Being a huge baseball fan, I’m also a huge fan of baseball movies. Here are some great flicks. Angels in the Outfield, The Rookie, The Sandlot, A League of Their Own, Eight Men Out, Pride of the Yankees (I hate the Yankees, so this is saying something. Gehrig was just that awesome). Those don’t even crack my top five.
5. The Natural
Starring Robert Redford, The Natural is considered a classic by many. Redford plays Roy Hobbs, a player with a hazy past who, when he starts playing for the New York Knights, becomes an immediate star. Mystery surrounds him and his bat Wonder Boy, which he made himself from a tree that was struck by lightning. People try to uncover the truth behind Hobbs while waiting for him to finally fail. The end is classic, as Hobbs beats the odds after his lucky bat breaks and still manages to hit a game winning bomb that shatters the lights. Maybe that’s a little too cliché, but who the hell doesn't want to see a massive tater knock out power to the entire stadium?
4. Major League
Absolutely hilarious. Period. An ex-exotic dancer takes over as the owner of the Indians, and if they do badly enough she can move them to Florida (which is clearly warmer and a better location than Cleveland, OH). She tries to make the Indians into the worst team possible by holding open tryouts and inviting baseball misfits. Most of the players have problems of some sort. Their third basemen cares more about money than playing, their catcher probably should be retired, their center fielder can’t hit (but he can run), and the pitcher with the best arm on the team has anger issues and can’t really see until the manager realizes that he needs glasses. They eventually start to play well with the goal of making their owners plan blow up in her face and that leads them to a great season. Definitely check out the Wild Thing theme song, it gives a hint of how bizarre (and AWESOME) the movie can get.
The Top Three: The Costner Classics
3. Field of Dreams
If you don’t like this movie you can’t be considered a real baseball fan. The classic line “If you build it, he will come,” leads to baseball players (specifically the 1919 Black Sox) materializing out of a cornfield and Costner’s character driving across the country in order to “kidnap” a famous writer from the 1960s and to find a doctor who didn’t quite get his chance in the Big Leagues. Every time you watch Field of Dreams, there is the possibility that you’ll catch something new that you didn’t notice before. Total classic. If you don’t like it, you should keep your opinion to yourself.
2. For Love of the Game
This isn’t as well known as many other baseball movies, but for avid baseball fans, Costner strikes more gold. He plays Billy Chapel, an aging pitcher for the Tigers who gets one last chance to pitch at Yankee Stadium. He has to decide whether he wants to retire, as he finds out before the game that the current owner is selling the team and the new owners would trade him from the team for which he has played his whole career. His on-again, off-again girlfriend is leaving for London, and throughout the movie, which spans the length of that last game, he reminisces about his life and the choices he’s made. Great movie about life and the dedication to baseball. oh and I almost forgot, the last game is a perfect game. Not bad. In the words of the announcer at the end of the game… “this cathedral belongs to a chapel.” Definitely check it out.
1. Bull Durham
Last but not least, the best Costner Classic of all, Bull Durham. Costner, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon make this movie easily the best baseball movie of all time. Costner plays Crash Davis, a minor league veteran who is picked up by the Durham Bulls in order to teach Tim Robbin’s character “Nuke” LaLoosh the ropes of pro ball. Saradon plays the woman interest for both men, and makes life for both of them much more complicated. This is another absolutely hilarious baseball comedy and one that I can watch over and over again and still find enjoyable.
So there you have it. Let’s just say that Kevin Costner is hands down the king of baseball movies. Tip of the cap to you, Kev.