Tag Archive | "Chicago White Sox"

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The Longest Game

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Chris Caylor

baines_original_original_crop_exactOne of my favorite things about baseball is that you never know what could happen on a given night. You could see a perfect game, a 15-14 slugfest, an inside-the-park home run, or other feats too numerous to list here. You could even see an extra-inning marathon that would go into the record book for all time. On Tuesday, May 8, 1984, that is exactly what the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago White Sox provided for fans.

Like so many epic baseball happenings, this one started out as just another early-season game. The White Sox, defending champions of the American League West division, were trying to regain the form they showed the previous season. The Brewers, like the rest of the American League East, were staring up at the scorching Detroit Tigers. Chicago sent 23-year-old lefty Bob Fallon to the mound, while the Brewers countered with grizzled 39-year-old righty Don Sutton.

The two very different starters put up matching zeroes on the scoreboard until the bottom of the sixth inning. White Sox first baseman Greg Walker hit a one-out single, stole second, then Sutton walked Harold Baines. Tom Paciorek, who had replaced Ron Kittle (1983’s Rookie of the Year) in the 4th inning, lined a single to left to score Walker.

In the top of the 7th, Fallon walked Randy Ready and manager Tony LaRussa went to the bullpen for right-hander Salome Barojas to face right-handed hitting catcher Jim Sundberg. The percentage move backfired, as Sundberg and Robin Yount both singled to tie the game 1-1. As would prove to be his career-long tendency, LaRussa immediately went back to the pen and summoned lefty Britt Burns, who escaped the 7th with no further damage done.

The game remained tied until the 9th, when Yount again factored in the scoring. He doubled to left, then stole third and scored thanks to an errant throw from Burns. Ted Simmons immediately singled and advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch. Ben Ogilvie’s single scored Simmons and the Brewers led 3-1. With Rollie Fingers (another future Hall of Famer) coming in, the game should have been over.

Instead, catcher/right fielder (never see that combination anymore, do you?) Charlie Moore botched a Paciorek fly ball that resulted in a two-base error. Fingers retired the next two batters. Then shortstop Julio Cruz, who sports a lifetime slugging percentage of .299, doubled to left to score Paciorek. Rudy Law (who stole 77 bases in 1983) followed with a single. Cruz beat Ogilvie’s throw home to tie the score 3-3. It was time for free baseball.

Little did the fans know how at the time just much free baseball they would get.

The game rolled on and on, remaining tied at 3 through 17 innings. In those eight innings, only the White Sox mounted a serious threat to score, leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the 14th. Finally, at 1:05 am, the umpires had to suspend the game due to the AL’s curfew rule. The teams had played for six hours, used 10 pitchers and – in Chicago’s case – used nearly every player on the bench (which would become a factor). Yet nothing was decided.

When the game resumed the next day, the White Sox immediately threatened in the bottom of the 18th. Brewers pitcher Chuck Porter wiggled out of the jam by striking out Carlton Fisk with the bases loaded, however, and the game continued.

In the top of the 21st inning, 41-year-old right-hander Ron Reed relieved Juan Agosto. All Agosto did in this game is toss seven shutout innings. After retiring backup catcher Bill Schroder and Yount, Reed surrendered a single to Cecil Cooper and a walk to Simmons before Ogilvie smacked a three-run home run to put Milwaukee in front 6-3. At that stage of the game, Baseball Reference listed the Brewers’ win percentage at 96%.

The remaining 4% is what happened next.

It started with an error by third baseman Ready, against the red-hot Rudy Law. Next, Fisk redeemed himself for his bases-loaded strikeout three innings earlier by singling in Law. Marc Hill followed that with another single. After whiffing Dave Stegman, Baines walked to load the bases. Porter remained on the hill for Milwaukee. Having used five pitchers the previous night and with that night’s regularly-scheduled game still to go, it appeared Brewers manager Rene Lachemann was sticking with Porter, regardless of the outcome. Paciorek stroked a single to center, scoring Fisk and pinch-runner Richard Dotson to knot the game once again, 6-6.

