Best baseball movie ever?

I don’t like suddenly not having a lot of good things to write about the Cardinals the last few days, so I decided to make a more light hearted post and I hope everyone participates.

As much as the White Sox announcers annoyed me, they answered a question from a fan that I thought was interesting.  It was, "What was the best baseball movie ever made?"  Now, not only am I into baseball, I am very into film.

So, I thought I would give my top 5 baseball movies and a little synopsis why.  I will spare you my camera-angle, good/bad directing, film perspective thoughts though.  And, I hope you will tell me which are your top five favorite baseball movies.  (And, feel free to say why you disagree with my choices.)

What are your all-time favorite baseball movies?

My picks are:

5. Field of Dreams – This one can be a little corny at times, but overall, it’s a fun movie and certainly a classic.  I don’t think you can have a top baseball movie list without at least mentioning this one.

"Is this heaven?"  "No, it’s Iowa."

4. The Sandlot – A great movie about what it means to be a kid: all play and no responsibilities.  In their world, the only thing is baseball and each other.

"I don’t know. Some lady gave it to him. She even signed her name on it… Ruth. Baby Ruth."

3. *61 – A great movie about the race of ’61 for 61 homers between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.  And, what it was like for Maris to feel the fans fury for chasing the beloved record set by Babe Ruth.  It’s especially interesting to watch this movie now and the decision of his record having an * by it because of the length of the season.  It was a different time than current discussions of having an * put by your name because you break the law and use drugs.

"That’s just great. One guy’s got me all washed up, the other’s got me beatin’ Ruth’s record. You guys should get together an’ make up your minds, tell me how I am so I know how to play."

2. A League of Their Own – I saw this movie as a kid in the theater for the first time.  And I decided that I, too, was going to be a baseball player. πŸ™‚  I got over that one, but still a good movie and a lot of fun to watch.  Our softball team watched it probably over 1500 times.

"It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great."

1. For Love of the Game – This one had a sense of realism in it that most baseball movies don’t because they’re comedies.  You believe Costner as a pitcher on his last legs, trying to give it his all in one last game.  And, because it feels real, you honestly don’t know if he’ll succeed in his perfect game attempt or if it will get spoiled in the late innings.  It also goes through all nine innings, intermixing the game and his life.  Great movie and my number 1 pick.

"After 19 years in the big leagues, 40 year old Billy Chapel has trudged to the mound for over 4000 innings. But tonight, he’s pitching against time, he’s pitching against the future, against age, against ending. Tonight, he will make the fateful walk to the loneliest spot in the world, the pitching mound at Yankee Stadium, to push the sun back into the sky and give us one more day of summer."

Worst baseball movie?  Fever Pitch.  I’m sure you don’t have to ask why.

Other movies you might want to consider for your own list, in no particular order: Bull Durham, The Natural, 8 Men Out, Little Big League, Rookie of the Year, Pride of the Yankees, Bad News Bears (original or remake), Major League 1, 2 or 3, Angels in the Outfield, The Sandlot, Bang the Drum Slowly (original or remake), The Rookie, The Scout

I don’t expect anyone to give a thorough account of their favorites.  I would just like to see everyone’s top 5 list, so I hope you will participate.  It will be better if you can leave your picks in the comments, so everyone can see.  But, if you really don’t want to set up an account, you can email them to me.

Love watching baseball movies,

Tiffany

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17 comments

  1. mlblogosphere@yahoo.com

    Fun post, thanks. It’s totally subjective and everyone has their own, but to me your first pick wasn’t even among Kevin Costner’s three best sports movies. In order, his best are:

    1. Field of Dreams

    2. Bull Durham

    3. Tin Cup

    And No. 1 on that list is No. 1 on my baseball movie list. No better scene in movie history than Costner’s character playing pitch and catch with his Dad, the ultimate Dude Tearjerker (speaking as a dude who used to play catch with his late Dad).

    I also have watched Jimmy Stewart in the Monte Stratton Story many, many times.

    Thought For Love of the Game was pretty bad and have been around clubhouses for two decades…but love it if ya wanna!

    Mark/MLB.com

    http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

  2. mlblogosphere@yahoo.com

    Here’s my full Top 5, just noticed you asked for that:

    1. Field of Dreams

    2. The Natural

    3. A League of Their Own (Penny Marshall filmed it where I played my high school games — Bosse Field in Evansville, IN)

    4. Bull Durham

    5. The Rookie

  3. Bruce

    Well, here ya go; my top 5 baseball movies…
    1.Bang the Drum Slowly(with DeNiro)

    2.Field of Dreams

    3. *61; I thought Barry Pepper was a great Maris(I’m old enough to remember that season)

    4. Bull Durham; some of the then Lynchburg Red Sox(my hometown) had small roles in the movie(at the time, Durham was in the Carolina League)

    5. Major League; I had family that lived in Cleveland for several years, and I used to hear them whining about how bad the Indians were.

