamm thought for some time when asked to name what sports figure he most would like to play in a movie. Finally he said this: “It would kind of be cool to play someone like Gordie Howe. That old-time hockey I find absolutely fascinating.’’