Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It’s baseball season! You can’t practically smell the dogs and sausages smoking up the grills on Landsdowne St. And, although it may not be the wildly popular sport it once was, there is something so beautifully romantic about baseball. This is exactly why there have been so many baseball movies made. Baseball is personal, it’s intimate and it’s in the heart of America’s history.  By the late 19th century, baseball was “widely recognized as the national sport” of the U.S.A. From the opening of Fenway Park in 1912 to the 89 year wait for a World Series in 2004. Baseball was there for us in 2013, when the Red Sox “Boston Strong” World Series win gave us some light, following the darkness of the Marathon bombings.

James Earl Jones’ Field of Dreams character Terrance Mann expressed the romantism of the sport perfectly and so eloquently: “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.”

Baseball has our heart, which is why so many movies have been made on the subject. What are the best baseball movies? There are so many from popular kids flicks like The Sandlot, to darker takes on the realism of the sport, as delivered in Eight Men Out. There’s the fantasy movies as portrayed in Field of Dreams, to the ridiculously humorous take, as in Major League.

MLB ranked the 25 best baseball movies last year, I’m sharing some of my favorites here, in no particular order.

  • 1. Bull Durham

    I have always loved this movie. It has everything I love in a film; great characters, romance, a good soundtrack, and baseball. Oh, yeah, and Kevin Costner. But it was Susan Sarandon’s performance that was a standout.

  • 2. A League of Their Own

    MLB’s #2 and one of my all time favorites too. This 1992 fictional movie not only entertained, but enlightened the world on the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, Lori Petty and Jon Lovitz help to deliver this important story, in a believable and comedic way.

     

     

  • 3. Field Of Dreams

    I know there’s no crying in baseball, but that is an impossible task for me when watching this 1989 masterpiece. So many great lines from this one, like “have a catch,” “If you build it, he will come,” “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa,” and “go the distance.”

  • 4. Moneyball

    This 2011 film was nominated for 6 Academy Awards and was based on the nonfictionbook, Moneyball. It failed to take home Oscars but was a critical and commercial success. It told the story of the 2022 Oakland A’s and their manager’s attempt to put together a winning team. Brad Pitt superbly played manager, Billy Bean, but it was Jonah Hill who shined as assistant GM, Peter Brand, insisting on using a sabermetic approach when analyzing players.

     

  • 5. The Natural

    Barry Levinson’s 1984, The Natural, was based on the book, but altered in order to make a hero out of Roy Hobbs, played by Robert Redford. I mean, it’s baseball…it’s romance.

     

     

  • 6. Major League

    Baseball can create some tense moments, we all need a little comic relief. This is the movie. Charlie Sheen leads the cast, and the ridiculousness, in the 1989  favorite. This movie was made for only $11 million and went on to rack up over $75 million. We won’t talk about the subsequent sequels.

  • 7. Eight Men Out

    I remember watching this one with my dad and being shocked that there was so much more to baseball than on the field. There was a checkered past and a story that had to be told. The story of the 1919 Chicago “Black Sox” covered what is consider one of the worst scandals in baseball history. The movie starred John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, Christopher Lloyd and many more cleverly casted actors. 

  • 8.The Sandlot

    You may not have thought much about this 1993 kids movie when it first came out, but watching it now likely brings back warm fuzzy feelings. It’s the story of Scotty Smalls, the new kid in town who wants to play baseball. Luckily he meets Rodriguez who is the resident baseball expert, and takes Smalls under his wing. You’ve heard the line and see the t-shirts… “You’re killin’ me Smalls.” Yup, it’s from this kids classic. 

  • 9. 42

    In 2013, the late Chadwick Boseman gave us a perfectly played performance as baseball legend Jackie Robinson. Another powerful performance was Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey Rickey who was instrumental in breaking MLB’s color barrier, by signing Robinson. Watch 42. Have your kids watch 42. 

  • 10. The Rookie

    Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? And when it’s based on a true story, it’s even sweeter. This the true story of a high school science teacher, Jim Morris, who makes it to the big leagues at 35 years old. Dennis Quaid’s portrayal gives you all the feels in the 2002 classic. It’s so motivational.

     

  • 11. Angels In The Outfiled

    I almost forgot about the 1994 Disney delight. A 12 year old Joseph Gordon Levitt starred in this feel good flick alongside an impressive cast.  I  mean look at this starting lineup: Danny Glover, Christopher Lloyd, Matthew McConauhey, Adrien Brody, Neal McDonough and Tony Danza.

  • 12. Fever Pitch

    Not going to lie, this is a personal favorite. Maybe it’s because there was a time I could relate a little to much to Jimmy Fallon’s Red Sox obsessed character, Ben. But the fact that they had to change the original ending of the movie, because the Red Sox pulled off a real life miracle and won the World Series after an 86 year drought, made it this 2005 gem much sweeter.

  • 13. Bad News Bears

    Whether you prefer the original 1976 The Bad New Bears with Walter Matthau or the 2005 remake (slightly different title) Bad New Bears, starring Billy Bob Thorton, it’s a film that should be included in this best of list. Rough around the edges, this movie touched on important subjects in a comical manner. Watching the original is a little shocking, in today’s world, but it’s so well done, and acted. The remake held it’s own, but I definitley prefer the politically incorrect original.

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