  4. Erik

    I guess I’m not as sour over the Red Sox beating us, as I really liked Fever Pitch. I totally agree with you on For the Love of the Game, I loved that movie. And I really need to see Bang the Drum Slowly…

    Speaking of baseball movies, I was just an extra on a movie yesterday called The Final Season, starring Sean Astin. I’ll have to post on my experience at my blog soon. I wasn’t doing any real acting, just standing in the crowd.

    http://reverendredbird.mlblogs.com/

  5. Tiffany

    Mark,
    Thanks for your responses. It definitely is a subjective thing. Out of curiousity, what did you not like about “For Love of the Game?” I’ve heard some people say that they thought it was a little sappy and overdone.

    Bruce,

    Barry Pepper was phenomenal. He is an actor I like very much. He was also good in “Saving Private Ryan.”

    Erik,

    Don’t tell any Red Sox fans, but I actually enjoyed the movie….at least until the end. They don’t even really deal with the Cardinals until the last 5 minutes. Those last 5 minutes were excruciating, though, because I remember exactly where I was when I realized the Cardinals had just been swept. So, what are your total top 5 picks?

    Tiffany

  6. mlblogosphere@yahoo.com

    You covered my main reasoning for it. But I think that more than anything, it just came on the heels of so many better Kostner sports movies. So I watched it the first time and felt like it was a letdown. The clubhouse authenticity wasn’t substantially better than some other examples. But mainly, it just wasn’t in my top 20. One measure, I think, is the number of famous lines that you can easily Google from any great baseball movie. I can’t remember one from For Love of the Game.

    I am sitting here with “Major League” on the TV next to me and I have to admit it is pretty hard not to edge that into that list I gave before. But it just shows how many great baseball movies there have been. I don’t think there’s a specific criteria; it’s whichever movies you could just watch over and over and over again the rest of your life. I remember when “Field of Dreams” came out in ’89; I was just about to start as a beat writer for the San Jose Mercury News covering the Giants, and I remember what a “happening” the movie was throughout clubhouses around MLB.

  7. Tiffany

    Mark,
    Very cool to hear your perspective regarding Field of Dreams and it’s impact in the clubhouses. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t watch the movie for the first time until I was in high school, almost a decade after the movie first came out.

    Jennifer,

    Appreciate your input! Thanks!

    Tiffany

  8. emanbos@yahoo.com

    Don’t you know that “Fever Pitch” is about footy, er, soccer? It’s Nick Hornby’s memoirs about how his life revolves around Arsenal Football Club.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1573226882/104-7721795-6434326?v=glance&n=283155

    Sorry, I don’t know how to link it.

    So, Mark, you’re from E-ville, eh? I will have you know that while I may be a Bostonian, I am a Purdue alum, and am acquainted with many an E-ville resident. Of course, I also know some IU people, and while they are still good people, I give them stick all the time. πŸ˜€

    -Eric

  9. Tiffany

    Eric and Mark,

    You both should know that it’s actually all about the Illini, just across the border. πŸ™‚

    And, Eric….where are your top 5 movies? Let’s hear ’em!

    Tiffany

  10. John

    This was bound to be a very subjective topic but where are Cobb, The Babe and Eight Men Out?

    If the criterion for selection is the number of times I return to them, my top five have to be:

    1. The Natural

    2. For Love Of The Game

    3. Bull Durham

    4. Field Of Dreams

    5. *61

    with Cobb and The Babe on the bench πŸ™‚

    John

    RSN UK

    http://siggy99.mlblogs.com

  11. Tiffany

    John,
    Thanks for your responses! I’ve actually not seen ‘Eight Men Out,’ but I’ve heard such good things about it that if I do see it, there might be a chance it would sneak into my personal top 5.

    Tiffany

  12. mschumacher@hotmail.com

    Here are my top 5
    1. The Natural

    2. Field of Dreams

    3. Bull Durham

    4. Eight Men Out

    5. The Sandlot

    Numbers 1 and 2 are interchangeable, but easily the best two baseball movies ever

  13. mschumacher@hotmail.com

    Just want to post that every year I hope for the same matchup in the world series, the same matchup as the first world series I ever watched…Twins vs. Cardinals. Are there two more storied and loveable teams? But, we all know the Twins would win in seven games=)

  14. Tiffany

    MSchumacher,
    Thanks for your votes! Ironically enough, I also would love to see a Twins-Cardinals World Series. The reason being that I lived in Mnpls for 4 1/2 years and rooted for the Twins as my “second favorite team,” but mostly because I lived close to the dome and figured I had a chance to get better seats there to see the Cardinals than at Busch.

    One correction though. I think you meant to say that the CARDINALS would win it in 7. πŸ™‚

    Tiffany

  15. Matt

    The Natural
    It Happens Every Spring

    Bull Durham

    Field of Dreams

    When It Was A Game

    The Natural seamlessly weaves the magic and mythology of baseball into it’s central story.

    The best of Field of Dreams is wonderful, but it’s also a busy, disjointed Hollywood narrative. How did the Amy Madigan PTA school scene make the final cut? Ugh!

    It Happens Every Spring(1949) is a comedy about a chemist(Ray Milland) who invents a wood repellant and thereby becomes an unhittable MLB pitcher. Milland is excellent.

    Bull Durham – well written dialogue; Sarandon’s performance cements this in my top 5.

    When It Was A Game – is a documentary with lots of rare old footage.

    http://azdiamondhacks.mlblogs.com/

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