In 1932 during the Great Depression, Yankee Irving is young baseball fan whose father Stanley works as a janitor for New York City's Yankee Stadium. While the two are on the premises, a thief steals Babe Ruth's famous bat Darlin', with the result that Yankee's father is blamed and fired, who blamed Yankee for stealing it and framing his own father. The true thief is Lefty Maginnis, a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Lefty works for Cubs owner Napoleon Cross, who desires to see the Cubs defeat the Yankees during the 1932 World Series.
Stealing the bat back, Yankee decides to return it to Ruth and thereby exonerate his father by journeying across the country to Chicago, where the next World Series' games will be played. Darlin' is able to speak, as does her counterpart Screwie, a baseball, who she constantly argues and bickers with (though near the end, they finally become friends). Much of the plot is driven by Lefty's comic attempts to retrieve the bat from Yankee, with slapstick results. Other scenes involve Yankee meeting others who will help him in his quest: several hobos; Marti, an African American girl; her baseball player father Lonnie Brewster; and in Chicago, Babe Ruth himself.
A series of improbable coincidences allows Yankee himself to bat for the Yankees, resulting in the archetypal home run (technically, a series of errors after an infield pop-up that allow him to round the bases). This restores the morale of the Yankees, who score 7 more runs to take the lead and win the World Series. Cross tries to talk Babe Ruth out of accepting the victory, saying that Yankee is too young to be a counting player. This leads to the arrest of Cross, who simply says that he was a fan that cheated. When his part in the plan is revealed, Lefty is banished from the team, although he is able to stay out of jail. Yankee also successfully exonerates his father. Yankee returns home, now knowing what is truly important in baseball.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $6.1 million in 2,896 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #3 at the box office, behind Gridiron Gang and The Black Dahlia. By the end of its run, Everyone's Hero grossed $14.5 million in the US and $2.1 million internationally, for an approximate total of $16.6 million worldwide.
At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 51% based on 20 reviews, which indicates "mixed" reviews. Another aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, scored the film 41% based on 69 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Everyone's Hero is such a predictable and bland tale that it'll appeal mostly to little kids; others seeking something in Pixar's league are looking in the wrong ballpark." Jack Matthews of the New York Daily News wrote, "Whoever wanders into the theater should leave a winner".L.A. Weekly called the themes "fairly pro forma" and cited the film's "antique Rockwellian look" as "its greatest pleasure". Gregory Kirschling of Entertainment Weekly rated it B− and wrote, "Everyone's Hero re-creates Depression-era America with surprisingly agreeable anachronistic panache", though he criticized the character designs.
In the United States, Cartoon Network aired Everyone's Hero on April 12, 2009. Cartoon Network later added the movie to its rotating lineup again on November 5, 2016, treating it as the network premiere of the movie. In Latin America, Cartoon Network Latino aired the film on November 23, 2011. In Asia, Disney Channel premiered May 29, 2012. It also aired on Disney XD in the United States on April 8, 2013, and March 7, 2014.