1.Field of Dreams (1989): Phil Alden Robinson’s
epic film all comes down to the quintessential baseball moment: a
father and son playing catch. It’s the memory where love for
the great American pastime starts for most fans and — in this
case — where Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) finds
closure with his father.
2. The Pride of the Yankees (1942): Even the most diehard
of Yankee haters has a soft spot for the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig.
Based on the life of the Yankees’ Hall of Fame first baseman,
“The Pride of the Yankees” traces Gehrig’s life
from his youth to the moment his life was cut tragically short at
age 37. “Pride of the Yankees” pays tribute to one of
America’s greatest sports legends.
3. Major League (1989): Despite an essentially G-rated,
Disney-ized remake of a sequel and a trilogy-ending demotion to the
minors, “Major League” has kept its reputation in tact.
David S. Ward’s crystal ball look into the meteoric rise of
the Cleveland Indians baseball franchise into Detroit Tigers
killers, this film is the best sports comedy of the last 20
4. Eight Men Out (1988): John Sayles made his winding
ensemble style more mainstream with his fast-talking attempt at a
Baseball History 101: the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal. Always
looking for a piece of Americana to put under his small-town
microscope, Sayles here looks at 1920s America with Chicago’s
baseball world as the subject.
5. Bull Durham (1988): Starring Kevin Costner as veteran
minor league catcher Crash Davis, Tim Robbins as up-and-coming
pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh and Susan Sarandon as baseball
groupie Annie Savoy — the three parts of an amusing love
triangle — “Bull Durham” captures the battle over
the heart and mind of young Nuke with intelligence and humor.
6. The Sandlot (1993): With a cast of characters
featuring the likes of Hamilton “Ham” Porter, Michael
“Squints” Palledorous and Alan “Yeah-Yeah”
McClennan, “The Sandlot” encapsulates the game in its
simplest state: played by neighborhood friends on a dirt lot behind
a junkyard. This classic will live on as the best kid’s
baseball movie … for-ev-ver. For-ev-ver.
7. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973): A young Robert DeNiro
plays Bruce Pearson, a dim-witted catcher, as he deals with a
terminal illness with the help of the team’s ace pitcher,
Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty). As Henry and the rest of the team
try to help Bruce through his last season, it’s impossible
not to shed at least one tear.
8. The Natural (1984): The non-baseball scenes may not
play as well today as they did originally, but Barry Levinson
flipped Bernard Malamud’s book about lost dreams into an epic
about sports mythmaking. When the lights go out and the sparks fly
on Roy Hobbs’s Knights, you wish it was your hometown team in
the World Series.
9. 61* (2001): Behind the camera, Billy Crystal’s
work of passion funnels all his childhood Yankee Stadium memories
into a behind-the-scenes look at the 1961 Mickey Mantle-Roger Maris
rivalry that never was. The way-too-digitally altered baseball
scenes often flop (despite being played at Tiger Stadium).
Impeccable casting and a detail-rich script make the off-the-field
action work — no asterisk needed there.
10. The Bad News Bears (1976): Essentially the
anti-“Sandlot,” “The Bad News Bears”
follows a team of lovable losers and their crude, beer-swilling
coach Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau). Before long, Buttermaker
has all his kids drinking and swearing in the dugout, all the while
turning them into a decent group of ballplayers.