Hey everyone It’s Toph again and I’m back to bring you a new top 10 list. My first list brought us all the top 6 football movies out there. Why 6? To be fair I was going to do 5, however adding the extra movie was just as much as a bonus to enjoy. If you haven’t seen the list, you can check it out here right on Couch Guy Sports https://couchguysports.com/best-movies-based-on-football/. And now the Top 10 Baseball Movies! Enjoy!
#10: Eight Men Out (1988)
The obsession of the 80’s is not my fault that great sports movies came from this time. So here’s one of many entries to go along with the 80’s. Of course how can you have fun without a little bad thrown into the mix. Bring along those Black Sox of 1919. This movie has suspense, drama, and something some of the Couch Guy Sports folk enjoy, gambling. Yep it’s true. This dramatization is based on the 1919 scandal that rocked the baseball world. Eight players from the Chicago White Sox were found guilty of conspiring with gamblers to lose the 1919 world series. With a great cast lead by John Cusack, John Mahoney, Michael Rooker, Charlie Sheen, Christopher Lloyd, and D.B Sweeney, The movie’s worth a view.
1919. The year Jackie Robinson was born, and a scandal would rock the baseball world. The Chicago White Sox were noted to be one of the best and talented team to be put together. However the owner is stingy and doesn’t want to reward the players for showing the goods. When gamblers get wind of how the players are treated, they work a plan to deliberately throw the World Series. With the Sox slated to win, it becomes clear there’s something going on. With the cast in play and the actual feel of 1919 in the air, you’ll feel like you are right there!
#9 Bull Durham (1988)
Yeah yeah go ahead and tell me I started this list with a romantic comedy. If that’s all you see, you are as blind as an umpire. Regarded as a top movie when it released in 1988, Kevin Costner took the lead on this comedy about playing in the minor leagues. Co-staring Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Robert Wuhl, this comedy about baseball fits perfectly with the times. Sports Illustrated even ranked it #1 for sports movies, with Rotten Tomatoes ranking it #1 list of 53 best reviewed sports movies of all time.
“Crash” Davis (Costner) has been all around the minor leagues. Now, the Durham Bulls bring him aboard to help out Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, their young pitcher. LaLoosh (Robbins) has a talented arm, yet too much headspace with so much potential. Caught within the middle is Annie Savoy (Sarandon) who is all about Nuke, yet falls for Crash. It’s your typical 80’s romantic comedy with plenty of upswing. Of course don’t judge it for the age. This movie still holds true even in this time. Bull Durham will have you laughing and enjoying the sport the whole movie.
#8: Major League (1989)
If you think for one second that this movie was not on the list, you’d be as crazy as Cerrano’s before game rituals! With enough star power to hit it out of the park and Major League does just that! Tom Berenger Wesley Snipes and Charlie Sheen lead the Cleveland Indians and their band of disregarded ball players onto the field. Will they win? Or will it be game over for the Indians?
As with Bull Durham, Major League is another 80’s baseball movie, yet with less romance and more ball playing. The Cleveland Indians are one of the crappiest teams in the majors. New inherited owner Rachel Phelps is dying to move the team to a warmer climate. However per the contract the Indians have with Cleveland, the team can’t relocate unless attendance is under 80,000. So Phelps puts together a rag tag band of players from all over. A few of these players include Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn (Sheen) from the California penal league and Willy Mays Hayes (Snipes) as their new inductees. While the Indians try to ward off the transfer, veteran catcher Jake Taylor (Berenger) is chasing after his ex wife. Major League is of course is a great movie loaded with laughs and good times.
#7: Bad News Bears (1976)
No surprise here that the Walther Matthau’s Bears made it on this list. Shame it can’t be said for Billy Bob Thornton’s remake from 2005. This instant classic is the perfect way to look at how little leagues were seen back in the day. This movie can be seen as the modern day underdog back in 1976. It’s success can even be seen in current movies like Little Giants and other movies about growth and what it means to be a team.
Meet Morris Buttermaker. Former major league pitcher. Current alcoholic. Buttermaker is recruited to coach the Bears. A team put together by the league with the misfit kids that were excluded from the other teams. Now Buttermaker must take the Bears and make them winners. Taking in the resident troublemaking smoker Kelly Leak (Haley), including his ex girlfriend’s daughter Amanda, who Buttermaker groomed. This band of misfits terrorize ballfield and the other little leaguers. Will it be enough to get better or will they fall over? Bad News Bears is a lot of fun with enjoyable laughs and of course Walter Matthau’s wit.
#6: A League of Their Own (1992)
This used to be their playground. They were and are the members of the All American Girl Professional Baseball League. Now this story may be a dramatization, however the AAGPBL is an actual league that ran from 1943-1954 founded by Phillip K Wrigley owner of the Chicago Cubs. It’s a trip down memory lane to war time 1943. Quite possibly the most talented cast I’ve seen in a movie before big budget movies. With Geena Davis and Tom Hanks leading the charge, even the big names making cameos makes this a stellar movie.
1988. Dottie Hinson (Davis) is taking the walk down memory lane. A new exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame is being unveiled based on the AAGPBL years and she’s heading to see it. Flashback now to 1943. The tryouts of Hinson and her sister Kit being pulled from Oregon to play women’s baseball was a once in a lifetime thing. And with the boys overseas fighting the war, it’s the women who show up to play! With true grit and some amazing skills on the field, the women really did make it a “League of their own” Joining Davis and Hanks are the likes of Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Lori Petty, Bill Pullman, and Jon Lovitz. This power cast makes this movie kick, and it’s lead by its director Penny Marshall, known for playing Laverne on the hit show Laverne & Shirley.
