15 Best Baseball Movies

by Brett on April 26, 2012 · 143 comments

in Movies, Travel & Leisure

While in recent years football has become the sport of choice among American spectators, we still fondly refer to baseball as “America’s Pastime.” For many men in America, baseball was a boyhood rite of passage and served as the backdrop of some their most cherished memories. Baseball was how many men bonded with their fathers as boys. Who can forget dad taking you to the sports store to buy you your first glove, showing you how to break it in, and playing catch with you in the backyard?

While baseball has shaped the lives of individual men for more than a century, its influence on American society is even more profound; it’s shaped our ideas of masculinity, buoyed our spirits during economic depressions and war, and served as a battleground for civil rights.

Woven as baseball is with personal ties, romance, and cultural weight, it’s not surprising that a lot movies have been made about the sport. Some funny, some poignant, and some utterly forgettable. Below we highlight the ones that stick with us–15 of the best baseball movies (in no particular order) to help you get into the swing of things as a new season starts.

Play ball!

The Sandlot

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that The Sandlot is the best movie about being a boy ever. My friends and I would watch this movie over and over again during the summer (in-between our games of Pickle and Pepper), and have a great time laughing at and repeating all our favorite lines (“You’re killing me, Smalls!” “You play ball like a girl!” “FOR-EV-ER!”) and drooling over Wendy Peffercorn. The Sandlot doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a simple movie about close boyhood friends and their shared love of baseball. Twenty years later I still make it a point to watch The Sandlot every summer, and every time I do, I’m taken back to my own childhood, playing baseball with the neighborhood kids in good ol’ Danforth Farms. Can’t wait to watch this one with Gus.

Pride of the Yankees

The Iron Horse’s talent and tenacity made him a legend. His courage in the face of a debilitating disease made him a hero. Lou Gehrig was one of the classiest baseball players America has ever had, and who better to play him than Gary Cooper (though, it’s kind of funny to see a 40-year-old Cooper, play a 19-year-old Gehrig). If you’re not tearing up at the famous “Luckiest Man” speech, you my friend, have no soul.

Field of Dreams

While Field of Dreams is primarily about a man’s reconciliation with his estranged dead father, it’s also about the power baseball has had in America to bind communities and connect generations. This quote from Terence Mann (played by James Earl Jones) beautifully sums up what baseball means for many Americans:

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.”

Bull Durham

Ask any baseball player or film critic what the greatest baseball movie ever made was, and dimes to donuts they’ll say Bull Durham. Sports Illustrated ranked it as the #1 sports movie of all time. With good reason too. Bull Durham perfectly captures the ambition and gritty underdog mentality of minor league baseball. Writer/director Ron Shelton was a former minor league ballplayer himself, which probably explains why watching Bull Durham gives you the feeling of looking in on the lives of real minor league baseball players.

Kevin Costner plays veteran catcher Crash Davis who’s tasked with mentoring immature, young pitcher, Eddie Laloosh (Tim Robbins). The in-between-the-pitches banter between Laloosh and Davis constitutes some of the best dialogue in film history. The two not only battle over baseball, but also a seductive woman played by Susan Sarandon. At its core, Bull Durham is about a few guys working hard for something better in life–something that we can all relate to as men.

The Natural

When we think of mythic heroes, we often think of characters from classical history like Achilles or Agamemnon. In The Natural, we see the archetype of the epic and mythological hero transposed from the battlefields of ancient Greece to the baseball diamonds of 1920s America. Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs, a baseball player whose promising career was cut short in his youth by a deadly dame. 16 years later, Roy is back to fulfill his dream of playing major league ball. Just as Achilles had his mythological armor made by the gods, Roy wields his mythic bat, aptly named “Wonderboy,” made from a tree struck by lightning. When you get down to it, The Natural is about re-birth and going after a dream no matter what it takes. Beautifully shot and masterfully scored, you’ll be bawling like a baby by the time the credits roll.

