The best baseball movies ever

For some reason I haven’t seen “Long Gone,” which is well-regarded by baseball fans. I doubt it would supplant my top two, though maybe number three. Anyway, here’s my list:

1. “Eight Men Out” The final scene, where an incognito Buck Weaver watches former teammate Joe Jackson playing for the then-equivalent of the Long Island Ducks, breaks your heart. John Sayles’ classic can be appreciated by purists and non-baseball fans alike.

2. “The Bad News Bears” Of course I’m not talking about the Billy Bob Thornton remake. I haven’t seen it, and won’t. The original is an essential — a crassly unsentimental view of an enduring slice of Americana. It also contains the greatest line ever delivered in a baseball movie: “Hey Yankees. You can take your apology, and your trophy, and shove it straight up your ass.”

Tanner Boyle for commissioner.

3. “The Natural” Hokum, done well, can work. Robert Redford wasn’t exactly convincing as the greatest hitter of all time, but at least we weren’t forced to wallow in the hippie/yuppie angst that makes “Field of Dreams” so unwatchable.

I was a Pony Leaguer when “The Natural” came out, and the next day I broke out of a career-long malaise with three doubles.


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13 Comments on The best baseball movies ever

  1. PepeFreeUs // January 9, 2010 at 11:18 pm //

    “We don’t need any more of your honky bullshit, Buttermaker!”

  2. No Field of Dreams?

  3. “Field of Dreams” has aged terribly.

  4. PepeFreeUs // January 10, 2010 at 8:35 pm //

    You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

  5. I was a huge fan of the novel, The Natural, so the movie was a big let-down for me (I suppose let-down is a poor choice of words—since the movie is reworked for Hobbs to be a hero) Field of Dreams has some very nice moments, but I now find it hard to sit thru all the way. I completely agree with the choice of Bad News Bears—this would be number one for me. Other Baseball movies I really enjoy in no particular order, Bingo Long and The Traveling All-Stars, Eight Men Out, It Happens Every Spring (an oldie—Ray Milland with a dipsy-doodle pitch), A League of Their Own, Major League, 61, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, The Rookie, The Sandlot and Bull Durham.

    Baseball Movies I Hate: The Babe, Bang the Drum Slowly, The Fan (special horrible honor, for the scene where the game continues in a hurricane), For Love of The Game, Major League and Bad New Bears Sequels, Safe at Home (So bad it’s actually kind of good—just to see how terrible Roger and Mickey are as actors).

    Special Honorable Mention: Not a baseball movie, but the baseball sequence in The Naked Gun is without peer. “Look, it’s Enricqo Palazzo.”

  6. Viva Rufino Linares! // January 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm //

    I have been remiss to mention The Sandlot as a great baseball movie. It goes back to a time when the worse insult was “You play ball like a girl!”

  7. rankin' rob // January 11, 2010 at 2:16 pm //

    No one’s mentioned Tommy Lee Jones in “Cobb.” I confess I’ve never seen it, though the Al Stump book of the same name is probably the best baseball book this side of Ball Four.

  8. “Cobb” was okay but was dragged down by Robert Wuhl’s very annoying performance as Cobb’s biographer.

  9. I thought “Cobb” was OK when it depicted the retirement-age Cobb, not so good for the black-and-white flashbacks of his playing days. And yeah, Wuhl’s a bit too precious as his biographer.

  10. I can watch Eight Men Out, The Sandlot, Bull Durham, or The Bad News Bears any day and still enjoy it like the first time I saw it. I haven’t seen Long Gone in more than a decade but it was one of my favorites back then.

  11. Bobby Cocks // January 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm //

    I can’t believe I’m seeing so much hate for Field of Dreams. It, along with Bull Durham, is among my 5 favorite movies of all times. I tear up every freaking time he asks his dad to play catch. The Natural is a good flick and I’ve yet to see all of 8 Men Out. It may need to be next on my list of movies I watch in between Spongebob and iCarly marathons.

  12. Good looking page!

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