10. Field of Dreams (1989)
One of Kevin Costner’s 74 baseball movies, he plays Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella. Kinsella hears the famous words “build it and they will come” from a voice in his corn field. He does build it, it being a baseball field, and they do come – the ghosts of eight Chicago White Sox players from 1919.
They are able to play on Kinsella’s field, but Ray is told to do a lot more stuff before he gets to his final prize. The prize of getting to play some catch with his dad’s ghost and having people pay to watch the ghosts play on his field. Second best of Costner’s 74 baseball movies.
9. The Sandlot (1993)
If you grew up when I did, this movie was very important to you. It came into my life right about the time of my little league days. The Sandlot showed the audience what summer meant to kids who loved baseball. It was a time to make new friends, play a whole lot of ball, and of course try tobacco for the first time.
If you’re wondering, the outcome was the same for me and my friends as it was for the kids in the movie. There were transcendent characters throughout; your pudgy red headed catcher Hamilton “the Babe” Porter and super talented group leader Benny Rodriguez.
Most importantly you have the out of place main character, Smalls. The great discussion was to whom you were best represented by. Sadly, I was Hamilton. This movie had it all though; comedy, innocence, accuracy, and a great deal of the story hovering around Babe Ruth.
8. 61* (2001)
This is a great movie if you are an older Yankee fan, and there is a good reason for that – Billy Crystal was the director. It did shed some very interesting light towards the trials and tribulations of the 1961 baseball season for Roger Maris. Also, the viewer gets to know more about the myth that was Mickey Mantle.
You get a some what uncensored view of Mantle’s drinking habits and the lack of respect to his god given gifts. As Maris and Mantle spend the 1961 season together, they both have to deal with the pressure of trying to break Babe Ruth’s single season home run record. They couldn’t be more different but are forced together because of that unbelievable 1961 season.
7. Rookie of the Year (1993)
This is another movie choice that is directed towards mid-twenty year olds. It came out in a time when I was still in little league, and was the only movie that I have seen that made kids want to break their arms intentionally. Of course if you did your arm would heal differently and you’d get to strike out Barry Bonds. Bonds was one of the great cameos in this movie, especially because he was 65 pounds lighter and had a head that was about half the size of his current one.
The great treasure was Daniel Stern playing Phil Brickma. He essentially seemed to be Henry’s personal coach in the movie. Also, Gary Busey played Chet “the Rocket” Steadman – this was pre-crazy Busey mind you. John Candy plays a great play-by-play announcer for the Cubs; it could’ve been his second calling.
6. The Babe (1992)
This may have not been the most amazingly made movie, but it is the central figure that makes it good. It’s mind boggling to think about a life like Babe Ruth’s – he is the reason baseball has fans today. Ruth was a man in his twenties who was the most important figure in America.
He was the first athlete celebrity and somehow seemed to keep a child’s mindset about it. A movie that even gets it half right is going to worth watching. John Goodman did an ok job. I’m still kind of waiting for Ruth’s life to be told again in a very well made movie, but for now I have The Babe.
5. The Bad News Bears (1976)
I always enjoy movies that have kids in them, but this isn’t made for kids. The Bad News Bears shows a more realistic version little league; sometimes your coach is a drunk, like Coach Buttermaker. Sometimes the littlest kid on your team tries to fight everybody, like Tanner. Usually, you didn’t have a hot 12 year old girl as your pitcher though.
There are a lot of good scenes in this movie that will last forever as baseball history. Most importantly, the scene in which the Bears reject the second place trophies and begin to party is good for any young player. In the end, Walter Mathau is great and the kids are pretty funny; a worthwhile baseball movie indeed.
4. A League of their Own (1992)
Hands down Tom Hanks best performance in a movie, which is really saying something. He plays the ex-player and first time coach, Jimmy Dugan. Dugan coaches for the Rockford Peaches, a women’s league baseball team during World War II.
Just about every actor or actress in this movie does really well. Rosie O’Donnell is good, Madonna is surprisingly great, and Geena Davis is kinda hot as a catcher. It ends kind corny but the entire movie is pretty funny. League does a good job of showing how hard it was for the girls playing in this league and still trying to fit a lady-like image in the 40′s – they played in dresses for the love of God!
3. Bull Durham (1988)
This is the baseball movie you don’t get to watch until you’re a little bit older, which is one of the things that make it great. Bull Durham tries to capture the real experience of toiling away in the minors. Kevin Costner plays Crash Davis, a veteran catcher that is brought to the Durham team to guide a big armed pitcher to the big leagues.
That stringy hurler is Nuke LaLoosh, played by a young Tim Robbins. The feel of summer, playing in front of a non-existent crowd, bonding with your team, the success, and the failure – just about everything in this movie works.
This film became something you had to watch if you wanted to know how to act in baseball. You won’t get through one baseball practice in high school without hearing something from this movie. Also, some how Susan Sarandon is really hot (something you will never see again.)
2. Cobb (1994)
This brilliance of this movie is highly underrated in the baseball community; it truly is a beautiful and amazingly interesting movie. There are so many things that are great – you not only get to learn about the horrible legend that was Ty Cobb, but you get to watch as he goes through the final stages of his life.
As you learn more about the young and old Cobb, you find yourself becoming increasingly disgusted by him while somehow inversely feeling sympathetic. The film is based on sports writer Al Stumps book about Cobb. Stumps is played very well by Robert Wuhl, and didn’t have to try very hard to be good.
Ty Cobb is possibly one of the most interesting and over the top characters America has ever been blessed to know. Cobb is a must-watch and will almost definitely lead to you to want to know more about him. Cobb was the ultimate villain and never stopped being who he was, even if that person was as bad as they came.
1. Major League (1989)
It’s a bit predictable, but I can’t put any baseball movie ahead of this one - it’s simply perfect. It has humor, baseball intricacies, heart, emotion, and great characters. It’s a bit cliche in the way it ends, but the journey to that point is so worthwhile.
Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, and Wesley Snipes play parts in Major League that can never be topped. The Indians are built to lose; they are pieced together by their former stripper owner to eventually get the franchise moved out of Cleveland. To her bewilderment, the team comes together to win the pennant and turn Cleveland upside down. There is just too much good in this movie to put into words – best baseball movie ever, no doubt in my mind.
The Natural (1984)
Little Big League (1994)
Eight Men Out (1988)
Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
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