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Top 10 Best Baseball Movies

Updated on April 28, 2015

Baseball has had more books written about it and more stories committed to film than any other sport. Many are iconic. Many are just plain horrible. Below are the ten greatest baseball films ever made. These are the films that every baseball fan should see and share with the next generation. The top ten baseball films of all time may spark arguments, but all of these great baseball movies make a fan remember why the game is so beloved.  How many of the greatest baseball films have you seen?

10 - Cobb (1994)

A bit under the average fan's radar, this movie based on the book by Cobb biographer Al Stump really gets into the heart of a legend. Always angry and controversial, Cobb left everything he had on the field. Tommy Lee Jones is great as the Georgia Peach in a movie that should be on more fans' lists.

Classic line: Cobb - "Baseball is a red blooded sport for red blooded men. It's no pink tea, and molly-coddles had better stay out... It's a struggle for supremacy, a survival of the fittest."

9 - Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)

Based on the Mark Harris novel of the same name, this movie showcases the early acting talents of Robert DeNiro and Michael Moriarty. Playing for a fictional New York team based loosely on the Yankees, the successful season is punctuated by the catcher's battle with Hodgkin's disease. A real tear-jerker, but will still leave the viewer inspired by the bonds of friendship between two teammates.

Classic line: Pearson - "Everybody'd be nice to you if they knew you were dying."

Wiggens - "Everybody knows everybody is dying; that's why people are as good as they are.

8 - Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Many modern fans may find this move a bit overly sentimental, but remember the era it was made. Gary Cooper does a great job as the Iron Horse Lou Gehrig. From stardom to his battle with the dreaded disease that would forever bear his name, it is hard not to be moved by this story. The final speech at Yankee Stadium can still bring a lump to the throat of even the most diehard Yankee hater.

Classic line: Gehrig - "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth."

7 - The Sandlot (1993)

Wonderful coming-of-age tale set in the early 1960s. A new boy (Scotty Smalls) in the neighborhood is befriended by the local sandlot team. Together this ragged bunch of characters square off against a rival ball club, bathing beauties, and a baseball eating creature known as the Beast! As much about friendship as baseball, it demonstrates the value of teamwork and the strong bonds of childhood friends.

Classic line: Ham - "You're killin' me, Smalls!"

6 - The Bad News Bears (1976)

An unflinching look at a dysfunctional Little League team lead by a washed up drunk-of-a-manager played to perfection by Walter Matthau.  With a supporting cast of Tatum O'Neal and a Jackie Earle Haley, the group learns how to play as a team.  Full of cussing and some racial slurs, it nevertheless remains a wonderful snapshot of 70s films.  The irrepressible Tanner Boyle and the Chico's Bail Bonds uniforms make it all worthwhile! Not to be confused with the highly inferior remake of 2005.

Classic line: Boyle - "Those Yankees are real turds."

5 - Field of Dreams (1989)

This mystical tale from author W.P. Kinsella still enjoys a strong following on video.  An Iowa cornfield becomes home to a most unusual baseball diamond where past wrongs can be righted and unexpected people have a second chance at redemption.  Beside the Black Sox team, the movie introduced the world to Moonlight Graham.  Starring Kevin Costner as the everyman, the film packs an emotional wallop as well as some great baseball.

Classic line:  The Voice - "If you build it, he will come."

4 - Bull Durham (1988)

Based on the real life exploits of minor leaguer Ron Shelton, this movie was passed on by every study but Orion. Filmed for a paltry $9 million, the tale of Crash Davis grossed over $50 million.  An all-star cast including Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, Robert Wuhl, and Susan Sarandon meant great acting from start to finish.  It was once ranked by Sports Illustrated as "Greatest Sports Movie".

Classic line: Davis - "Man that ball got outta here in a hurry. I mean anything travels that far oughta have a damn stewardess on it, don't you think?"

3 - The Natural (1984)

Bernard Malamud's 1952 novel was loosely based on the real shooting of Phillie's Eddie Waitkus.  The film version delivers a far happier ending than the novel, but with plenty of drama along the way.  Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs perfectly.  The Knights team and Hobbs' bat Wonderboy are now both part of baseball lore.  The iconic homerun scene with sparks shooting out of the stadium lights have prompted dozens of tributes and parodies and has remained one of the most powerful baseball scenes ever filmed.

Classic line: Fisher - "People don't start playing ball at your age, they retire"

2 - 61* (2001)

This instant classic movie blends the storylines of the tumultuous 1961 season which would see Roger Maris break the immortal Babe Ruth's single season homerun record with the then contemporary race between McGwire and Sosa for homerun dominance. Whether you are a Yankee fan or not, the inspired casting of Barry Pepper and Thomas Jane as the slugging M&M Boys - Maris & Mantle - bring the baseball card icons to life. Their performance will leave you with a new-found respect for the personal demons each man was facing during this historic year. Visually stunning with great interior shots of a "recreated" 60s Yankee Stadium. A must see for any baseball fan.

Classic line: Mantle - "That's just great. One guy's got me all washed up, the other's got me beatin' Ruth's record. You guys should get together an' make up your minds, tell me how I am so I know how to play. "

1 - Eight Men Out (1988)

Fantastic scenery, great cast and a compelling true story that shocked the baseball world. Eight Men Out is based on the book by Eliot Asinof about the1919 World Series fix which would see the heavily favored White Sox take a dive to the National League Champion Cincinnati Redlegs. The scandal would forever tarnish the men cast out by newly appointed Baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis though none were actually found guilty. Banned for life, sure fire Hall of Famer Joe Jackson, talented Buck Weaver, ace pitcher Ed Cicotte and the rest struggle to find their way in a life away from the only one they have ever known. The Black Sox live on in the minds of fans, historians, and baseball card collectors. John Sayles delivers a powerful screenplay and Jon Cusack is superb as Buck Weaver pleading his innocence against a sea of persecution.

Classic line: Weaver - "You get out there, and the stands are full and everybody's cheerin'. It's like everybody in the world come to see you. And inside of that there's the players, they're yakkin' it up. The pitcher throws and you look for that pill... suddenly there's nothing else in the ballpark but you and it. Sometimes, when you feel right, there's a groove there, and the bat just eases into it and meets that ball. When the bat meets that ball and you feel that ball just give, you know it's going to go a long way. Damn, if you don't feel like you're going to live forever. "

Honorable Mentions

A League of Their Own - Tom Hanks and a group of lady ballplayers strut their stuff onscreen.

Major League - Wonderfully trashy with a great mix of characters.

The Stratton Story - Melodrama with Jimmy Stewart as Monte Stratton a promising young pitcher whose career was cut short by a tragic accident.

Your Favorite?

What is the greatest baseball movie of all time?

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    • sound_foundation profile image

      sound_foundation 7 years ago

      @seakay - I am a diehard Yankee fan, too. Don Mattingly was my favorite player growing up. I did manage to make a pilgrimage to the House that Ruth Built in the final season. What a great cathedral of baseball it was!! I think 8 Men Out and 61* are still my favs.

    • Seakay profile image

      Seakay 7 years ago from Florida

      Well constructed list. Liked "Field of Dreams". I'm a die hard Yankee fan. (Dont' tell the Rays.... I live 10 miles from the staduim. Rays come in second with me... sorry Rays!)