“Baseball’s Best–At the Movies”
There are no games tonight around Major League Baseball. We might not have games till July 1st.
But we do have history on our side, to take up some of our time, while we self isolate.
A baseball junkies look at my favorite Baseball Movies of All Time.
Understand I grew up in a baseball family, father a devout Cardinals Gas House Gang fan, and a pitcher in the A’s system, and my uncle covered the old Brooklyn Dodgers in the days there were 9-newspapers in New York.
I grew up watching the Yankees-Giants and Dodgers on TV. The Saturday Game of the Week was a ‘must see’ in my house. And I collected baseball cards, lots of them, and autographs, and still have them too.
My bookcases at home are filled with probably 200-books on baseball history, including a collection of the Spaulding-Reach Baseball Guides that go back into the 1930s.
Here’s my ‘hot list’
You can argue with me, but you’d probably be wrong. I’m a sports-talkshow host too.
1)..BASEBALL–9 INNINGS…Ken Burns documentary…I love history and what better way to enjoy it with the great production stretching from the Black Sox to Breaking the Barrier with Jackie Robinson to the Big Red Machine, to the Boss-Steinbrenner.
2)..BULL DURHAM…Pick any phrase…”Worship at the church of baseball…..I want to announce my presence with authority”…If you ever spent time in the minor leagues-you would identify with the storylines. A gem, thank you Kevin Costner.
3)..THE NATURAL…”I want to be the best there ever was” and Robert Redford delivered from every angle possible as Roy Hobbs.
4)..FIELD OF DREAMS…”Build it and they will come” …a creative look back at the Black Sox Scandal and the aftermath in the Iowa cornfield. I visited the place-pretty cool…I can still hear Kevin Costner’s voice.
5)..8-MEN OUT…”I just wanna play ball….Say it ain’t so Joe”…A quality production dating to the 1919 scandal in the World Series……the Sox…Comiskey…Shoeless Joe and Judge Landis.
6)..MONEYBALL…”If you don’t win the final game then you are a loser”…Great performance by Brad Pitt and all things Oakland A’s baseball.
7)..A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN…”There’s no crying in baseball”…uttered Tom Hanks at his Rockford Peaches…a fun production and a true story about the girls league before the men came marching home.
8)..COBB…”You tell them how good I was”…a dying Ty Cobb-played by Tommie Lee Jones screams at a sportswriter in his dying days..a critical look at a possessed talent-lout.
9)..FEAR STRIKES OUT…”Was I good enough, Dad”…the amazing Jimmy Piersall story about his nervous breakdown with the Red Sox..very well done takeoff on the 1950s story.
10)..BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY….”They’re a swell bunch of fellas” says a dying catcher, Bruce Pearson, played by Robert DiNero, portraying the Yankees catcher fighting leukemia and major league pitchers.
11)..MAJOR LEAGUE…”Just a bit outside” shouts broadcast Bob Uecker about the last place Indians, Willy Mays Hayes and so many others….it was crude but good and if you spent time in Cleveland during the bad years, you could identify with it.
12)..42…”Nigger-Nigger” the Phillies manager chanted at the start of the movie and the start of the season, directed vitriol at Jackie Robinson…the movie was coarse-honest-emotional-sometime hokey..but superb acting by Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey.
13)..BAD NEWS BEARS….”Buttermaker you drunk”…shouts Tatum O’Neal at Walter Matthau…fun-probably somewhat true but everyone loved the kids on the roster.
14)..MR BASEBALL…”What am I doing here”…shouts Jack Elliott, played by Tom Selleck, in his debut in Japan…a fun look at the transition washed up major leaguers make going abroad.
15)..TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE…”I was always trying to protect you”…yells Clint Eastwood at his daughter…the story of a washed up Braves scout at the end of the road when the new breed of GMs were taking over the game…well done depth to the story.
CATCHER WAS A SPY…A look at the Washington Senators catcher, Moe Berg, who became a World War II spy in Germany.
BABE RUTH STORY…William Bendix played the role in a film made decades and decades ago.
PRIDE OF THE YANKEES…The Lou Gehrig story about his life and demise in the black and white world of film.
THE ROOKIE…A Story of dreams of a former pitcher making a comeback in the early days of the Tampa Bay Rays franchise.
FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME…Another Kevin Costner film about the end of the career of a Detroit Tigers pitcher.
PRIDE OF ST LOUIS….From the wayback machine..the story of Dizzy Dean.
THE MONTE STRATTON STORY…A look at the White Sox pitcher who shot his leg off and came back.
DAMN YANKEES…The broadway musical of the Senators player who sold his soul to beat the Yankees
A WINNER NEVER QUITS…The story of the St Louis Browns one-armed outfielder Pete Gray’s battle to get to the major leagues.
Got time on your hands, go chase them down on Netflix or Amazon or You Tube.