Editor’s note – portions of this article are credited to the Internet Movie Database, www.IMDB.com.
OK, so it is the middle of winter. the MLB Winter Meetings are over and pitchers and catcher do not report for a while yet. What is a die-hard baseball fan to do? For many of us simply collecting baseball cards is enough. You can troll your favorite baseball sites for tidbits of baseball news and information, but that can be like teasing yourself by smelling a steak on the grill but not eating it. When collecting baseball cards is not enough for me (gasp!) I turn to my collection of baseball movies. The following are my list of top six movies I use to survive the off-season blues. This is by no means an authoritative or exhaustive list, so please comment and tell us what is your favorite baseball movie and why!
#6 – Major League – 1989
The new owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together a purposely horrible team so they will lose and she can move the team. But when the plot is uncovered, they start winning just to spite her. Starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, Wesley Snipes and Bob Uecker.
A funny storyline and funnier acting and antics. Maybe not a top choice for baseball purists, but always good for a laugh. Usually after watching this movie I always feel like eating a bucket of chicken and rocking out to “Wild Thing.”
#5 – Eight Men Out – 1988
A dramatization of the Black Sox scandal when the underpaid Chicago White Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series. Starring John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner, D.B. Sweeney, and Charlie Sheen.
Great film for a baseball historian. Maybe not the happiest of all baseball films, but superb acting help make this a great movie about one of the most controversial teams in MLB history.
#4 – Bull Durham – 1988
A fan who has an affair with one minor-league baseball player each season meets an up-and-coming pitcher and the experienced catcher assigned to him. Starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins.
A romantic comedy rich in baseball and love triangles. While not necessarily a ‘chick-flick,’ this is still a good movie for anyone who like baseball and love.
#3 – A League of their Own – 1992
Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry. Starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnell.
Historically based movie about the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). A feel good story that has produced one of the most famous baseball movie quotes ever. “Are you crying? There’s no crying in baseball! An interesting side note, I have a baseball card with a personalized autograph of Jackie Mattson.
#2 – Field of Dreams – 1989
An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the Chicago Black Sox come. Starring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and Ray Liotta.
This was a real toss up between my top 2 favorite baseball movies as this has been and is THE baseball movie for many a fan. James Earl Jones’ monologue near the end of the movie still sends tingles down my spine every time I hear it.
#1 – The Rookie – 2002
A Texas baseball coach and former MLB prospect makes the major leagues after agreeing to try out if his high school team made the playoffs. Starring Dennis Quaid, J.D. Evermore, and Rachel Griffiths.
Based on a true story with a bit of Disney magic thrown in, this is always the last baseball movie I watch just before Spring Training. A great family film where hope springs eternal and you learn to never give up on your dreams.
Please comment on what your favorite baseball movie is and why!