Monday, September 30, 2013

My Top 10 Baseball Movies

Bull Durham- the meeting on the mound.
The end of this baseball season has been epic. My Tampa Bay Rays will face the Texas Rangers today in game #163 to decide who gets to continue on, and then we settle in for what promises to be some of the most competitive playoffs ever.  Baseball is loaded with drama and great stories, and for many years Hollywood has been aware of this. There have been many good (and plenty of terrible!) baseball movies, and today I give you my updated Top 10- well actually 11.  Not included is The Naked Gun, because it is not really a baseball movie, but which features a hilarious baseball scene including the brilliant Leslie Nielsen as an umpire & and the guy who sings the national anthem!  Anyway, here we go:

10)  Pride of the Yankees (1942) - The Lou Gehrig story. And to my Twitter family, the answer is NO- I didn't see it in a theater on opening night!
10)  The Bad News Bears (1976) - The original is a classic.  Tatum O'Neal had a mean curve, and Walter Matthau was my kind of manager.
  9)  A League of Their Own (1992) - Even with Madonna, this is still a great movie. Tom Hanks reminds us that "there's no crying in baseball." This past Thursday night Mariano Rivera proved him wrong...
  8)  Major League (1989) - The climatic scene when Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) comes out of bullpen and they play Wild Thing always give me chills.  "Give him the heater, Ricky..."
  7)  Eight Men Out (1988) - The story of the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal.  A great cast and a brilliant telling of a great story.  Every movie is better when John Cusack is in it.
  6)  Moneyball  (2011) - How Brad Pitt as Billy Beane turned the Oakland A's from a laughing stock into contenders. And paved the way for idiots like Brian Kenny to try to reduce baseball to a game of numbers with no heart. But a great film.
  5)  Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) - One of Robert DeNiro's early films about a catcher with a terminal illness.  I actually saw this for the first time in a theology class.  This movie also taught me the card game TEGWAR (The Everlasting Game Without Any Rules), which later Alan Brown and I turned into the classic Triple JimBob.  :)
  4)  The Natural (1984) - Robert Redford and his homemade bat "Wonder Boy" give us an insight into the the supernatural side of baseball.  One of my favorite movie scores as well.
  3)  42 (2013) - The Jackie Robinson story, told with heart and a great performance by Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey- the man who took the risk and gave Jackie his chance to shine.  Given time and another viewing this one may move up the list even further...
  2)  Bull Durham (1988) - Crash Davis, Nuke LaLoosh, Annie Savoy and the gang. Funny, moving, touching and inspiring, with lots of great baseball, including this inspired meeting on the mound:  "Okay, well, uh... candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let's get two!  Go get 'em."  If you have never seen this one, do it!  And no lolly-gagging...
  1)   Field of Dreams (1989) - "If you build it, they will come..."  Not only my favorite baseball  movie, but one of 5 favorite movies ever.  Period.  I still miss having a catch with my Dad...

I know many of you love The Sandlot, and it was hard for me to leave The Rookie, Rookie of the Year and Benchwarmers off the list as well.  If there are others you think I missed, I'd love to hear from you.  Enjoy the playoffs. Though the calendar may not say so, October begins today!  


  1. *61 is a very enjoyable baseball flick too. Story of the Maris/Mantle HR chase from 1961 and how our heroes are very much flawed.

    1. Good call, Drew. That is an excellent film that tells a great story. Te be honest, I just forgot about that one. It belongs!

    2. Definitely a good one...hard to go wrong with your list, though! Check out a movie starring Michael Keaton sometime called "Game 6." It's about a famous playwright who happens to be a Red Sox fan, set over the course of the day of game 6 in October '86. Your shout out to Naked Gun made me think of many movies I like with baseball serving as a backdrop for a scene or two - Men In Black, Anger Management, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and many others. I could get my man card yanked for this one, but I actually enjoy the rom-com Two Weeks Notice just b/c there is a scene at Shea Stadium complete with a Mike Piazza speaking part! :)

    3. The baseball scene in Ferris Bueller is epic..."Swwwing, batta-batta-batta!" And you can't lose your man card for one rom-com, especially on with baseball. Unless it is Fever Pitch. 'Cause that's the Red Sox. :)

    4. HAHA! That's one thing I agree with Yankee fans on - not much use for the Sox!

  2. Anonymous9/30/2013

    I liked Mr Baseball with Tom Selleck, Albeit im biased because its about an MLB has been that ends up playing for Japanese Pro Baseball, It has the stereotypical culture clash stuff much like the Bad News Bears Go to Japan,

    - Jun Kuramochi

    1. Thanks, Jun. You know, I have never seen that entire movie, just pieces when it was on TV. I will add Mr. Baseball to my watch list!

  3. Anonymous9/30/2013

    I would have put Bull Durham first, but that's just me! :) ~ Chris Cooper


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