It’s a beautiful time of the year, even with inclement weather postponing most of the Opening Day games, and baseball fans around the country are buzzing with excitement for the season ahead. With Opening Week in the MLB currently on-going, I wanted to do something to celebrate the beginning of the baseball year. I’ve already done the top sports movies of all-time, but I figured it’d only be right to dig a little deeper, and figure out the top six baseball movies of all-time. With so many options to choose from, here are my top six:
6. The Natural
I’ve personally never seen this movie, but while researching for this list, I saw a ton of people upset when it wouldn’t be included on other’s countdowns. I looked into it more, and realized that this movie had all the makings to be a true classic. With a cast consisting of Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, and Glenn Close, who was nominated for an Oscar and for her role in the film. The plot of it all is very encompassing, and creates an amazing and unique storyline for the usual, overdone young superstar narrative. There are a lot of baseball films out there, but just the story and the cast along make this one for the ages, and one of the best baseball movies of all-time.
5. Field of Dreams
This movie is a true classic in the baseball community, but is a bit too corny for my liking. The whole idea is a fun, sentimental story, and Kevin Costner and the rest of the all-star cast do a great job throughout the film, evident by its Oscar nomination for Best Picture after its release. It’s one of the most memorable baseball films out there, and it’s one any fan of the sport can appreciate. However, it’s not perfect, and, especially with the quality of every film that has been released since then, it has been surpassed on this list. No matter what, I had to give it the benefit of the doubt and give it a top five spot for its impact on the sports film world.
4. Bull Durham
I’m a big fan of Kevin Costner if you can’t tell, and this movie was one of the first baseball movies I ever watched. I never really appreciated it fully, but while making this list, I realize how great it was. It has a solid balance of baseball, drama and romance, which is a tough combination to master in the film world. A big theme, apparently, in baseball is romance (see: Moneyball, Fever Pitch, Bull Durham, Major League), and this movie does a good job with it as a dominant theme. It is a classic baseball film, and definitely deserves its spot in the top five on this list.
3. The Sandlot
I’ve seen a lot of lists leave The Sandlot off of their lists of best baseball movies, and I honestly can’t trust anyone who doesn’t put this in their top five. It’s the baseball movie everyone grew up with and loved, and it was just perfect. I grew up wishing I could play half as well as Benny Rodriguez, and hoping I could one day be as good of a teacher as he was to Scotty Smalls. Add in the banter of the one and only “Ham” Porter, who taught everyone to properly make s’mores and who I have on one of my shirts saying “You’re killing me, Smalls”. It was the perfect film for all ages, and really set the tone for baseball movies for a younger audience.
2. Major League
I always debate whether or not Major League deserves the title of “Best Baseball Movie”, but I think it comes up just short of number one. It is one of the best sports movies out there, and is one of the best comedies I’ve ever seen. Between “Wild Thing”, Jake Taylor, and Willie Mays Hayes, the mix of personalities and talent on the Indians team made for some great comedy and solid sports-action sequences. I think it did the best job at capturing the true spirit of a struggling-then-succeeding baseball team while adding in a solid array of laughs to make it fully enjoyable. Any sports fan will love this movie, and, like I said in my Pick-Six of the top sports movies of all-time, I get goosebumps when Taylor stands up in the locker room and tells the team that “there’s only one thing left to do.”
I know a lot of people may be upset with this one, but I personally believe Moneyball is the best baseball movie of all time. The biggest reason to me, which could also be a negative depending on how you like your baseball films, is that it felt real. In movies like Major League and The Sandlot, the gameplay just looks so unnatural and fake (and I understand it’s impossible to make it all completely real), and it takes away from fully enjoying what’s going on. Moneyball balances all the behind-the-scenes of the organization, the real crowds of games, and mixes in some gameplay to make it the perfect movie. It felt like a true film with baseball mixed in, rather than just utilizing fake baseball games, and deservingly takes the top spot on this list. Also, as I always bring up with this movie, Chris Pratt deserves more recognition for his role as Scott Hatteberg. This scene is my favorite of all-time, and any true baseball fan should get emotional watching it.