The Bad News Bears (1976)

As a kid, I loved the grittiness and edginess of The Bad News Bears. It’s a movie about a bunch of hapless, misfit Little Leaguers coached by an apathetic ex-minor leaguer (played by the great Walter Matthau) who spends his time nursing a can of beer in the dugout instead of coaching. The kids swear and drink like sailors, which was both jarring and hilarious to my nine-year-old brain. But behind the cussing and pre-teen drinking is a film about finding and maintaining your self-respect despite setbacks and not letting competition ruin the fun of the game.

Major League

The owner of the Cleveland Indians dies and his cold-hearted widow inherits the team. She hates Cleveland, so she hatches a plan to cobble together a team so bad the franchise will lose their fans, allowing her to relocate to Miami. A washed-up catcher with bad knees, a crazy formerly-incarcerated pitcher with wicked speed but no control, a power hitting voodoo priest, and a pop fly-hitting base runner, make up the core of this team of misfits. Despite the team’s lack of talent, the players come together to win games just to spite the owner. Major League is a fantastic comedy, and I still laugh out loud whenever I watch it. Comedian and former American League ballplayer/WWF announcer/Mr. Belvedere star, Bob “I must be in the front row” Uecker provides some great laughs as Indians announcer Harry Doyle.

The sequel to Major League was pretty good (For an entire summer my neighborhood friends and I would heft our imaginary giant testicles and yell,”You have no marbles!” at each other. Ah, childhood.), but the original is still the best.

Eight Men Out

Eight Men Out masterfully chronicles baseball’s original sin. In 1919, eight players on the Chicago White Sox conspired together to throw the World Series in exchange for money from gamblers in Chicago’s underworld.  The scandal tarnished the reputations of some of baseball’s greats (including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson) and nearly put an end to professional sports in America. While we often look back at baseball with Kodachrome and sepia-tinted nostalgia, Eight Men Out is a somber reminder that previous generations battled the same corrupting factors that we decry in sports today. The writing and acting in Eight Men Out is top notch, and it boasts some of the best ball playing scenes in cinema.

Moneyball

Who knew a movie about baseball statistics could be so compelling? Moneyball follows Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane as he breaks with convention by using statistics instead of scouts to put together a winning team full of undervalued ballplayers. The premise sounds boring, but it’s really another classic underdog story–here’s a guy trying to compete with much richer clubs like the Yankees and bringing together a bunch of players that everyone else had written off. It’s well acted by Brad Pitt playing Beane and Jonah Hill as his statistics man, Peter Brand. The chemistry between the two men makes the film work, and as you’d expect from an Aaron Sorkin-penned screenplay, the dialogue is smart and snappy.

Bang the Drum Slowly

It’s baseball’s Brian’s Song. In Bang the Drum Slowly, baseball serves as a backdrop to the story of an intense friendship between two men who face death together only to have one succumb and the other left a changed man. A young DeNiro plays a simple-minded catcher named Bruce Pearson who’s diagnosed with terminal Hodgkins disease. Bruce’s best friend, teammate, and roommate, Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty) stands by Bruce through what will be his last season. Watching Bruce face death humbly and heroically while his friend supports and comforts him puts a lump in my throat every time.

Baseball by Ken Burns

This isn’t just a single film, but an eighteen hour documentary broken up into nine two hour movies. But because Baseball captures the epic sweep of America’s pastime so beautifully, I had to include it in the list. Documentary director Ken Burns has made a career out of resurrecting the ghosts of America’s past so they can tell their stories to us. In Baseball, Burns explores how the sport has intertwined with all facets of American life from racism and war, to labor relations and art.

If you haven’t seen Baseball before, do yourself a favor and queue it up on Netflix or Amazon. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, you’ll gain an appreciation for the sport and its impact on America, for better or worse.

Fear Strikes Out

Fear Strikes Out is a PSA on the havoc overzealous Little League dads who live vicariously through their children can wreak on their progeny. Based on the real-life rise and public breakdown of professional baseball player Jimmy Piersall, Fear Strikes Out is less a movie about baseball and more of a psychological drama. Dads, if you don’t want your little slugger to grow up into a Jimmy Piersall, just keeping reminding yourself that “It’s just a game.”