As the 22nd inning began, some unusual changes took place on the field for the White Sox. Thanks to LaRussa’s decision to have Dotson, a starting pitcher, pinch run for first baseman Marc Hill, Paciorek had move from left field to first (their fourth first baseman of the game). Then Stegman, the designated hitter, had to go in and play left. Under the AL rules, when a player serving as the DH goes in to play the field, that team loses the ability to have a DH and the pitcher has to bat. Note: This was 13 years before interleague play started, so American League pitchers never batted during a game.

The Brewers, on the other hand, made minimal changes compared to the White Sox. Rick Manning replaced center fielder Bobby Clark in the 12th, Schroeder replaced Sundberg at catcher in the 13th, and Dion James and Mark Brouhard played right after Charlie Moore after his 9th-inning gaffe opened the door for the White Sox to tie game the first time. That’s it for personnel moves for the Brewers. Their DH, Cecil Cooper, racked up a game-high 11 at-bats.

In the 22nd, Ron Reed kept the Brewers off the scoreboard, then had to bat 3rd in the bottom of the inning. At least it wasn’t a foreign concept to him – he had spent his entire career prior to 1984 in the National League. He grounded meekly to the pitcher to end the inning.

In the 23rd, the White Sox threatened Reed again, as Cooper singled and Simmons walked. LaRussa pulled Reed for Floyd Bannister, another starter. He retired Ogilvie to end the threat. During the bottom half of the inning, the White Sox had two on and nobody out against Porter, but ran themselves out of the inning with some spotty baserunning. The score remained 6-6.

The 24th was uneventful, other than Bannister’s first major-league at-bat since 1978, when he was with the Houston Astros. He grounded out to short.

The 25th inning saw 39-year-old Tom Seaver, in his initial season in the AL, take the mound for Chicago. Seaver was three seasons removed from a 14-2 season for Cincinnati and a second-place finish in the Cy Young voting. He also was the scheduled starter for that night’s regularly-scheduled game. What would LaRussa have done for a starter in that game if the current one had gone another 5-10 innings? As it was, the only White Sox player or pitcher who didn’t appear in the game was starter Lamarr Hoyt, who had pitched the game before this epic. LaRussa had to be wondering the same thing. In any event, Seaver worked around a leadoff single by getting Yount to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play.

As that half of the inning ended, it marked a first in baseball history: the first game that lasted eight hours. Fortunately, for both teams, it wouldn’t be much longer. Mercifully, in the bottom of the 25th, Harold Baines launched a one-out solo home run off Porter to end the game and give Chicago a 7-6 victory. Seaver was credited with the win. Porter, who did yeoman’s work by pitching 7 1/3 innings in preserving the Brewers’ bullpen, took the loss.

After the game, LaRussa was quoted as saying, “Hallelujah! Nice game. I don’t know.” I think he can be forgiven for being speechless at such a game.

 

Epilogue

Baines’ home run answered the question of who would start the scheduled May 9 game. Seaver not only started, but pitched 8 1/3 innings and – in a first in Tom Terrific’s career – won his 2nd game of the day.

The day the game started, Tigers first baseman (and former Brewer) Prince Fielder was born.

Rene Lachemann only lasted one season as Brewers manager and would not manage again until the expansion Florida Marlins debuted in 1993.

Tony LaRussa was fired by the White Sox in the middle of the 1986 season. In an unusual move, the Oakland Athletics scooped him up a few weeks later and he led them to a 45-34 finish that season. He would go on to manage the A’s through 1995, reaching three consecutive World Series between 1988-90 (winning it all in 1989). His greatest success came with the St. Louis Cardinals; there, LaRussa would win the 2006 and 2011 World Series and reach the postseason nine times in his 16 seasons as manager. LaRussa and Sparky Anderson are the only managers to win a World Series title in each league.

