Category: Baseball movies

Ten Great Baseball Movies

What makes my list? An appreciation for baseball’s persuasive and pervasive metaphors for life under the sun, a certain sentimentality and wit that recalls innocence and honor, and, plain and simple, a good movie-movie that celebrates family life and dad-son relationships without being too melodramatic.

1. Frequency

Dad and son, time travel, Mets 69 miracle World Series, Jim Caviezel, Dennis Quaid. How baseball permeates the soul and saves everyone.

2. The Pride of the Yankees

Gary Cooper at his self-effacing best as the original “Iron Man”: Lou Gehrig.

3. Bang the Drum Slowly

Robert DeNiro as a heroic catcher who doesn’t know he is dying, a great movie about everything including baseball.

4. The Natural

Has to be here, if only for the comeback moment

5. It Happens Every Spring

Ray Milland is a college professor who invents a tonic that when applied to wood deflects baseballs.

6. Eight Men Out

Captures an era while offhandedly dramatizing the power of baseball as metaphor for so many things

7. Field of Dreams

The subplots in the book and movie leave me cold, but getting to play catch with your dad one more time–that’s the most poignant moment.

8. Angels in the Outfield

The 1951 version only–supernatural help for the Pirates and the great Paul Douglas

9. The Rookie

Texas, dad and son, recovery of lost aspirations: Dennis Quaid (again)

10. The Sandlot

Missed this first time around. Thanks Mary!

Runners-up (good movies but baseball tends to be the backdrop to tell another story rather than the central thematic core): Damn Yankees, A League of Their Own, Fear Strikes Out, The Stratton Story, American Pastime, Sugar.

Missing anything? No, if you’re looking in my list for Bull Durham–I dislike the movie, because it abuses baseball to give a star turn to Susan Sarandon’s lust; her “church of baseball speech” undermines the very thing it was ostensibly written to elevate: true love for baseball. And you won’t find these friviolities, entertaining though they may be: For the Love of the Game, Bad News Bears, Mr. Baseball, Mr. 3000, Major League, Fever Pitch.