A League of Their Own

What? A movie about a bunch of broads playing baseball on a site called The Art of Manliness? You betcha, brother. A League of Their Own is a classic baseball movie that gives us a glimpse into an oft-overlooked part of American history. Facing a shortage of men to field teams due to the WWII draft, baseball owners came up with an all women’s baseball league in order to keep interest in the sport alive during the duration of the war. A League of Their Own takes viewers along the ups and downs of a fictional example of one of those all-girl teams: the Rockford Peaches. This movie is simply a joy to watch. It’s a great story with great acting. Tom Hanks was brilliant as the alcoholic, former pro-player turned coach, Jimmy Dugan, and thanks to him, we will forever know that there’s no crying in baseball.

The Rookie

What would you do if you had a second chance at a dream? In The Rookie, we get to see the internal and outward struggle one man goes through when a second chance falls in his lap. Based on the true story of Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ pitcher Jim Morris, The Rookie tells the tale of how Morris went from being a washed-up minor league ballplayer coaching high school baseball in a small Texas town to pitching Major League ball at an age when most pro-pitchers retire. The Rookie is a Disney film, so it’s kinda schmaltzy and definitely tugs at your heart strings, but I don’t care. Morris’ story inspires me to never give up on the hope of finally fulfilling a long-held dream.

Up for Grabs

Remember when Barry Bonds broke the single season home run record in 2001? Did you ever wonder who the lucky guy or gal was that caught that historic and possibly lucrative ball? The documentary Up for Grabs tells the story of that famous ball and the two men who took part in one of the most epically humorous and head-shakingly sad legal battles of all time. My 1L property law professor used this film to introduce us to the famous textbook case of Pierson v. Post in which a NY court had to decide what constituted possession in a battle over a dead fox. In Up for Grabs the dead fox in Pierson is replaced by Barry Bonds’ home run ball. Up for Grabs is a comedic morality drama on the dangers of the greed and myopia that can creep into a man’s life if he doesn’t keep his guard up.

61*

What would you do if everyone was rooting for you to fail? To make matters worse, what if the person everyone wanted to succeed happened to be a friend and teammate? In 61* director and diehard Yankees fan Billy Crystal shows us how one man responded when faced with such a situation. In the 1961 baseball season, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris battled it out for the single season home run record. Yankee fans, seeing the gregarious Mantle as the heir to the Yankee dynasty created by Ruth, DiMaggio, and Gehrig, rooted for the Mick to beat the record and booed and even sent death threats to the more demure Maris.  We get to see firsthand how both Maris and Mantle handled the pressures and scrutiny that came with breaking the record set by the Great Bambino, and how that pressure forged a manly friendship.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think are the best movies about baseball? What did we leave off the list? Give us your picks in the comments!

{ 143 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cody April 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm

No love for Angels in the Outfield!

I guess I shouldn’t blame… that movie is only good for humorous references to people in the 24-30 age rang…

2 Jess April 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I know everyone commenting is going to have a problem with something, but honestly, you put The Sandlot on there, but not Little Big League? :(

3 Greg April 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm

No love for Baseketball?

4 Geoffrey Kidd April 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm

You left one of the greatest of all out: Pastime. It follows a major-league veteran now in the minor leagues tutoring an upcoming young talent in 1957. This is baseball back when it WAS a game, and not the modern version of the sport of kings.

Add in one of the best soundtracks of all time by Lee Holdridge, and it knocks the story right out of the ballpark.

5 Ian A. April 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Glad to see the Burns documentary made the cut (I was about to start complaining if I didn’t see it)!

I haven’t followed baseball closely in quite a few years, but just watching Burns’ newest installment has rekindled my interest in the sport in a big way. I highly recommend it.

6 Dom April 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm

A baseball documentary I like is When it Was a Game. It’s an HBO production I’m pretty sure, and is at least 20 years old. But it’s a good look at what baseball used to be like- when the players played for laundry money and had to work two jobs to support a family.

Out of the list above, I’d say Field of Dreams is my favorite. I cried like a baby the first time I saw it and I still tear up when I see it today. I’ve also been fortunate enough to visit the field itself out in Iowa. That’s certainly a trip that should be made.

