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Top 10 Baseball Movies

5. Eight Men Out (1988)

More sturdy dramatic fare, this time from John Sayles, his fourth film as director delving into the 1919 corruption scandal which enveloped the Chicago White Sox, with a Who’s Who of young Hollywood at the time – Cusack, Sheen, D.B. Sweeney as “Shoeless Joe” Jackson – doing the pitching and hitting.

4. Major League (1989)

Sheen also features in this David S. War-directed hit, with the “Wild Thing” nickname of his character serving as an unfortunately prescient nod towards his current calamities. A plot to shift the Cleveland Indians to Florida sees a purposely useless set of players recruited (played by the likes of Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen and Wesley Snipes), only for these supposed no-hopers to – wouldn’t ya just know it? – rally and retaliate in suitably victorious manner. Makes you proud to be a sports fan, don’t it? (sniff!)

3. The Bad News Bears (1976)

A simple but terrific comedic set-up finds grouchy Walter Matthau being packed off to coach a little league team comprised of cack-handed misfits. Scripted, oddly enough by Bill Lancaster, whose other most notable credit was John Carpenter’s shape-shifting, flesh-rending, kidneys-out remake of The Thing.

2. Field of Dreams (1989)

Featuring Lancaster’s infinitely more famous pop, Burt, as luckless NY Giants man “Moonlight” Graham, this is spooky but uplifting stuff from writer-director Phil Alden Robinson. Those whispers of “If you build it, he will come,” not only lead Kevin Costner’s farmer into interactions with the ghosts of baseball past (including Ray Liotta as another “Shoeless Joe” Jackson), but also became a much repeated and endlessly parodied meme in their own right.

1. Bull Durham (1988)

A double-dose of Costner at the apex of this list, just as his ego likes it. In our second Ron Shelton-directed entry, the future Captain Haddock of Waterworld plays veteran minor leagues man “Crash” Davis, a fictitious figure who shares a name with an actual ball-player, who Shelton later had cameo in Cobb as the title character’s arch-rival, Sam Crawford. Providing memorable support to Costner are Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, he playing the naive young pitcher being groomed for major league stardom, she the veteran baseball groupie.

Agree/Disagree with the order? Have we covered all the bases? Let me know in the comments.

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