Alex (Justin Henry) and his father (Ron McLarty) are devoted Detroit Tigers fans, even now as they are struggling. Alex's favorite player is aging star Billy Young (Roy Scheider), who is having a sub-par season, his last before retiring.
Alex's father dies unexpectedly, but not before he tells Alex that he should always believe. Consequently, Alex decides to visit every Tiger home game. Every time Young comes to the plate, Alex closes his eyes and wishes hard, and Young ends up hitting a home run. Thanks to Young's rejuvenated play, the Tigers start winning again.
But there is a price. Alex, who now believes that if he doesn't go to the games, the team will lose (explaining the Tigers' pitiful road trips); finds himself the subject of ridicule by classmates, since he often sneaks out of school early to watch the Tigers play. Nevertheless, thanks to Billy Young, the Tigers claw their way back into the pennant race. The final game of the season, against the Baltimore Orioles, would decide the pennant.
Alex has his ticket and school lets out early so kids can watch the game, but as Alex leaves school, he's detained by bullies who take his ticket and his money. Only when Alex gets his principal's attention is he released and forced to run all the way to Tiger Stadium. Bribing a little girl for her bike and hanging onto the back of a city bus get Alex to the stadium in time for the ninth inning, where Young is up and the Tigers are trailing. Young makes contact with the ball just as Alex gets to the front of the stadium aisle, and Young ends up clearing the bases, giving the Tigers the pennant.