A lot of great Baseball movies have been made over the last hundred years, and today I am going to do the impossible; I am going to pick what I think are the top ten baseball movies of all time. If you think I missed one, comment and let me know.
A generation of baseball fans grew up with 1993’s The Sandlot, but make no mistake about it—baseball fans of all ages can appreciate and enjoy it. It follows the story of Scotty Smalls, the new kid on the block, and how he becomes “one of the guys” through baseball, overcoming a stepfather who has no time for him and his own doubts about his self-worth. You can’t go wrong with James Earl Jones in a movie.
Moneyball is a biography detailing Billy Beane‘s attempt to find an equalizer for his small-market team. As the Oakland Athletics general manager, Beane, played amazingly by Brad Pitt, using sabermetrics, relies heavily on OBP to find players that traditional scouting overlooks. The A’s would win a division title with Beane playing Moneyball.
Harrison Ford gives his best on-screen performance in many years as Dodgers GM Branch Rickey, while relative newcomer Chadwick Boseman is tremendous as Jackie Robinson,
Christopher Meloni (Leo Durocher) and John C. McGinley (Red Barber) also deliver strong performances, with the entire cast capturing the raw emotion and unbridled hatred that divided America back in the late 1940s. You really get a sense from this movie of what Robinson went through integrating the great America Pastime.
The Natural is based on the 1952 novel written by Bernard Malamud and tells the enduring tale of a 35-year-old man, Roy Hobbs, played brilliantly by Robert Redford. A lot, especially towards the end of the movie, was changed from what was in the original book, but the movie is still outstanding.
Redford is joined by acting royalty like Robert Duvall and Glen Close, who, along with Kim Basinger, keep audiences glued to the screen—and their seats—throughout the nearly two hours that the movie runs.
“There’s no crying in baseball!”. This movie was great because it told a true baseball story that even many historians don’t know about.
A compelling drama with an all-star cast, the film tells the story of a farmer in Iowa, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), who is compelled by an unseen voice to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield by the mantra “If you build it, they will come.” Who will come?
Sure enough, they come, including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) and the 1919 Chicago White Sox. James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, and Amy Madigan round out a solid cast for a film that received three Oscar nominations in 1990, including one for Best Picture. Of course, I have issues with the film, like Joe Jackson batted left-handed in real life, and in the movie, he batted righthanded. But all in all, it’s a fantasy movie that strikes at the heartstrings of a lot of people.
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Researching this topic led me to conclude that people are crazy when not including this movie in the top 10. Kevin Costner plays Billy Chapel, a 40-year-old pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, facing retirement at a mediocre season. As the film opens, he’s set the stage for a candlelit dinner in his New York hotel. Still, his date never arrives; he drinks the champagne and all the booze in the minibar. The next day he wakes up with a hangover. He learns (a) crusty old Mr. Wheeler is selling the team because his sons don’t want it, (b) he’s being traded, and (c) Jane, the girl he was waiting for, is leaving him and taking a job in London because “you don’t need me–you’re perfect with you and the ball and the diamond.” Not what you want to hear when you’re facing retirement.
The movie jumps back and forth between past and present, and you see what leads up to Chapel’s final appearance at Yankee Stadium in his final game. Chapel, who is well past his prime, has one great game left in him, and it’s in this his final game. Chapel throws a perfect game, and when watching the movie, you can feel the emotions of Chapel in his final game.
I am talking about the original Bad News Bears from 1976. Walter Matthau plays Morris Buttermaker, once a minor-league ballplayer, now coaches a group of misfits with middling talent on the baseball field. There is something to offend every member of society in this movie today, and it probably couldn’t even be made today. This movie broke the rules, and that’s what made it so much fun to watch.
Great cast, a ton of memorable lines make this as good as any Baseball movie ever made. Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) is a long-time minor league catcher assigned to the hapless Durham Bulls, a league team with a lengthy history of mediocrity. Tasked with tutoring a dim-witted pitching prodigy named Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh (Tim Robbins), hilarity ensues as the duo teach each other about baseball, life, and love. Susan Sarandon and Robert Wuhl are also great in this movie.
Maybe the best sports comedy ever made! It tells a story that, if you remember, the Cleveland Indians of the early 1980s could have been believable. The Cleveland Indians are saddled with a new owner who has her sights set on moving the team to Florida, but she needs the team to be one of baseball’s biggest losers to do so. You can’t tell me that that was not an entirely plausible possibility with the Indians back then?
The cast was perfectly assembled with many memorable characters, including Ricky”Wild Thing” Vaughn (Charlie Sheen), Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes), Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger), and Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert) lead the team on an improbable run. Maybe the funniest was Bob Uecker playing Indians play bt play man Harry Doyle.
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