My top ten baseball movies consist of five movies on the list. That sounds pretty weird. There have been many movies with a baseball theme that I have liked, but there are only five I have loved. I will get to them soon. Some of the ones I have liked are:
- “Bull Durham” with Kevin Costner, a light hearted tale about a minor league season in North Carolina and the characters on and around that team.
- “Bang The Drum Slowly” with Robert DeNiro,
- “Cobb” with Tommy Lee Jones,
- “Fear Strikes Out,”
- “Eight Men Out,”
- “A League of Their Own,”
- “Major League,” and
- “Rookie of the Year.”One thing that my favorites have in common is that I have been moved to tears. For similar and different reasons, I have been inspired or moved by some of the following scenes.
- Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. When I think about this movie I always think how corny it was. Come on – Cut down a corn field to create a baseball field. I have seen this movie approximately 15 times. It is the only movie I have seen in my adult life twice in the theaters. The scene that is so moving for me is when Kevin Costner asks his father to play catch. He is so awkward in his asking. He is so delighted when his father says “sure.” I melt whenever I see this scene.
- The Rookie with Dennis Quaid How does a man in his late 30’s leave his family and start playing baseball in the minor leagues. He is fulfilling a dream. There are a couple of scenes in the movie that lead to a most uplifting moment. While playing in the minor leagues in the Tampa Bay organization Dennis Quaid (Playing pitcher Jim Morris) thinks he may have made a mistake by leaving his family to pursue a dumb dream. He is in anguish. He is not making any money pitching in the minors while his family is suffering at home with very little money coming into the house. Finally, after vacillating between playing baseball and going back to his wife to make a constant living he sees one of his teammates and asks him. “Do you know what we are going to do today?” His teammate looks puzzled. Dennis responds to his own question. “We are going to play baseball today.” With a big grin on his face Dennis captures the joy of playing baseball. I loved it.
- The Natural with Robert Redford The music in this flick was superb. Good versus evil. Robert Redford comes out of the hospital to play in the most important game of the year. As corny as this movie was I loved the scene at the end of the movie when he hits the ball into the lights and a shower of sparkling flashes illuminate the screen. I can still hear the music from that part of the movie, as he circles the bases. I get chills whenever I see this part of the film. This is also one of my wife’s favorites as well film.
- Pride of The Yankees with Gary Cooper and Teresa Wright One of my all time favorite players, Lou Gehrig, is played on the screen so superbly by Gary Cooper. The scene that gets to me every time is when Lou goes to see the doctor at the hospital because he feels a nagging injury not healing. As his wife nervously waits in the waiting room, Lou is examined and then given the fatal news of his illness. He is greeted by his wife as he leaves the examination room. She then asks him how it went. They embrace and he tells her its a little bump or bruise. She seems to know without him telling her that this is serious. Oh my. I melt every time. This following epic motion picture reminds me of a baseball season. Long, lasting and lovable.
- Baseball by Ken Burns Can you believe 18 hours of baseball footage? Still pictures from the 19th century. Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Lou Gehrig, Buck O’Neil. Highlights on film. Dead ball era. Modern day. Pitchers, hitters. This movie had it all. The pictures were spectacular. There were so many stories that were told. I was amazed by Ken Burns’ commitment to get this movie done. That is what moved me the most. So there you have it. I cannot thank the people ENOUGH that made these movies. I have been touched writing about their commitment, passion, and excellence.
Free to pass this article on to anyone you think would enjoy reading it. Let me know what you think of these selections in the comments.