Ironically, Anderson would achieve this feat in 1984 by leading the Detroit Tigers to the 1984 World Championship, swamping the San Diego Padres in five games.

Rollie Fingers, who played for the Padres before joining the Brewers, would save 23 games for the Brewers in 1984. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992 after finishing 709 games in his career, being credited for 341 saves. In his debut season with the Brewers in 1981, he won the MVP and Cy Young awards.

Tom Paciorek, who had five hits during the game despite not starting, played 18 MLB seasons with an OPS+ of 103. He made the All-Star team with Seattle in 1981. After his playing days, he became a color commentator, most notably with the White Sox.

Ben Ogilvie led the AL in home runs with 41 home runs in 1980 and was a fearsome part of “Harvey’s Wallbangers”, the slugging bunch that reached the 1982 World Series.

Randy Ready, whose throwing error in the 21st inning led to the second game-tying rally by the White Sox, was a 24-year-old in his second major-league season. He was in the lineup in place of Paul Molitor. Ready is currently the manager of the Gwinnett Braves, Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.

Juan Agosto, who pitched the final four innings the first night and the first three innings the following day, spent his entire 13-year career as a reliever. The 7-inning scoreless outing was the longest of his career, as well as the best overall pitching performance of the game.

Chuck Porter started 34 games for the Brewers and appeared in 20 others between 1981 and 1985. His most extensive playing time was in the 1983-84 seasons. His primary claim to fame remains the home run he surrendered to Baines to end the game.

Ron Reed’s final season was 1984, when he saved 12 games for the White Sox. After being a league-average starter during the first half of his career, he became an effective reliever for the Phillies. He won 146 games and saved another 103 during a 19-year career.

Floyd Bannister was the #1 overall pick in the 1976 amateur draft. He never lived up to that billing, however. In his 15-year career, he made the All-Star team once, with Seattle, during a 1982 season in which he led the AL in strikeouts with 209. His son, Brian, also reached the majors, pitching for the Royals and Mets from 2006-2010.

Seaver would go on to win 33 games with Chicago between 1984-86. His final game occurred on Sept. 19, 1986, after being traded to Boston. He would be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992, with the highest first-ballot total of all time (98.8%). He won 311 games, three Cy Young award, the 1967 Rookie of the Year and boasts a lifetime ERA of 2.86 (and a park-adjusted ERA+ of 127).

Milwaukee starter Don Sutton pitched until 1988, when he was 43. He was a reliable starter for manh contending teams and reach the postseason four times. Never a dominating pitcher, he nonetheless amassed 324 wins and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998. He has done color commentary for Atlanta Braves games for many years.

Bob Fallon’s final appearance in the majors would be 13 months later, on June 23, 1985. But for one night, he matched a Hall of Famer pitch-for-pitch for six innings.

The attendance for the Brewers-White Sox game was 14,754. There is no record of how many of those fans stayed for the full 17 innings the first night, nor how many came back for the final eight innings the following afternoon. But those fans who did witnessed a piece of baseball history that has not been replicated in the 29 years since.

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A Pair Of Aces

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A Pair Of Aces

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

In poker a pair of aces is nowhere near the best hand, but on the diamond a pair of aces can lead a team to the promise land. The old adage is pitching and defense wins championships and good pitching always beats good hitting. The one thing better then having an ace of a staff is having two.

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In the 90’s the Atlanta Braves were well known for having two and sometimes three aces in Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine. The trio led Atlanta to yearly division titles, personal accolades, and a world championship. The 2001 season saw the Arizona Diamondbacks enjoy a season headlined by one of the most dominant duos ever in Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. The two only combined for 52 wins regular season and post season, a CY Young, co Sportsman of the Year, and co World Series MVP’s. In short, that is not too shabby.

Currently, the top ten pitching duos are:

#10 – Atlanta Tim Hudson and Mike Minor. Hudson is the elder ace who is still getting the job done. He will eat up innings and touch that 15 win mark. Minor is up and coming and seems to be finding his stride toward the end of last year and starting off this season. They also have a third wheel in Paul Maholm whose 2013 is on a good start.

