Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is probably the best hitter in baseball today, which is incredible considering a few years ago his grandmother caught him smoking crack after squandering millions of dollars. His fall from grace and rise back to stardom is the stuff of Hollywood legend and now his story will become just that. Hamilton has sold his life story to Thunder Road Pictures who in turn hired Casey Affleck to write and direct the film. Read more after the jump.

Deadline broke the news of the deal and gave a very detailed account of Hamilton’s life. Here’s an abridged version.

Hamilton was a teenage baseball prodigy, drafted #1 overall in 1999 by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He signed a $4 million contact and it seemed like he was on his way until a car accident screwed up his back and he became addicted to pain killers. That lead him down a path to much harder drugs and eventually was sent into rehab by the team. For years he was in and out of rehabs, getting worse all the time, until finally he hit rock bottom when he grandmother caught him smoking crack.

That shock got Hamilton on the straight and narrow, he found religion and began to play baseball again. Eventually Hamilton was traded to the Texas Rangers where he’s become a perennial All-Star, league MVP and Home Run Derby champion. He started this season at a pace to shatter all kinds of records.

Producer Basil Iwanyk said the following about the film:

I truly think this guy’ story is one of the most inspiring stories I’ve ever read. It’s also tailor-made for a movie: it has the mythic quality of The Natural, the faith-based angle of The Blind Side, and faith is a major part of our story, and the romance of Walk the Line. Casey has totally captured those elements in his take for the movie. It is an extraordinary odyssey that took him from the depths of drug addiction, estrangement from his family, and suspension from baseball to a spectacular rebirth of his life, faith, marriage and major league career.

Iwanyk has a first look deal at Warner Bros. so they’ll have first crack at the subject once they start pitching it. The story is obviously inspirational, almost unbelievable and, hopefully, makes a great film.

Were you aware of Hamilton’s story? Do you think Casey Affleck, who has previously only directed the mockumentary I’m Still Here, is the right man for the job? Who could play Hamilton?

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