7 Sasha April 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

what about For Love of the Game? Great movie… probably better than

8 RJ April 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Not to sure about the documentaries on the movie list. But I’d but The Stratton Story on this list, easy. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041928/

9 Will April 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm

What about Baseketball? :P

10 RJ April 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm

put*

11 LG April 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I’ve often said to my non-American friends that watching baseball movies is a fast-track to understanding the American experience in all its unity AND diversity. Field of Dreams, especially, captures something so uniquely American that I think it’s a must-watch for people trying to “get” us.

12 Stephen c. Berry April 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Rookie of the Year!!!

Granted, it’s another kids’ movie, but I loved it as a kid and it still makes me laugh out loud. Gary Busey as Chet “The Rocket” Stedman, and Daniel Stern and Brigma, the inept pitching coach.

13 A April 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm

IMO, a perfect game, is the ultimate achievement for an individual in team sports. “For Love of the Game” is one of the best baseball movies out there. It is hard to replicate the feelings and emotions surrounding the pursuit of perfection, but this movie does it (with some mushy love story stuff too).

14 Jon Finkel April 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Great article, Brett… The only one nobody has discussed so far that I’d add to the list is The Scout. Albert Brooks as the Scout and Brendan Frasier as Steve Nebraska, the best pitching prospect the Yankees ever signed. The finale, with Bob Costas commentating, has to be one of the best ever… Good movie, great finish.

15 David Y April 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm

How about “Mr. Baseball” with Tom Selleck as an arrogant washed up ball player forced to play in Japan to try to save whats left of his carreer. Along the way he learns some lessons and ends up helping another player make it to the majors.

16 Pedro April 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I think Talent For The Game is the best “scout” movie out there, and a great look, similar to The Scout, at what it takes to bring that rookie to the show.

17 Oogie April 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm

How could you forget “It Happens Every Spring”? It is a lot of fun.

18 Jerome Lesicko April 26, 2012 at 8:26 pm

“Long Gone” starring William Petersen

19 Mike April 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Some good suggestions. I haven’t seen a few of these!

20 Brett April 26, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Mr. Baseball… Classic

21 Michael April 26, 2012 at 10:08 pm

“The Sandlot” is one of my favorites also. Little Big League & Rookie of the Year are fun but don’t have the timelessness of The Sandlot. Ken Burns’ Baseball is a must see for any baseball fan. Don’t forget about the recent follow up “10th Inning”

22 Chris April 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm

How about Mr. Baseball?

23 matt April 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm

What about For The Love of the Game? Its a great baseball movie and deserves to up there instead of Up For Grabs, Major League, or A League of Their Own.

24 Nick April 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I’ve seen some comments about forgetting Baseketball and Rookie of the Year, but I’m really shocked that you didn’t include “For Love of the Game”.

25 Jacob April 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm

For those asking about basketball, read the title of the article. smh.

26 four April 26, 2012 at 10:46 pm

What about Cobb? A great film. I remember liking Mr. Baseball as well. I remember Angels In The Outfield was a good movie too.

There are a plenty of good movies on that list and a few that I haven’t heard of, but while reading through I still thought I would have seen Cobb on the list.

Good list nonetheless.

27 Jacob April 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm

*baseketball = worst movie evar.

28 Pat April 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I agree with #2 through #11. Natural is great. Try to watch the ending scene with the son and dad play catch in Field of Dreams without tearing up, it is hard to do. Watched Bad News Bears again 20 years ago but it was too vulgar to let my young sons watch.

29 Brian April 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Thanks for remembering Bang the Drum Slowly, still one of the most touching movies – not just about baseball, but about friendship and loyalty as well – that it’s ever been my privilege to watch.

30 Erin Cramer April 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Two things…
1. Tim Robbins played Ebby Calvin LaLoosh.

2. These comments reveal that there have to be at least 20 “Best Baseball Movies.”

Good Job!

31 Ed Britt April 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm

What? No love for The Final Seasion? My son plays baseball and The Final Season is his favorite baseball movie.

32 brian April 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm

The Kevin Costner speech about what he believes in (bull Durham) disqualifies this as a sports movie. That scene lowers the testosterone level in the room wherever/whenever it is played, gayest scene in movie history.

