Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday Thirteen #76: Favorite Baseball Movies

Since we are in the midst of the MLB playoffs, I decided to list (in alphabetical order) 13 of my favorite films about America's pastime. Even though the Detroit Tigers choked away their chance at the playoffs (how the hell can you blow a 3-game lead with only 4 left to play?!), I haven't let that disappointment ruin my enjoyment of the baseball postseason.

What are some of your favorite baseball movies?

1. 61* (2001) - A made-for-cable film (directed by Billy Crystal) about the quest during the 1961 season of Yankee sluggers Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris to break Babe Ruth's single season home run record set in 1927.

2. The Bad News Bears (1976) - Walter Matthau as a boozing pool cleaner who's put in charge of managing a foul mouthed Little League team. Along with the profanity-laced wisecracks is some serious stuff about how adults sometimes place winning above everything else.

3. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976) - Berry Gordy produced this film about barnstorming ballplayers during the Negro League era. "Kick that mule!"

4. Bull Durham (1988)- A veteran catcher (Kevin Costner) and a baseball groupie (Susan Sarandon) both work in their own way to groom a hotshot rookie pitcher (Tim Robbins) for "The Show".

5. Eight Men Out (1989) - John Sayles directed this drama about the 1919 "Black Sox Scandal" in which eight Chicago White Sox players conspired with gamblers to throw The World Series. Sayles also co-stars as sports columnist Ring Lardner.

6. Hardball (2001) - Keanu Reeves stars as deep in debt gambler who agrees to coach an inner city Little League team as a condition of getting a loan from a friend. This movie was better than I expected.

7. It Happens Every Spring (1949)- A college professor (Ray Milland) becomes an overnight major league pitching sensation after he invents a fluid that's a wood repellent.

8. The Kid from Left Field (1979) - A boy (Gary Coleman) drags the San Diego Padres out of the cellar when he takes over managerial duties for the team. This was the first of 3 TV-movies that paired Coleman with Robert Guillaume (who portrays his ex-ballplayer father).

9.A League of Their Own (1992)- A fictionalized story about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Lori Petty, and Madonna.

10. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998) - An insightful documentary about the legendary Detroit Tigers first baseman. Greenberg was the first Jewish superstar of American pro sports and the film details the anti-Semitism he faced throughout his Hall of Fame career.

11. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)- Gary Cooper received an Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of "Iron Man" Lou Gehrig, "The luckiest man on the face of the earth".

12. Soul of the Game (1996) - HBO biography about Negro League players Satchel Paige (Delroy Lindo), Josh Gibson (Mykelti Williamson) and Jackie Robinson (Blair Underwood) and each man's attempts to become the first black player to sign with a Major League baseball team.

13. Take Me Out to the Ballgame (1949) - Musical comedy set in 1908 about two ballplayers (Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra) who are also part-time vaudevillians.

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jamie said...

Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, A League of Their Own, Major League, and For the Love of the Game (4 out of 5 Costner flicks) make my ShortList.

I also recommend the documentary, A City on Fire: The Story of the '68 Detroit Tigers.

Jamie R

red said...

Um, how can Field of Dreams not be on your list?!?

I've never heard of that Gary Colman movie, but if it's about the Padres, I need to see it!

Janet said...

My favorite is Mr. Baseball :-)

Tracie said...

Great list. The only one you missed is Field of Dreams. A must for every baseball movie list. Other than that, I think *61 is probably my favorite one.
Happy TT!

Journeywoman said...

I LOVE League of Their own and 61*

Clara said...

I really liked a League of Their Own. At the time it came out I worked with a woman who's mother played in the league. She was actually in the movie when the older women were playing.

I'm so disillusioned with the Tigers that I was only half surprised when they blew it.

Brenda ND said...

Field of Dreams is my favorite. Happy TT!

jamsam22 said...

Um...The Natural!!!?!!!?!

Are you kidding me? That's #1 on ANY baseball list.

Guilty pleasure is For Love of the Game. Chick Flick - but I like it.

Julia Smith said...

Great list of films. Funny that I've never seen Take Me Out to the Ballgame - Gene Kelly, Frankie, musical - what's not to love?

My favorite from your list is the original Bad News Bears.

I really, really like Field of Dreams. I also loved Major League with Charlie Sheen.

Penny said...

I love, love, love A League of Their own! It is freakin' hilarious. Hubs and I seriously quote this movie on a daily basis.

"Avoid the Clap. Jimmy Doogan"

I also loved the movie *61! That was a great film.

One of my favourites would have to be Sandlot. I think because it came out when I was a pre-teen/early teen era and I have seen it so many freaking times.
When I go back and watch it now it seems kind of silly :)

Dane Bramage said...

Not a big baseball or baseball film fan. But I have seen Major League because it is mandatory if you live in Northeast Ohio! And I have seen Field of Dreams which I would have to declare as my favorite of the genre. I will have to look for the Gene Kelly film.

My Thursday 13 is up. It is <"13 Reasons Why I Decide To Have Bariactric Surgery">. Stop by if you get a moment.

Melissa said...

Oh dear. I need to watch more sports movies, it would seem!

Happy Thursday!

Miss Sarah said...

The Natural is the best baseball movie, hands down! I also LOVE Sandlot... but I guess that these didn't make your list. League of Their Own is a great pick though.

X. Dell said...

I think you've just about gotten all of my favorites, except for, perhaps, The Winning Team.

Malcolm said...

Jamie R: Thanks for recommending "A City On Fire". I've heard of it, but never seen it.

Red: That's easy... I've never seen "Field of Dreams" all the way through. Whenever I stumble on it, it's already started.

Janet: I was mad at myself because TCM showed "Mr. Baseball" last year, but I forgot to record it.

Tracie: Thanks! Billy Crystal's love for baseball was evident when watching "61*".

Journeywoman: Because it's about a women's baseball league, I think some people don't give "A League of Their Own" the credit it deserves.

Clara: Thanks for sharing the story about your co-worker's mother who played in the women's league. Yeah, I was a bit devastated at first about the Tigers' collapse. I guess my quick recovery is a sign of maturity.

Brenda: As expected, Field of Dreams is getting a lot of love. Thanks for visiting.

Jamie: I figured I'd get hassled for not including "The Natural". Here is some more ammo for you... I've never seen it all the way through! I caught some of it on TCM one Saturday afternoon. However, I was getting ready to leave so I couldn't finish watching it. One of these days though.

I remember you saying how brutal John C. Reilly was in "For the Love of the Game". For that reason alone, I want to see it.

Julia: Every time I see it, "The Bad News Bears" gets better and better. I wish that Matthau and Tatum O'Neal appeared in the sequels.

Penny: One of my favorite parts of "A League of Their Own" is when the bus is stopped on the side of the road. A drunken Jimmy is asleep when the frumpy chaperone wakes him up. His reaction after he realizes it's the chaperone that he just kissed is classic!

Dane: That's funny what you said about "Major League". I haven't heard about any movies that are mandatory viewing for Michiganders. That's not to say there aren't any.

Melissa: Even for those who don't like sports, I think many of these films can still be enjoyed. Thanks for stopping by.

Miss Sarah: Since I haven't seen either "The Natural" or "The Sandlot", they didn't make the cut. I just looked up "The Sandlot"... it looks like a fun movie! Plus, I have an affinity for nostalgic movies.

X. Dell: "The Winning Team" is a good pull on your part. I think I did see this before... if I did, it was a long time ago.

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