Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Now, I must first admit that this list only includes movies that I have actually seen. I have not seen the new movie 42 yet, but I am eager to do so soon. You will notice that Major League-Back to the Minors is not on this list. The reason that it didn’t make the cut is simple, it is one of the worst baseball movie ever made (yes, even worse than Mr. 3000). The remake of The Bad News Bears is also left off this list for the same reason. So here it is ladies and gentlemen, the second half of the Our Sports Report Top 20 Baseball Movies:
10) The Bad News Bears – Every little league coach has players that remind them of kids from this movie. That’s what makes this movie so great, it’s relatable. If only my Cubbies played with as much heart as the boys from the Chico’s Bail Bonds squad, they’d have broken the curse of the billy goat years ago! Grade: A+
9) 61* - This is a great film about the home run race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Before watching this picture, I had no idea as to how much crap that Maris went through on the road to breaking the Babe’s record. This film is definitely an eye opener. I recommend that everyone watch it at least once. Bonus Trivia: the baseball scenes were filmed in Tiger Stadium. Grade: A+
8) A League of Their Own – Based on true events that happened during World War II, this movie shows an important time during our nation’s history. It also contains the second best umpire ripping in baseball movie history. I’d quote it, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. Grade: A
7) Major League – One of the ultimate stories of sticking it to the man (in this case the man happens to be a woman…but she is still very much the man) that I’ve seen in recent history. This movie shows you exactly what you need on a team to win: crafty veterans who are desperate to make that last chance count, young rookies who don’t know any better, some powerful motivation, and one whole chicken from KFC. I know I’ve been hard on other baseball movies that weren’t shot on location and even though the majority of game footage was shot at County Stadium in Milwaukee, I’m willing to give this one a pass because Municipal Stadium at least makes a few cameo appearances in the film. Grade: A
6) Cobb – Ty Cobb has always had this reputation of being the biggest jerk in sports history and this film leaves no doubt as to why he has gained that reputation. He was in fact a big old jerk, but that guy played harder than anyone ever has. The other thing that made Cobb great was that he was cocky…but he backed it up on the field. This film takes you through the story of Ty Cobb through an interview by a sports writer. You learn all kinds of details about the man, my favorite of which is that he hated Babe Ruth because he was fat and only hit home runs. Incredibly, this movie shows you all there is that you should hate about Ty Cobb, but still somehow leaves you in awe of the man when the credits start rolling. Grade: A+
5) Moneyball – To beat the other guys, sometimes you just have to go at it from another angle. The message of this movie is pretty clear, stick to your guns and trust your instincts. People may think you’re crazy, but you may very well change the way an entire industry does business. Every team uses Billy Beane’s methods to evaluate players now. But this movie shows you how it all started…with a nerd that worked for the Cleveland Indians. Grade: A-
4) For Love of the Game – This movie nears the top of my list because it is so versatile. The wife wants to watch a chick flick but you want to watch a sports movie? Pull this baby off the shelf. Honestly, as a man who has willingly watched many chick flicks, I can say that this one is among the best of them. The moral of this story is simple; if we chase too hard after what we love, we end up hurting those we love, even though we might excel at that thing we chased. Is the chase worth it? I think Billy Chapel learned that ultimately the chase pales in comparison to those he loves, it just took him a long time to get it through his thick skull. Grade: A+
3) The Natural – This movie represents good old-fashioned baseball in all the right ways. While watching this film we are reminded to never give up on our dreams, no matter how far past your prime the world thinks you may be. It also teaches you to stay away from those crazy chicks on the road. This movie also makes every man out there want to make his own baseball bat from a tree felled by lightning. Grade: A+
2) Field of Dreams – This is quite possibly the most romantic and poetic look at America’s pastime that has ever been made, even though it really is not a story about baseball. This movie is about realizing and appreciating what you have…your family. This movie shows us that even though baseball has been an integral part of our country’s story, it’s still just a game in the end. Grade: A+
And last but not least…drumroll please…
The greatest baseball movie I have ever seen…
Bull Durham – This is by far the best baseball movie ever made. This film has a great blend of comedy, romance, and thoughtfulness that make it seem like it could’ve really happened. There is knowledge to be gained from this movie as well. Remember, don’t think…just throw. Also, a rainout is only a sprinkler system away. And if you ever want to know how to properly rip into an umpire, look no further than Crash Davis for a great how-to moment. Sometimes, to be a great pitcher, you just gotta haul off and throw it at the bull from time to time. This is a great movie and I never get tired of watching it.
So that’s it, that’s my list. I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of your favorite baseball movies. Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.