33 Ben April 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Great list. I’ll have to agree that the Sandlot is more timeless than RotY or Little Big Leage, but they’re still great. I’ll be honest, I never cared for Bull Durham, way too cheesy.
Field of Dreams is one of my favorite movies of all time and easily my favorite baseball movie. I’m going to see the field this summer, I got to see the movie on the big screen at the Indianapolis Indians stadium, and to me baseball ultimately boils down to a pitch and catch between father and son.
Glad to see *61 on this list, vastly under appreciated. Especially with Barry peppers performance.

34 Serpe April 26, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Sugar!

35 Jason April 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm

“For Love of the Game” definitely deserves to be on the list, if it can be updated :) It’s the perfect baseball date movie. The relationship side of the story occurs in Billy Chapel’s memory while he’s pitching what’s likely to be his last ball game. So the plot kinda interlaces between the game in realtime and his memories over the past several years. Make for an interesting way to tell the story as certain things develop… I enjoy re-watching it once in a while.

36 Ron Flesher April 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I have a soft spot for “The Natural” as it was filmed in my hometown of Buffalo, NY.

37 Doug April 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/23542/greatest-nicknames-of-all-time

I thought this might be an interesting attachment.

The Rookie and For the Love of the Game are another two I was going to mention. Maybe not the best, but definitely good.

38 Detroit April 26, 2012 at 11:26 pm

61* was shot in Tiger Stadium in Detroit before it got torn down. It was a sad day in Detroit when such a landmark disappeared, but at least before she went she hosted a great film.

39 Billy D April 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Whaa?? No The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings????

40 Jake H April 27, 2012 at 12:42 am

For the family man…Little Big League.

41 Andy Richter April 27, 2012 at 12:49 am

“For Love of the Game” should have definitely gotten recognition. It HAS to be better than the drivel (of which I have never seen) of the ball Barry Bonds hit to break the single-season home run record.

42 unclesam April 27, 2012 at 2:15 am

Personally, I love Hardball.

43 eric rascon April 27, 2012 at 2:42 am

What about Mr.3000,that is a great comedy film.

44 Ngeso April 27, 2012 at 3:14 am

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings !!!!!!!

45 John Joseph April 27, 2012 at 5:22 am

I’m still in shock that For Love of the Game was not on this list; the build up in that movie is unparalleled, in my opinion. Mr. 3000 could’ve beat out a few of those too.

46 katherine April 27, 2012 at 6:11 am

While I agree with many of the movies you chose, I believe the best movie wasn’t mentioned: A small, independent film made two years ago: Sugar. It’s about a minor league pitcher from the DR trying to make it to the big leagues, and in America. It’s an AMAZING movie, regardless of genre. I strongly encourage any baseball (or movie) fan to watch it.

47 Rob S April 27, 2012 at 6:31 am

Ken Burns’ Baseball is a “must see” for all true fans. Fantastic documentary! Second only to his “Civil War”!

48 Charles April 27, 2012 at 6:33 am

I hated “Moneyball.” My fiance and I rented it after hearing raving reviews everywhere we looked and we both fell asleep. We couldn’t believe none of the reviews said it was dull and slow. Baseball is a slow enough sport that its hard to get kids into it after football and hockey nowadays, why slow it down more with a movie like “Moneyball?”

49 Stewart April 27, 2012 at 7:07 am

How about “For the Love of the Game”
I thought it was a great story about someone who must come to grips with aging.

50 Kevin April 27, 2012 at 8:03 am

No “For Love of the Game”? No “Rookie of the Year”? Both of those could replace up for grabs or fear strikes out.

51 Scott April 27, 2012 at 8:11 am

A great baseball movie to watch with your wife/girlfriend — Feverpitch

52 Jay G. April 27, 2012 at 8:23 am

So is Kevin Costner the ultimate baseball movie actor? He makes the list in Field of Dreams and Bull Durham, and everoyne is screaming that For Love of the Game should have made the cut.
He gets a lot of flack nowadays, but I love these movies, and I still think he’s a great actor.

