In honor of Spring Training starting next week, I would like to highlight my top 9 baseball movies. Why 9? That’s baseball, right MLB network. With the vast array of great baseball movies out there, it was difficult to pick 9, but here goes.
9) 42– I loved this movie based on the history of it. It had great acting and multiple times throughout the movie I wanted to leap on screen and pummel the players for their racist remarks. Jackie Robinson set the bar. Chadwick Boseman played the character brilliantly. The amount of angst and repression Robinson had to endure would’ve have been difficult for any human to bear. Amazing movie.
8) 61*- Sticking with the numbered title here. The story of the 1961 Yankees with Mantle and Maris was inspiring. Billy Crystal’s take of the movie was fantastic. He drew you in with the beloved Mantle character and then set the bar high with the tortured soul of Maris. A true baseball movie.
7) The Natural- I know what you’re saying, The Natural at 7? That’s right folks, 7. For me The Natural lacked action and overall appeal. Of course it was very well acted and a cool story, speaking of stories, the novel is VERY different. If you’ve never read it, I recommend you do. It still deserves to be in the top 9, which is why I’ve included it, but it just wasn’t my favorite.
6) The Sandlot- Where many children’s baseball movies fail, this one picks up the slack. Scotty Smalls is a character that most kids can relate to. It provides you with the nostalgia of being a kid again. The pranks, the pool, the chew, the language, it’s all amazing.
5) Bull Durham- What can I say about Bull Durham? I really do enjoy the baseball parts of this movie. Of course it is a bit grotesque at times, but that’s what makes this movie one of a kind. And who could forget Kevin Costner’s one armed swing in the batting cage. It is great to see a movie that is not only well acted, but well played. There’s nothing worse than a sports movie with an actor with no athletic ability.
4) Field of Dreams- “If you build it, he will come.” What a classic line. Say it to any movie buff and I guarantee they will know where it comes from. Who doesn’t love a character driven movie with an underlying meaning? Playing catch with one’s father, especially after their death, oh, could it get any better? Bust out the Kleenex box people.
3) Moneyball- I know this movie may not be 100% accurate, but I loved it nonetheless. It was a great look into the front office of baseball, something that I have had a growing interest in since I retired from coaching. Aside from the baseball part of it, I am a sucker for any Aaron Sorkin film. His stamp was all over this movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
2) A League of Their Own- “What a team, what a league.” This movie is in my top 2 based off one thing, Tom Hanks. He’s one of my favorite actors of all time. Jimmy Dugan is one of his best characters ever, period. What this movie may lack in overall quality of play, it’s made up with his witty banter.
1) Major League- This movie holds a special place in my heart. In college while I was playing I would watch it the day before our spring trip every year. I kid you not, I can recite the lines word for word until about the 5th minute of the movie. And who doesn’t love Willie Mays Hays scoring from second on a bunt, that would happen, right?
Of course this list of movies are all my opinion. Debate your favorites with me, there are bound to be ones I’ve left out.