My friend Hoppy Gillmore of Fargo’s Froggy 99.9 has posted his list of the all-time best baseball movies, one for each inning. Here’s his list, with some comments from me in italics.
9. The Bad News Bears
Anyone who played Little League ball has lived this movie. Thanks Coach Flieth for spending your summers on the diamond with us!
I know people love this one, but it is not on my list. I’m all for anti-hero movies that subvert the usual underdog formulas, but hearing kids use bad language and seeing adults misbehave in front of them just isn’t that funny.
8. The Sandlot
If you ever played neighborhood ball as a kid you’ve lived this movie as well. For me it was the empty lot next to Paul and Mitch Heinen’s house in Hillsboro.
I love this movie — it’s my DVD pick of the week!
7. A League of Their Own
“There’s no crying in baseball!” I never knew about this piece of baseball history until I saw the movie.
There may be no crying in baseball (one of my favorite lines ever), but I cry in the last scene of this movie every time I watch. Ignore the sibling rivalry theme and enjoy the love of the game and the brilliant performances from everyone — Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Bill Pullman, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnell.
6. For Love of the Game
This one’s good for women too because there’s a love story built into the story of baseball. Even my wife will sit down and watch this one.
5. Major League
“Juuuuust a bit outside!” According to Chris Coste’s new book, The 33-Year-Old Rookie (http://www.chriscoste.com/) this could be a very accurate portrayal of minor league ball.
Silly fun, and I love it when they play “Wild Thing.” (But stay away from the sequel.)
Yeah, I’m a homer. Billy Crystal’s tribute to who will ALWAYS be the single-season home run king.
3. The Natural
One of the first baseball movies I remember watching. Who wouldn’t want to run the bases under a shower of sparks from the home run ball you hit that went into the lights?
Love this one, too. Parental note: some mature material.
2. Field of Dreams
“If you build it, they will come.” The father-son playing catch at the end brings back memories of my dad and I doing the same thing whenever he’d grill. In-between flipping burgers we’d play catch.
This is a movie that makes grown men cry. Touching and inspiring.
1. Bull Durham
Kevin Costner’s “Crash Davis” spews the best baseball philosophy around. He’s the Yoda of baseball.
One of the great, great grown-up love stories ever put on film — love of baseball as well as romantic love. And I get a kick out of knowing that this is where Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins became a real-life couple!