53 Mike April 27, 2012 at 9:10 am

“For the Love of the Game,” there is a love story involved, but that movie belongs on this list.

54 Trev April 27, 2012 at 10:15 am

This list reminds me of my dad cause he is a baseball movie nut. I have to echo many others and say “For Love of the Game”.

My younger sister also loves Costner, which is hilarious, and even has a signed baseball by him (she wanted him to sign as one of his characters). Haha.

55 PJ April 27, 2012 at 11:33 am

The best baseball movie almost no one has ever heard of is without a doubt Sugar.

If you’re a real fan of the game, and I’m pretty sure you are if you’re reading this, track it down and check it out.

56 Ozzie April 27, 2012 at 11:37 am

I’m surprised no one has brought up the HBO movie “Soul of the Game” It follows Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. The movie itself is decent but the profile of the Negro Leagues is the fascinating part.

57 Gruff April 27, 2012 at 11:50 am

For Love of the Game. Can’t believe it was left off the list. Costner + Pitcher reflecting on his life in the midst of pitching a perfect game = AWESOME!

58 Ray April 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I’ll second “Long Gone”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093433/

59 Anthony April 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I have liked all the movies mentioned. There are a few mentioned I haven’t seen yet and I will be looking for them. No one mentioned a movie called “Soul of the game” this is a great movie about the negro league and the pursuit of greats satchell Paige, Josh Gibson, and Jackie Robinson to make it to the Majors. If you havn’t seen it do yourself a favor and do so.

60 Eric April 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

If you want to go old school with a comedy / fantasy flavor check out Rhubarb. One of my early favorites.

61 Lance April 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Rookie of the year, Angels in the outfield? The list is classic! “Baseball”shouldn’t be on the list. It’s in a beast of a category on its own.

62 Tom King April 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I hate Field of Dreams – not because it was a bad movie, Au contrare! That movie convinced thousands of people that “If you build it they will come.” I have heard more nonprofit board members quote that danged movie as an excuse to start an expensive pet project without any ground work to see whether anybody would want to come if you actually did build it. That stupid line has justified the decision to waste more money on stupid, ill-planned structures, programs, buildings and businesses than any other quotation in history I’d be willing to wager.

Albert Brooks’ “The Scout” was a really good baseball movie. It should be number 16 at least.

And don’t anybody argue with me about “Field of Dreams”. I’m right. It’s a well done movie that makes us cry and teaches us that marketing and sales are irrelevant and that business is merely a matter of willpower and magic. I’d be willing to bet you can trace the beginning of the collapse of the American economy to the debut of that movie!

63 txk Big Poppa April 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm

This was a great list. There are a few of those that I missed and I will go back and watch them.

There are a few great movies that you missed that told the story of the great game from an African-American perspective. Bernie Mac’s “Mr. 3000″ was and underrated comedy. So was “The Bingo Long Travelling All-Stars & Motor Kings”, featuring Billy Dee Willaims, James Earl Jones and Richard Pryor as a barnstorming team that defected from the Negro leagues. The Negro Leagues are featured again in the documentary, “Only The Ball Was White”. That movie gave us glimpses of Negro League greats like Satchel Page, Josh Gibson, ‘Cool Papa Bell’ and others. “The Jackie Robinson Story” starring Jackie Robinson and Ruby Dee was an very good biopic chronicling the tests faced by both Robinson and Dodger owner Branch Rickey upon Rickey’s decision to integrate the major leagues.

64 jeff April 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

“Safe At Home!” starring Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Story of a young Little Leaguer who meets his heroes in order to clear up a lie he made to his friends. This is a short, sweet little film that too many people haven’t had the pleasure of seeing.

65 Ryan April 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

“For Love Of The Game” should really be on the list. The perfect game in baseball is one of the highest achievements any player or team could ever achieve.

66 Taylor April 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I only skimmed throught the comments, so if someone mentioned this already then my apologies. “Sugar”, about a 19 year-old pitcher from the Dominican trying to make it in the minor leagues, is great. Also, “Cobb” deserves at least a mention. It has its flaws but it is still an interesting watch.

