The five…best baseball movies

CATEGORY – THE FIVE

It’s baseball season! Come in, enjoy..the five best baseball movies of all time. Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd…

5. “Pride of the Yankees”

It may be the Yankees (ugh) but it’s a damn good movie. A classic, touching tale, powered by Gary Cooper’s affecting performance as Lou Gehrig, the famous “Iron Horse” first baseman for the Bronx Bombers who was felled by ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”). If you don’t cry during the recreation of “Today…I consider myself…”, you may not be human.

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4. “Bull Durham”

A fine, funny picture, Bull Durham captures the comical side of baseball better than any other baseball film ever. It’s a light-hearted love triangle between beautiful Durham Bull groupie Annie (Susan Sarandon) aging veteran catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) and fireballing rookie pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins). It never takes itself too seriously, and captures the mundane and funny minutiae of minor-league baseball perfectly. One problem: Robbins, while funny as LaLoosh, is no pitcher–his delivery brings to mind a chicken having a seizure.

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3. “Major League”

The funniest baseball movie ever, focusing on the tribulations of the lowly Cleveland Indians (back when they were the Clippers of MLB) as they come together to win a pennant. Standing out? Flamethrower and Buddy Holly-glasses-wearer Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn (Charlie Sheen), future President Palmer Dennis Haysbert as voodoo-loving, “no-hit-curveball” slugger Pedro Cerrano and hysterical broadcaster Bob Uecker (juuuuuusttt a bit outside…).

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2. “Field of Dreams”

*Sniff* Again, if you don’t tear up watching this incredible 1989 film, you’re probably not human. Kevin Costner plays a mild Iowa farmer, Ray Kinsella, who follows a mysterious voice out in his cornfields that tells him to plow over his crop to make room for a baseball diamond. The construction of the diamond brings out, amongst others, the ghost of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson (Ray Liotta) and prompts a road trip involving a famous writer (James Earl Jones) an aging doctor (Burt Lancaster) and a reconnection to Ray’s long-lost father. A great, touching film.

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1. “The Natural”

Da-dah, da-da-da-duh. Da-Da, DA-DA-DA-DUH. Go ahead, stand on a baseball diamond and try not to picture yourself slamming a ball off the light tower as that amazing score plays.

This truly is the best baseball film of all time, a rousing and deeply moving adaptation of Bernard Malmud’s novel. A pitching phenom, Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford), shot by an insane stalker as he heads for baseball stardom, comes back years later to the struggling New York Knights as a powerful slugger–caught in the struggle between the malicious Knights owner (Robert Prosky) and gruff manager Pops (future Oatmeal / diabetes pitchman Wilford Brimley). There’s even a lyrical tug-of-war for Hobbs’  heart–between socialite Memo (Kim Basinger) and childhood love Iris (Glenn Close).

There’s a lot going on here, and it’s a deep, smart story–with an amazing, stand-up-and-cheer climax (much more uplifting than the book’s ending). The best baseball, and one of the best sports movies, ever.

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One Response to The five…best baseball movies

  1. Shumanitutankaowachi says:

    I agree with the choices, but I can’t help feeling “For Love of The Game” should have been in there somewhere too. A really beautiful movie all the way around.
    Thanks

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