#9 – Chicago White Sox Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. They are another duo featuring a veteran and youngster. Both are capable of racking up strikeouts and dominant starts. However, there is the occasional DL stint or rough outing.

#8 – Los Angeles Angels Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. Both have been very consistent and productive. However, walk rates are subpar and strikeout rates are middle of the road.

#7 – Tampa Bay David Price and Matt Moore. Together they are two young guns with great out pitches that throw from the left side. Price is a yearly CY Young contender and Moore has yet to allow a run in 2013.

#6 – Boston Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Both have high potential that is waiting to be tapped. Injuries have held back both at times but 2013 could finally be the year. They both had excellent springs and are a combined 4-0 thus far this season.

#5 – Detroit Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. If you are a hitter, close your eyes and swing early. Both have well above average fastballs and dominate the strikeout leader board. They both also collect a ton of innings and can save a bullpen.

#4 – Los Angeles Dodgers Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Both are CY Young winners that do not lose on their home mound. Each is capable of building long winning streaks and carrying the team for the night.

#3 – Philadelphia Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Suddenly this duo is seemingly under the radar within the division. They are two left hand pitchers with the x factor of pitching well in the post season. They are two trustworthy guys come late in the season and in October.

#2 – San Francisco Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. The Giants earn the 1990’s Atlanta Brave award as it is not just a duo. These two are also complimented with Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum, and a resurgent Barry Zito. The offense does not need to score a ton of runs when any of them take the mound as they are all capable of winning 1-0 games. They all can be stoppers in their own way and it is the most balanced rotation top to bottom.

#1 – Washington Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg. This is the duo that could most rival the 2001 Diamondbacks. This season each is likely to be in the CY Young running and at the top of all major pitching categories. The one question remains, can they pitch in October?

The pitching duo most likely to be next on this list comes out of New York. Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are young and ready to help the Mets contend. Harvey is off to a blistering start in 2013 looking like an up and coming ace. Wheeler is the pitcher that was apart of the Carlos Beltran trade a few seasons ago. He is likely to join the big club sometime this year and is one of the top prospects in all of baseball.

Each of these teams has the ability to avoid long losing streaks and stay in contention thanks to these duos. Aces are wild. Shuffle up and deal.

 

 

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Ah… Predictions, Predictions

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Ah… Predictions, Predictions

Posted on 30 March 2013 by Jennifer Gosline

There is no true off-season in baseball. It is simply some down time to make adjustments to rosters, to reflect on past stats, and make predictions for the future. Baseball is never over in the heart of the fans, and now it is almost time again for the first pitch of the regular season.

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2013 is going to be interesting. Numerous changes have been made to many Major League rosters. Some seemingly revamping their whole team. I think this season, teams that may not have been thought of as strong have made themselves good contenders to snag that division title. And other clubs that are expected to always be the leader, might suffer.

AL East
The Toronto Blue Jays gained a lot of solid veteran players over the off-season making them seem unapproachable for the rest of the AL East. As long as they can handle the pressure and do not burn themselves from the stress, they will be dangerous. They just need to stay focused, and not get swept away by all the talk of high hopes swirling around them. If they can pull this off, the Red Sox, the Rays, and the Orioles will have a hard time keeping up with the Blue Jays this year.

The Yankees… Oh the Yankees… They seem to be on a steady decline with the injuries they are facing. Healthy Yankees have always been a threat, but right now they seem to be scrambling. If they can pass the injury issues, they can once again be capable of making it to the playoffs.

AL Central
The Twins lost both Denard Span and Ben Revere over the off-season which will slow the team down considerably. They both have tremendous hustle and now Minnesota is lacking in that category. They made some much needed upgrades to their pitching, and they do have a little bit of pop in their line up, but I do not think it will be enough to replace the loss of these outfielders. They will likely fall to the retooled Cleveland Indians and the up and down Chicago White Sox. Even the Royals will be a stronger competitor than the Twins, with the improvements they made this season.

