Baseball and Movies are two of my favorite things. Arguments and Rankings are another two of my favorite things. So naturally, I am here to make my official debut for Bench Points, if only to put in my two cents about the best Baseball Movies of all time.
But before I enlighten the fine readers and my fellow contributors here at Bench Points, I would like to first let you know which 5 Baseball Movies that I think are the worst.
Bottom 5 Baseball Movies of All-Time
5. The Bad News Bears (2005)
Not because the movie was terrible, but because the original was so good it should have never been remade.
Walter Matthau > Billy Bob Thornton
4. Rookie of the Year
Gavin’s statements regarding Little Big League vs. Rookie of the Year were accurate to say the least. This movie was Little Big League without any of the emotion, plot or actual baseball. Plus Randy Johnson isn’t in it.
Billy Heywood > Henry Rowengartner
3. The Scout
In one game in this movie, New York Yankees pitcher Steve Nebraska (Brendan Fraser) strikes out 27 St. Louis Cardinals on 81 straight strikes, and somehow it is not one of the most unrealistic things in this movie. That is all you need to know about The Scout.
2. Major League II
The plot is shockingly similar to the original. Also, Omar Epps just flat-out replaced Wesley Snipes as Willie Mays Hayes after Snipes declined to return in his role for a sequel. DID NO ONE THINK WE WOULD NOTICE?!?!?
Look everyone, it’s an Adam Sandler movie without Adam Sandler. It’s borderline unwatchable. It has an 11% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and that is a shockingly high number to me.
Now for the good stuff…
Top 5 Baseball Movies of All-Time
5. Angels in the Outfield (1994)
Danny Glover. Tony Danza. Christopher Lloyd. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Talk about an All-Star cast. This movie was a huge part of my childhood. If any angels would like to help the Miami Marlins get into the playoffs, it would be greatly appreciated.
Greatest Moment: Mel Clark (Danza) throwing 160+ pitches in the final game of the season to clinch the pennant with no help from any supernatural beings.
You cry every time “G Baby” dies. Don’t try to deny it. Keanu Reeves’ emotionless acting couldn’t even bring down this film. The Kekambas make this movie for me. The group of kids from the ABLA projects in Chicago coming together to win a championship entertains me every time. Also, any movie that has a pitcher who is seemingly only effective while he is listening to Notorious B.I.G. will receive an automatic bid into my top 5.
Greatest Moment: We goin’ to the ship.
3. Little Big League
I love this movie. I’ve watched it numerous times and it will never get old. So many baseball icons made cameos.
But the film is full of unanswered questions; Why did Ken Griffey Jr. have to rob Lou Collins of glory? Why did he have to prevent Billy Heywood from becoming the youngest manager of all time to win the American League Wild Card? Should Billy have started Webman in the final game? Would Billy really have not traded a Jerry Johnson card for a Wade Boggs and Sammy Sosa cards? How long would it take Joe and Sam to paint that house together? Is the horse’s name really Friday?
Greatest Moment: The following exchange…
Jim Bowers: It’s a scientific fact that a pig becomes a hog at 180 pounds.
Spencer Hamilton: What’s that make your wife?
Tucker Kain: Fat.
2. Field of Dreams
The concept of a relationship with a father that revolves around baseball is something that hits home for me, and I know just how special that can be. Both Gavin and Caleb rated it Number One, and I completely understand their reasoning for doing so. It is without a doubt the best movie that involves baseball, but there is just not enough baseball in it to justify me putting it at the top of my list. I wanted to pick a movie that actually shows a good amount of baseball being played.
Greatest Moment: Every scene involving Archibald “Moonlight” Graham.
1. For the Love of the Game
I really love baseball movies that get the game right. Kevin Costner, as Billy Chapel, really looks like a pitcher on his last legs throughout the film. His pitching motion is sluggish, his facial expressions express pain, and his fastball velocity is dwindling. The story of Chapel pitching a perfect game on the last day of the season in the last start of his career just gets to me. With the weight of the end of his career and his damaged relationship with the love of his life on his shoulders, Chapel’s ability to simply “clear the mechanism” and achieve baseball immortality for 9 final innings resonates with anyone who has ever played a sport with the rigors of life on their mind. That “semi-escapism” that is possible through sport is encapsulated brilliantly in this film, and that’s why I have it at the top of my list.
Greatest Moment: Vin Scully’s play-by-play is just as great in the film as it is in real life.