67 CMH April 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm

As great a move as it is, I will never forgive The Natural for changing the ending from its source material (the novel, The Natural, by Bernard Malamud). Changes the story/message completely…

68 Doug Stewart April 28, 2012 at 2:50 am

Wouldn’t make this list, but recently enjoyed The Perfect Game as it was based on a true little league story (per the credits). [on netflix]

69 Peter April 28, 2012 at 3:45 am

How about The Stratton Story with Jimmy Stewart, about guy who pitched with a wooden leg, and The Babe Ruth Story with William Bendix?

70 Steve April 28, 2012 at 7:41 am

You’re right. The Sandlot brings back nice memories. We had our own small baseball field behind a friends house we played on for many summers. The Natural, Bull Durham and A League of Their Own. At 55 I watch these 4 at least once a year. I’ve got to agree with a couple of other commentators . . . For Love of the Game should’ve made the list. Very good movie.

71 PC April 28, 2012 at 7:56 am

Did you see 4192: The Crowning of the Hit King about Pete Rose? If not you should. That was spectacular.

72 Dan April 28, 2012 at 9:02 am

I saw one the other day on the oldies movie channel called “The Pride of St. Louis.” It was the story of Dizzy Dean. Maybe it shouldn’t be in the top fifteen, but perhaps an honorable mention. It rises above fluff when Dizzy’s wife leaves him as he is trying to pursue a comeback with a dead arm. He hasn’t grown up. Then he finds his next vocation. He is brought in by someone to audition for being a baseball announcer. For those of us who grew up in the fifties and sixties we watched Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese on the game of the week. Ol’ Dizzy’s down home spin kept it a game and he would tell kids’ now watch how he does this when a player had a way of batting, pitching, or fielding to emulate. The story of Dizzy Dean in “Pride of St. Louis” is worth a watch.

73 Tim April 28, 2012 at 10:45 am

Long Gone and It happens Every Spring.

74 Robert April 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

You missed the two best classics: … It Happens Every Spring, … and … You Gotta Have Heart (Damn Yankees).

75 Defender April 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I can’t believe you left off the greatest baseball movie and event of all time… when Congressman Ron Paul hit the only homerun out of the park at the annual congressional baseball game! :-)

76 Peter O'Reilly April 28, 2012 at 5:17 pm

You forgot about The Benchwarmers. Funniest baseball movie ever.

77 T.E.Carter April 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Bob Uecker’s career was actually spent in the National League. He was kept around for surprisingly excellent defensive catching abilities.
I believe he even hit 1 grand slam homer.
Sandlot is my #1 baseball film pick also.
My 2nd is Babe Ruth starring William Bendix. It is so awful it is a lot of fun to watch.

78 Brian April 28, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Major League is one of my all time favorite movies.

Growing up as a youth in the 80s, I remember watching The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings on the USA network and remember it being one of my favorite movies. Cobb was a great movie. Soul of the Game from HBO was really good. Those are the only ones I can think of that you don’t have listed. I did like that one with Edward James Olmos as a scout. Can’t forget the ending of the first Naked Gun Movie. Enrico Pallazzo!

79 Tony Pivetta April 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Not so long ago, baseball could still lay claim to its exalted status. Natural grass, quirky stadiums (not the soulless, fascio-socialist monstrosities of today) and the pitcher’s place in the batting order ensured the game’s integrity and continuity with the past.

Not so long ago, undeclared war and diminishing civil liberties still sparked controversy an dissent. As goes baseball, alas, so goes the Constitution.

80 Clarence April 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm

The clear message from the comments above is that For Love of the Game definitely belongs on the list, and I agree. Field of Dreams is one of my favorite movies ever. It’s perfectly okay if a baseball move is about other things as well. And while I haven’t seen all of the movies listed, I’m pretty sure Hardball would be better than at least a few of them. Hardball and Field of Dreams, baseball movies that make me cry and I watch over and over.