I expect the Detroit Tigers to be as impressive as last year. Adding leader and weathered outfielder Torii Hunter to the team will increase the power in their already dominant line up. And if Victor Martinez can stay off the disabled list, they could be unstoppable. And not to mention Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez in their starting rotations. As long as having no dedicated closer does not make this team crumble, I think the Tigers will be in the post-season.

AL West
The Astros will not make a smooth transition over to the American League. They will be a fish out of water this season. Once they get acclimated, they may increase their skills, but for now it will just be a learning period.

The Angels and the Rangers will, as usual, be tough to beat this season. They both have well-rounded teams with some scary defensive talent. The Rangers lost Josh Hamilton to the Angels which might not be that big of a blow, as the rest of the team is capable of picking up the slack. And now the Halos have that added power to their roster. These two teams are comparable.

The Oakland Athletics are a favorite for being the scrappy underdogs, but they will have to rely heavily on their pitching to defend their division crown. Newcomers, Chris Young and John Jaso will not be enough to put fear into their rivals.

The Mariners will once again try to build around their ace Felix Hernandez. However, I feel that they will not be a serious contender for the division title. They might get a little more adrenaline after facing the Astros, but there will not be much change for Seattle this year.

NL East
The Atlanta Braves have a fierce line up with the Upton brothers and Jason Heyward, but I think they might not excel as much as expected. Justin Upton has major potential to win an MVP award in his career and still has yet to show everything he is capable of, but the initial excitement of playing with B.J. Upton might be more of a distraction than a motivator. Eventually, these two will tear up the NL East, maybe even toward the end of this season in a push for the playoffs. But I think they might be too amped in the beginning to reach the standards that everyone is anticipating. The Braves do have some bullpen talent that can rescue them in any inevitable jams. This team will certainly make their name known this year.

I am not sure what the Marlins were doing over the off-season. It seems that most clubs were making improvements and Miami had a different plan. This will not be their year. They may put up a fight… or perhaps a squabble. But I do not think they will make much of a dent in opposing teams. The Mets will surly dominate them with Shaun Marcum in their starting rotation.

Between the Nationals and the Phillies, both teams could give a strong push to the playoffs. Both have offensive depth, but the Nationals will have an edge over the Phillies with their strong pitching rotation. With Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg as starters, the Nationals could take the division title.

NL Central
With young stars like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, there is reason to be excited about the Chicago Cubs. Having said that, I feel they will not make much of an impact yet in their division, especially competing against Andrew McCutchen and the upstart Pirates.

The Brewers could be a worthy contender for the playoffs if they were not facing the Reds. Milwaukee has some dependable bats, but their pitching is lacking. And the Reds have too much offensive ammunition for the Brewers to tame.

The question is: can the Cardinals take on the Reds? The Cardinals play hard, always come hungry, and seem to excel at the most important times. They are healthy competition for the Reds. Both teams have offensive talent and their pitching matches up fairly evenly.

NL West
The Los Angeles Dodgers are trying to rely too much on big names to carry them through the season. Chemistry is important. Big names are not everything. If these guys can figure out how to work together, they can be merciless to their opposing teams. But everything has to click seamlessly. And I am not sure the Dodgers are quite there yet. They have ample pitching with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and a powerful offense. They look good on paper, but may need a year to get more settled.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have a proficient pitching rotation with Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy starting. And their bullpen is jam packed with solid relief options. They made many adjustments to their positional players as well, to create a unique team. They were average last season, but this time around they might have the formula to increase their game. Competing against the Colorado Rockies, who are an average team, and the San Diego Padres, who will actually put up a fight this year, the Dbacks have a chance at making their team stand out.

The Giants have kept most of their team intact from last year. The World Series Champions will likely still be a strong competitor in their division, and now they have Tim Lincecum back on the mound which can increase their pitching depth considerably. They will be the team to beat in the NL West.

