Classic Baseball Movies
If the opening of Spring Training or the Fall Classic always make you nostalgic for the good
old days, here is a look at my favorite baseball movies. The films are listed in chronological order:
Pride of the Yankees (1942). Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig in one of the greatest
sports movies of all time. Nominated for best picture. With Teresa Wright and Walter Brennan, plus real ballplayers Babe Ruth,
Joe McCarthy and Bill Dickey.
The Kid from Cleveland (1949). Fans will enjoy seeing
Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau, Satchell Paige, Hank Greenberg, Tris Speaker and other real players. Starring George
Brent, Lynn Bari, Ann Doran, Tommy Cook and Russ Tamblyn.
The Stratton Story (1949). Tells the tale of White
Sox pitcher Monty Stratton, who lost his leg at age 26. Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson play Stratton and his wife. With Frank
Morgan and real players Jimmy Dykes, Bill Dickey, Spec Shea, Ted Lyons, Luke Appling and Gene Beardon.
It Happens Every Spring (1949). Ray Milland stars as a
physics professor who invents a rare substance that makes a baseball impossible to hit and becomes an immediate pitching sensation.
Great comedy with many special effects. Stars Paul Douglas, Jean Peters, Ed Begley and Ray Collins. Filmed at L.A.'s Wrigley
The Jackie Robinson
Story (1950). Jackie plays himself in
the story of the first black major league player. With Ruby Dee and Louise Beavers.
Angels in the Outfield (1951). The original film is a true fantasy with angels from heaven looking out for the dreadful Pittsburgh Pirates.
Stars Paul Douglas (as manager Guffy McGovern), Janet Leigh, Donna Corcoran and Keenan Wynn. Cameos by Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio
and Bing Crosby. Shot at Forbes Field (Pittsburgh).
The Winning Team (1952). Ronald Reagan plays famed
pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander. With Doris Day, plus real players Bob Lemon, Hank Sauer, Irv Noren, Gerry Priddy, Al Zarilla,
"Peanuts" Lowery, George Metkovich and Gene Mauch.
The Pride of St. Louis (1952). The story of Dizzy Dean played
by Dan Dailey. Richard Crenna co-stars as brother Paul. With Joanne Dru and Chet Huntley. Filmed at L.A.'s Wrigley Field.
The Kid From Left
Dan Dailey stars as "Pop" Cooper, an ex-ballplayer turned ballpark vendor
whose temper has kept him from a managing job. Through a strange twist of events, he manages (by proxy) through his young
son. The film is simple, but nicely captures the atmosphere of the ballpark. Co-stars Lloyd Bridges, Anne Bancroft, Billy
Chapin and Ray Collins. Also features ex-Indian John Berardino (star of General Hospital), umpire John "Beans" Reardon, announcer
Hank Scott (later the host of TV's Home Run Derby in 1959) and Fess Parker (Disney's Davey Crockett). Filmed at L.A.'s Wrigley
Fear Strikes Out (1957). Anthony Perkins plays Jimmy
Piersall in a somewhat fictional but engrossing account of the ballplayer's mental breakdown during his early years with the
Boston Red Sox. With Karl Malden as Jimmy's father.
Safe At Home! (1962). Mickey Mantle and Roger
Maris star in this film about a young boy who lies about his dad's relationship with the two stars. Timed to take advantage
of Roger's 61-home-run year. With William Frawley, plus manager Ralph Houk and Whitey Ford. Filmed on location in Ft.
Lauderdale during spring training (1962) after Roger's big 61 home run season.
Don't Look Back (1981). Stars Louis Gossett Jr.
as Leroy "Satchel" Paige in a TV made movie about the life of the Negro League pitcher who made it to the big leagues at the
end of his career.
The Natural (1984). This movie is to baseball
as "Casablanca" was to World War II. Robert Redford as Roy
Hobbs, with Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Barbara Hershey, Wilford Brimley, Richard Farnsworth, Robert Proskey,
Joe Don Baker and Darren McGavin. Based on the novel by Bernard Malamud. Filmed in Buffalo and South Dayton (NY).
Bull Durham (1988). Kevin Costner stars as
Crash Davis, a catcher in the twilight of his career who is given the job of watching out for young pitching stud "Nuke" LaLoosh,
played by Tim Robbins. With Susan Sarandon.
Eight Men Out (1988). Portrays the story of the
1919 Black Sox World Series betting scandal involving "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. With John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner,
Charlie Sheen, John Mahoney, D.B. Sweeny, David Strathairn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Rooker, Perry Lang, James Read, Bill
Irwin, Kevin Tighe, Studs Terkel and John Anderson.
Field Of Dreams (1989). Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field telling him "If you build it, he will come." He interprets
this as a message to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and the other
seven Chicago White Sox players banned from baseball for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks
out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose of his field. Nominated for Best
Picture. Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, Burt Lancaster, Timothy Busfield, Gaby Hoffman and Ray Liotta.
Major League (1989). Funny film about a Cleveland
Indians team put together by their owner with the express purpose of losing, who defy the odds and win anyway. With Tom Berenger,
Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Margaret Whitton, James Gammon, Rene Russo and Wesley Snipes.
A League of Their
Own (1992). Story of the Woman's
Professional Baseball League created during World War II to fill the void left by the male ballplayers who were in the
military. With Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn, Garry Marshall, Megan Cavanaugh,
Rosie O'Donnell, Renee Coleman, Ann Cusack, Tracy Reiner, Janet Jones, Tea Leoni and Bill Pullman.
Other Recent Baseball Movies
Rookie of the Year (1993)
Mr. Baseball (1993)
The Sandlot (1994)
Angels in the Outfield (1994)
Little Big League (1994)
Major League II (1994)
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg
Major League: Back to the Minors
For the Love of the Game (1999)
Perfect Game (2000)
Summer Catch (2001)
A Little Inside (2001)
The Rookie (2002)
The Winning Season (2004)
Mr. 3000 (2004)
Fever Pitch (2005)
Game 6 (2005)
Chasing 3000 (2007)