81 Christopher April 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Great list, great movies. Brings a smile to face just reviewing them all. One additional that I have not seen brought up is ‘Ghosts of Flatbush’ Great doc. about the Brooklyn Dodgers

82 bob jones April 29, 2012 at 4:30 am

It Happens Every Spring with Ray Milland is a fun baseball movie, as is The Scout with Albert Brooks. A couple well worth watching.

83 Mrbmc April 29, 2012 at 8:26 am

Chalk up another vote for Sugar.
Too often former minor leaguers are portrayed with rose colored sentiment. The reality is the history of baseball as it follows the history of America is full of stories about the second act. The protagonist of sugar follows baseball in order to realize the American dream and his “failure” at baseball was actually his personal redemption. Additionally the craft of the film in terms of storytelling, photography and editing just blow away everything on this list.

Speaking of history… The ken burns abomination has no business being even discussed. Go read the seminal treatiseby Harold Seymour (vol 1 at the least) or the Concise Hostory by Leonard koppet. You’ll be outraged by the homerism and whitewashing exhibited by Burns. The 10th inning is a disgrace. No mention of collusion or steroids.

Parting thought:
Baseball is awesome

84 JFPisa April 29, 2012 at 11:27 am

Can’t beat the Sandlot, true classic.

Yea, where’s Cobb?

85 Kirk April 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

I just watched 5 of them this weekend thanks to this list.

86 Smack MacDougal April 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Baseball is far from manly. It’s girly.

If you want manly sports, try rugby, (North American) football, ice hockey.

87 Matt April 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm

The Stratton Story with James Stewart.

88 Mr. I April 30, 2012 at 7:51 am

“It Happens Every Spring” is an excellent (and fun) baseball film, too often passed over because it’s so old (1949).

89 Charlie Indelicato April 30, 2012 at 7:56 am

I’m late to this discussion, but add another cheer for “It Happens Every Spring” – a geeky professor becomes a pitching phenom. Decent special effects for the age of the production.

90 Drew April 30, 2012 at 8:52 am

Mr. Baseball? Rookie of the Year? For Love of the Game? Angels in the Outfield? These are CLASSICS!

91 Will April 30, 2012 at 9:45 am

Great list. Though it is a juvenile movie, Rookie of the Year is still a good one. “The hathtu? What the heck was he talking about?” “The hathtu, what the heck was I talking about?”

Bull Durham is definitely the greatest baseball movie of all time.

“If you call me a c***sucker you’re out of here.”
“….. You’re a c***sucker!”
“That’s it! You’re out of here!”
“What?!? That’s bulls***!”

92 Man Wall April 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Really? No love for Major League 3: Back to the Minors? Gilbert Gotfried has never been better.

93 Russell May 1, 2012 at 8:50 am

“Cobb” with Tommy Lee Jones is also a great baseball film.

94 WDeaton May 1, 2012 at 9:53 am

No one mentioned the great Joe E. Brown baseball movies? Fireman Save My Child(1932), Elmer The Great(1932), and Alibi Ike(1935).

95 Sonny May 1, 2012 at 11:43 am

“Are you trying to say Jesus Christ can’t hit a curveball?”

96 Mark May 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I can’t believe no one has mentioned ‘The Babe’ with John Goodman as Babe Ruth and Bruce Boxlietner as Jumpin’ Joe Dugan.
It’s definitely not historically accurate, but it’s still entertaining.
“Hey doll…grab that finger and give it a tug…”

I must be in the minority who didn’t like For Love of the Game. Too much chick-flick, but that’s just my opinion.

Parenthood isn’t a baseball movie per se, but it’s no coincidence that key moments in several of the characters’ lives occur at the ball park, both major league and little league.

97 Jonathan May 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I agree with this list but I feel that anytime you talk about Ken Burns Baseball it need a disclamer that it is 90% about east coast baseball and leaves out what was happening in the rest of the country.

98 Craig May 2, 2012 at 12:53 am

The Natural picture posted was strange. It makes Redford appear right-handed. But, he’s left-handed in both the movie and real life. Actually a left- handed pitcher for a time at the University of Colorado. Good List

99 Barry Gordon May 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm

For the Love of the Game
Angels in the Outfield
Mr. Baseball
for starters

100 Austin May 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm

The Final Season is another great movie.

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