So what will actually happen this season? Every one has an opinion, but we all know anything can happen in baseball. That is the beauty of the sport. And it is almost time, once again, to play ball.

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Tis The Time For Bold Predictions

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Tis The Time For Bold Predictions

Posted on 25 March 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

In the last week, the sports world has seen its fair share of bracket fever and the only cure is more predictions! The World Baseball Classic bracket tournament concluded with the Dominican Republic being crowned champions after going undefeated throughout the tournament. Congratulations to them. Also this week, the office pool of all office pools, the NCAA basketball tournament has tipped off with everyone and their mother filling out a bracket. Some brackets are filled out with knowledge and expertise; others are filled out with hopes and sheer guesses. But no matter what, the spectacle is a fun and exciting time.

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Being in the prognosticating zone and Opening Day just over a week a way, it is a good transition to some Major League Baseball season predictions. This week will be the American League 2013 preview.

Starting in the American League East, I am anticipating this division being the best division in baseball this season. All five teams will be ultra strong and all have visions of the post season. Sadly, one team will finish in last and it may be the New York Yankees turn. Injuries and an older roster may finally catch up to the Bombers and bring up the rear in the East. The Baltimore Orioles may also have a set back year compared to last year, finishing fourth and the Tampa Bay Rays, while pesky, in third. The Boston Red Sox will have a bounce back year (hard to have a worse year), and finish in second. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are pitching great thus far this spring. The new Toronto Blue Jays will be division champs this season. The roster is fully balanced after off season moves and will narrowly come out on top.

In the Central, the Detroit Tigers will repeat as division champions. In the division they have the best pitcher and best position player that should keep them on the top line of the standings. The Chicago White Sox will be runners up again but compete for a wild card spot. Both the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals are improved and could be major thorns in the sides of other clubs. The Indians were well represented in the WBC that could lead to an improving campaign and the Royals made one of the boldest off season trades this past December trying to spark the franchise. The rebuilding Minnesota Twins will finish in fifth.

Out west, the Los Angeles Angels are heavy favorites and will win the division by the widest margin of any of the six division winners. That will be aided by playing the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros several times during divisional play. Houston is making their inaugural season in the American League and on paper appears to be heading toward a difficult season in the wins category. The Texas Rangers lost a lot of fire power this off season and are not quite the same team that has had recent playoff success. They will finish in second while the Oakland A’s will finish in third. Oakland, like Baltimore will fall back a bit after a surprise 2012 season. In fourth, will be the Seattle Mariners, who while trying to make some improvements still cannot quite compete for a full season compared to the other ball clubs and the Astros will be a distant fifth place.

Come October, the Wild Card match up will feature the two Sox teams – Red versus White. Winning the one game playoff will be Boston and advancing to the Divisional Round.

In the Divisional Round, the Red Sox will show some fight but in the end be defeated by the Angels while the Blue Jays will take down the Tigers. The American League Championship will showcase the high power offenses of the Angels and Blue Jays. In five games, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and company will put the Jays into a halo effect and advance to their first World Series since winning it back in 2002.

Come awards season, the American League Most Valuable Player will be the man who was runner up a season ago. Mike Trout has all of the talent and the ultimate protection to post video game like numbers for the second straight season. The CY Young, boldly will be handed to Jon Lester. Lester has CY Young talent and perhaps with a new coaching staff in place, this will finally be the year he puts it all together. The Manager of the Year will be awarded to Robin Ventura of Chicago. I believe he should have won the award last season, but with a possible second solid year in a row, this could be his. With the line up and high expectations, Mike Scioscia of Los Angeles may cancel himself out. Finally the Rookie of the American League will be Dylan Bundy of Baltimore (not Polk High). A young talent on the mound, Bundy will see a lot of innings and post good first year numbers.

Next week, predictions on the National League. May your brackets be good to you!

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Off Season Blues

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Off Season Blues

Posted on 01 February 2013 by Tim Danielson

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

Until next time, keep collecting, (and watching baseball movies!) collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.

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