Writer’s Roundtable: Favorite Baseball Movies – Phillies Nation

Writer’s Roundtable: Favorite Baseball Movies

Q: “42” a film about the life of Jackie Robinson opens in theaters this weekend, which got me to wondering: What are some of your favorite baseball movies and why?

Amanda Orr: The Sandlot! One of my all time favorite movies. I watched it all the time as a kid. It’s a movie I have to watch at least once every summer. Not only is it funny and has some great lines, but it taught me who Babe Ruth was when I was young.

Eric Seidman: For me it’s a tie.  From a rewatchability standpoint, you can’t beat The Sandlot, which is just a terrific feel-good movie and not a “kids” movie but rather a great baseball movie about kids.  From a technical standpoint I’ll take 61* any and every day of the week over everything else.  It has great performances from Thomas Jane and Barry Pepper and a really informative behind-the-scenes look at that season. This movie doesn’t get a lot of love as it was an HBO original movie, but all non-Sandlot baseball movies I’ve seen pale in comparison.

Pat Gallen: It’s Mr. Baseball with Tom Selleck and it’s not even close. The mustache alone is worthy of 3 stars out of 4. Plus, in the movie, Selleck’s character led the team in 9th inning doubles in the month of August. Quite a feat. And, Dennis Haysbert from Major League is in it!  In all seriousness, it’s Major League, the original. Bob Uecker is hysterical and makes the film what it is. And who wouldn’t want a skip like Lou Brown?

Don McGettigan:  My first thought was Major League, but I forced myself to think which movies would I change the channel for… and came up with two: A League of Their Own.  It has a few classic quotes, and my favorite actor, Tom Hanks, in an unforgettable role.  The movie has a great blend of comedy, drama, and baseball action.  My parents made me go with my two older sisters to see that movie in the theaters, and I ended up really enjoying it.    The other movie on my list is Rookie of the Year.  No, it’s not the greatest movie ever, but it came out when I was 10-years-old, and still had fantasies like – well what if I made it to the Major Leagues tomorrow… I like baseball movies that have a lot of game-scenes, and these two fit the bill.

Jay Floyd: My favorite baseball movie is Eight Men Out.  To me, one of the greatest aspects of baseball is its history and the events surrounding the “Black Sox” scandal is one of the most legendary tales ever in sports.  Also…Shoeless Joe.  Need I say more?

Ryan Dinger: This is a challenging question for me because I love both baseball and cinema.  So when the two come together, it’s really hard to leave me unsatisfied.  When I think of great baseball movies, however, 1988’s Bull Durham comes to mind.  A well-done, tongue-in-cheek depiction of the way life is for a career-minor leaguer (or at least how society imagines that life is), this movie runs the gamut of emotions: There’s comedy, romance, rivalry, poetry and philosophy all wrapped up into a two-hour film. Plus it has the star-power to make it work. Aside from Major League, it may be the most quotable baseball movie ever written. And it is, without question, one of Kevin Costner’s best performances in a baseball movie.  Director Ron Shelton really hit the sh*t out of this one. If baseball is your religion, just try and tell me you don’t enjoy this movie, Meat.

Jon Nisula:  I’m going to go with a more recent movie, but one that fascinated me more than any other baseball movie–Moneyball. I read the book and loved it, then watched the movie and was not disappointed. It’s an entirely new look at the game of baseball and I think it could turn out to be a “classic” like some of the others that were mentioned.

Alex Lee: I am going to get some heat for this, and deservedly so, but I am going to go with For Love of the Game as one of my favorites , or at least one that I think is underrated and eminently re-watchable.  Yes, there are plenty of more traditional choices… many of which have been detailed by my colleagues here.  But I felt the need to defend a movie that I find myself flipping to anytime it is on.  The baseball scenes in this flick are realistic and the career track of Kevin Costner’s character seems pretty plausible for an aging Hall of Famer (Roy Halladay anyone?).  I think the movie, aided by the greatness of Vin Scully, accurately captures the anticipation that builds with a perfect game on the line, for fans in the crowd and at home.  Now if they could just do something about Kelly Preston’s character…

A few of the fan responses from Twitter:
@lizroscher: Bull Durham, no question. It’s funny and sexy, well written and well acted, and it never, ever gets old.

@timmayK: Rookie of the Year because it’s the most realistic/inspirational

@GTown_Dave: Major League & The Sandlot– because they’re all great baseball movies…unlike say, Mr. Baseball



  1. theprez98

    April 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

    No fans of The Natural?!