Be careful watching though, it will bring a tear to your eye. And to quote the great Jimmy Dugan: “There’s no crying in baseball!”
#5: 42 (2013)
Halfway through the list, and we find this gem. 42 is the biographical film about Jackie Robinson, the first black athlete to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. This film itself is a powerful look into the struggles and views of the times of 1945. The movie was a financial success and stellar reviews from critics and fans, however there movie was hit with criticism about it’s accuracy about the history. Lead by the late Chadwick Boseman in his first leading role, and supported by Harrison Ford, and Christopher Meloni, the power of the trio make this a worthy movie.
1945. World War II is ending, and baseball is back in full swing. Sportswriter Wendell Smith is buzzing in the ear of Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers about a talented young player. That player is Jackie Robinson. The movie follows history of Robinson, played by Boseman and his incredible journey playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and MLB. the movie depicts not only Robinson’s success, yet his struggles and hardships that came with the time. 42 is powerful and moving and will steal your heart.
#4: The Natural (1984)
Yes, I went back to the 80’s. Why? Because some of the best stuff is from the 80’s (including yours truly!). Lets bring it to our next movie. The natural is exactly as the title brings. Now I know I’ve mentioned all star casts before, but this one is a home run. Lead by a young Robert Redford and supported by Glenn Close and Robert Duvall, it doesn’t end there. Supporting cast of Kim Basinger, Barbara Hershey and Wilfred Brimley make this movie all the more “Natural”. Aside from the power house names, it’s got some hardware to boot. 4 Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actress within Glenn Close, to being nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in Kim Bassinger.
Based on the 1952 novel “The Natural” the film recounts experiences and playing career of Roy Hobbs (Redford) and his ‘Natural” talent to play baseball. Bringing his talent to the majors is tough, yet Hobbs shows off his talent and style with a swing of “Wonderboy” his homemade bat. With the power of this cast, and the amazing story behind it, The Natural is a feel good movie that may leave with a tear. If so, please revert to #6!
#3: Moneyball (2011)
Back to the Future! No, not the movie, just the timeline. Moneyball is based on Michael Lewis’ ’03 book of the same name. Bringing in power stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and the late Phillip Seymore Hoffman made Moneyball…well, money. Aside from the earnings Moneyball pulled in, it was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Pitt), and Best Supporting Actor (Hill).
Moneyball is the story behind the Oakland Athletics and their General Manager Billy Beane and his GM Peter Brand. Their plan was to change the game of baseball as we know it using sabermetrics which is selecting players using their on-base percentage. Beane and Brand put this plan together during the A’s amazing comeback run of 2002, even trading away their best players and being on a budget. The story sees how baseball has changed from not only pure talent but to a numbers game. Definitely worth a watch at #3
#2: Field of Dreams (1989)
You got to give it to Kevin Costner. He’s been in a few baseball movies and this makes his second on the list at number two. Deemed as the best baseball movie of it’s time, and even to current day, it’s not so much of the star studded cast that makes the movie this time, but more so the story. Field of Dreams is adapted from W.P Kinsella’s novel “Shoeless Joe” from 1982. It’s power cast along with Costner includes James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta, and Burt Lancaster in his final career film. The passion and compelling story makes this the perfect baseball movie for any fan!
Ray Kinsella is a devoted husband, loving father, and avid baseball fan. His family has fallen on some hard times and they are about to lose their farm in Iowa. While walking in his corn field, Ray hears a voice calling out to him, and brings him on a spirited journey about life, and baseball. Most importantly will this help Ray keep his farm? Or is he just so stressed out he’s having delusions as his wife’s brother believes? Field of Dreams is a beautiful showing of sacrifices we make even for our own dreams, and what may come from them.
#1: The Sandlot (1993)
If you have never seen this movie, I DEMAND you to STOP reading, and go WATCH! And I’m also curious as to what hole you have been living under? The Sandlot is by far one of the best stories to date. Yeah, I guess you could call it a kid’s movie. However the power of the story itself is what makes Sandlot #1. It’s not lead by a star studded cast as the other movies are, yet does have some star power itself. Dennis Leary and James Earl Jones pull up the list as side characters yet aren’t the main focus. This coming-of-age story is one for all ages, and ignites the baseball player in all of us. Young and old.
It’s the summer of 1962 and Scotty Smalls had just moved to the San Fernando Valley with his mom and step dad. What Smalls doesn’t know, is this will be the year he gets himself into the biggest pickle he’s ever been in. Being a little on the smart side, Smalls has issues making friends. That changes when he meets “The Sandlot. A group of local kids playing pick up games of baseball. That summer becomes one these boys will never forget. From finding love at the swimming hole, to giant beasts, this movie is one for the ages!
Toph’s Final Word
Yeah, these are definitely the top 10 baseball movies. Notable mentions include Trouble With the Curve, For Love of the Game (another Kevin Costner movie), Million Dollar Arm, Angel’s in the Outfield, Mr. 3000, Summer Catch, and more. In conclusion the passion and love of the sport of baseball is within all these movies but these story they tell shows just how much depth the game truly has, and the commitment to it. Each movie has it’s own stamp on the game. From a drama all the way to a kids comedy movie. Now, which one is your favorite?
Toph @angry_turnip80 on twitch.
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