Baseball has been the subject of many movies in Hollywood. Several, have starred Oscar Award winner Kevin Costner. Sure, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams are equally two of the best baseball movies of all time, but what about the others? Do they deserve a nod? Here are a few that are worthy of a popcorn sit down.
5. Bad News Bears (1976)
Take a group of mix matched little leaguers and a drunkard played by the impeccable Walter Matthau and you have a film that dances with the hopes of victory and the ever echoing baseball chant, “Wait till next year”!
4. Brewster’s Millions (1985)
I know this movie is not about baseball but about a minor league pitcher named Monty Brewster (Richard Pryor) who in order to inherit $300 million, must spend $30 million. However, how can you dismiss Monty’s purchase of a three inning exhibition pitting his team, the Hackensack Bulls, against the formidable New York Yankees? This film may not scream baseball but like co-star John Candy, it deserves an honorable mention.
3. Major League (1989)
Follow bad boy Charlie Sheen and Wesley Snipes in the down and out portrayal of the Cleveland Indians’ in their battle against a conniving vixen of an owner, the race for the Pennant and the monumental question of whether or not Jesus can hit a curve ball.
2. Eight Men Out (1988)
The only film on my list based on real-life events, Eight Men Out dramatizes the 1919 World Series and the Chicago White Sox. Eight players including Lefty Williams, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver are discovered to have deliberately schemed to throw the World Series. A stain forever ingrained in baseball history, this film is an ardent reminder of the ever present and perpetual battle between baseball and gambling.
1. The Natural (1984)
Any movie where a guy makes a homemade bat from a lightning stricken tree gets my vote as a top-notch movie. This flick is by no means a Home Depot demo project but focuses on an unfulfilled promising baseball career. Please be advised that a film of this caliber has been known to make grown men shed a tear or two. Kleenex aside, The Natural depicts Robert Redford as a naïve ballplayer seduced by money and women and in turn leaves the game for many years. At 35 years of age and a looming life threatening injury, Redford’s Roy Hobbs perseveres against the corruption and says goodbye to the game he loves with a game winning home run.