    • photoFred

      April 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      It’s the one movie I have to watch every time I stumble onto it. It has some faults—like Redford trying to play Roy Hobbs as a very young man and, sure, we can all see the over the top ending coming a mile away. Still, it has one of the most poignant moments of self reflection in any movie ever when Roy says, “My life didn’t turn out the way I expected.”

  2. Jay Floyd

    April 13, 2013 at 10:30 am

    @Alex Lee
    No heat for that selection at all. I’ve asked a lot of player over the years what their favorite baseball movie is and I’d say close to 20% of the answers I’ve gotten were “For Love of the Game”. I had never even seen it a few years ago and when I started to get so much solid feedback from actual players about the film I made sure to buy it.
    Loads of players like “The Sandlot” also.

  3. Lefty

    April 13, 2013 at 11:46 am

    No heat from me either Alex. I could see a great pitcher using a concentration technique like “turning on the mechanism”. I also think John C Reilly was good as the catcher. And I don’t care what Kelly Preston’s character was like, she’s great on the eyes.

  4. brooks

    April 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Just for a second, let’s analyze what we have seen so far with the previews of ’42’.
    The previews seem to portray a young black man who is bitter (justifiably so). But everything I have read or watched has led me to believe that the only way Jackie Robinson could have achieved what he did was by being the most humble of human beings. Remember the time of history. It was not a good time for people of color in the US, there was no equal opportunity. Jackie Robinson would have been hung by the thumbs, murdered if he were to display even the slightest bit of anger or bitterness toward the establishment. You (we) have to understand that this man was special in the eyes of all and God – to do what he did in that time. Death threats, constant badgering, belittlement and yet he endured thank God.
    No, not just any young man, this was a man of true character and deep faith to do what he did. And I think this movie is cut from a perspective of this day and age, not in the 1940’s.
    Now – think back to when the NL won all those all start games consecutively in the 60’s – one reason, one reason alone – the NL integrated and the AL was far behind. There is a lot to be appreciated here with this guy, he changed the game. Branch Rickey? It was $$$.

  5. chappdaddy

    April 13, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Soul of the Game has to be one of my favorite Baseball Movies, getting to see the story about Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson all playing together and the story of how Jackie ended up in MLB are well worth it.

  6. Andrew From Waldorf

    April 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Eight men out is a great baseball movie and factually correct.

    Kudos to the older person who has seen it and appreciates it.

    Then the natural is a classic.

    They are the top 2 baseball films.

    Moneyball the book is great. The film sucks and is a fluff piece for Brad Pitt.

    Bull Durham and Major league or very funny and great movies.
    But I hardly even conisder them baseball movies.
    Just comidies.

    The other films mentioned are not good.

  7. DaveP

    April 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    The sandlot is a classic. Once a summer watch for me too.

  8. Johnny b

    April 13, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    The original badnews bears. Hands down. Walter mathaeu is hilarious. Let freedom ring!

  9. Joanne

    April 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    It’s old, and I detest the team, but Pride of the Yankees was a great movie. Still, Major League is the first one that comes to mind when anybody mentions baseball movies. It always makes me laugh.

  10. Dave

    April 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    like theprez98 said.. no fans of The Natural!? What makes the movie even better is that The Natural is based on the whole weird shooting incident and comeback of a real former Phillie, Eddie Waitkus

    • Ken Bland

      April 13, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Over the years, I’ve seen The Sting countless times. It amazed me how many symbolisms I picked up as my total viewing sessions advanced. That’s a standard of a great film. The Natural was awesome the first time, but the movie gets goofier the more you see it. Goofier might not be the right word, but some less than positive connotation.

      I’d rate my all time baseball favorite as A Few Good Men. Cruise thinking better with his bat, and his perfect delivery of “The hits just keep on Comin” qualify that. Plus, in a non baseball related scene, his outstanding delivery at the end to Jack of, “Don’t call me son, you son of a bitch., and you’re under arrest” would only be bettered by use of the old Joe Schultz term of sumbitch which would inarguably have cklassified it as a baseball flick.

  11. MikeyPaDc

    April 13, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Hands down…season 1 of Beverly Hills 90210, back in 1990 when Brandon Walsh and Steve Sanders coached

    Movie wise….so many to choose from the Rookie? Ha. Ummm- The Fan w deniro and Wesley. My final choice- for the love of the game

  12. Tim

    April 13, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I find it odd that no one mentioned “Trouble With The Curve”. I thought all of the actors did an outstanding job, although the ending could have been better.

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