Former baseball player and manager Ken Medlock has been acting in character parts since ’75. But I didn’t notice him until he played Grady Fuson, the old-school Oakland A’s scout who clashes with Brad Pitt‘s Billy Beane. I was so taken with Medlock’s natural-seeming performance that I got his number from Moneyball director Bennett Miller and called him a couple of days ago. We did a phone interview yesterday.

Ken Medlock, Brad Pitt during filming of Moneyball.

During Medlock’s first scene (i.e., the conference-room discussion between Brad and the scouts) I said to myself, “I believe this guy…he’s got a casual attitude and a deep voice and doesn’t seem to care about ‘acting’…he’s the real deal.”

And then comes the scene when Grady, who’s no fan of sabermetrics or Jonah Hill‘s Peter Brand, has it out with Beane in the clubhouse, telling him he’s going to sink the A’s and get himself fired and almost coming to blows (or so it seems) before Beane finally cans him. Pitt gives the performance of his career in Moneyball, but he’s mostly backup in this scene because Medlock totally owns it.

Medlock is so good, in fact, that I think he should get some kind of trophy for giving 2011’s Best Supporting Performance by an Actor Nobody’s Ever Paid Attention To Before.

Again, the phone chat mp3. Medlock is a very cool and friendly guy. I would buy him in a film as a car dealer, a lunch-bucket guy, a baseball coach, a gangster, a security guy, an intimidating dad of a teenage girl…anything along those lines. He has presence, force, charisma, authority.