Greatest Baseball Movies of All Time

If I could have gotten my hnds on an unlimited suppy of that wood-repellent subastance that awed my 11-year old brain in 1949, I'd be writing you today as a living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

If I could have gotten my hands on an unlimited supply of that wood-repellent substance that awed my 11-year old brain in this 1949 baseball classic, I’d be writing you today as a living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

How many times have I regaled the joy of great baseball movies in print? I don’t know. If I’ve done so at all, it hasn’t been recently, even though I do it all the time in places like traffic jams, jury selection internment, and waiting-on-the-phone with system robots as I earnestly try to reach a flesh and blood person to help me handle some kind of purchase, payment, or insurance problem.

The next time you hook up with a conversational robot – the kind that wants you to express a programmed word that will allow them to dump you off with “pay attention to the next numerical options and try to match it with your needs for information” – and tell the robot something like “why don’t you just go sit wide on top of a telephone pole somewhere and let me speak to a real frickin’ person?”

Do that – and you will get a follow up response from the robot that goes something like this: “I’m sorry. I didn’t quite understand. Could you please try again, using different words?”

That’s when you tell the robot the same thing you first said – in a slightly elevated and angrier tone of voice.

It will get you this kind of response: “Please hold while I put you in line to speak with one of our agents.”

Then comes the all the time in the world you then will have to list your favorite baseball films – or maybe even write a screenplay for a new one – as you wait on the human agent.

One more thing – “greatest” baseball films as a descriptor of my list doesn’t imply that these movies are Academy Award worthy for their story lines or acting performances. It simply means that they each made a really big impression on me and that I found them very entertaining at the time I first saw them.  And, since I was impressed a little differently as a kid, I have to give you two lists – one for the movies I first saw and loved as a kid – and another for those films I first saw as an adult.

Here are my choices – and I’d love to hear yours:

My Top 10 Baseball Movies as a Kid

  1. It Happens Every Spring
  2. The Babe Ruth Story
  3. Angels in the Outfield
  4. The Winning Team
  5. Rhubarb
  6. The Pride of St. Louis
  7. The Stratton Story
  8. The Pride of the Yankees
  9. The Kid From Left Field
  10.  Take Me Out to the Ball Game

My Top 10 Baseball Movies as an Adult

  1. Damn Yankees
  2. The Natural
  3. Field of Dreams
  4. Bull Durham
  5. Major League
  6. Eight Men Out
  7.  The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings
  8. Alibi Ike
  9. Elmer, the Great
  10. The Sandlot


 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


8 Responses to “Greatest Baseball Movies of All Time”

  1. Fred Soland Says:


    Check out “The Rookie”. It was a true story and was done very well. I am referring to the Disney movie with Dennis Quaid, not the one with Clint Eastwood and Charlie Sheen which was not a baseball movie at all.

    This is the true story about Jim Morris

  2. David Munger Says:

    Can’t Hit The Curve-Clint Eastwood
    Talent For The Game-James Edward Olmos

    The Baseball being played actually looks real. I’m tired of seeing Movies where it is the last game of season and everyone is using new gear, it looks like Minnie Pearl with the price tag still on her store bought hat.

    I’ve seen every movies you’ve listed, Bill, and I enjoyed all of them. It’s like you said, it depends on when in life you saw them.

  3. Bruce Bumbalough Says:

    Second the motion for The Rookie (Dennis Quaid).

    Another I liked almost as well was Kevin Costner in For Love of the Game.

    For what it’s worth, SABR is producing a book called “Baseball and the Movies” sometime in 2017.

  4. Rick B. Says:

    I like all of your choices, Bill, both from your childhood & adulthood – I have every one of those movies on DVD.

    As for other favorites, I’ll go third on “The Rookie” & add the following:

    “61*” = a made-for-cable movie about Mantle & Maris chasing Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1961

    “42” = the movie about Jackie Robinson that came out just a few years back

    “Major League” = the original, though even Tom Berenger later admitted, “We sure did cuss a lot in that movie.”

    “Long Gone” = another made-for-cable movie about a fictional 1950s minor-league team (the Tampico Stogies – no doubt the name was inspired by the real-life Tampa Smokers of that time period) – this one can be a bit difficult to find these days

    I also have mixed emotions about “Mr. Baseball” – sometimes I like it & sometimes not so much (guess it depends on my mood) – Tom Selleck’s character is pretty obnoxious; however, from what people I know who have lived in Japan have told me, the whole culture shock and Americans as “Gaijin” aspects are pretty accurate.

    And, lastly, my guilty pleasure, “A League of their Own.” I normally can’t stand Madonna or Rosie O’Donnell, but they don’t even bother me in this movie. It’s a well-done film, and it has given us the classic line, “There’s no crying in baseball.”

  5. Dennis Corcoran Says:

    Hi Bill.
    I liked reading your lists as well as the comments from four of your readers. I’ve seen many of them but my favorite was “42.” I make reference to it in my Powerpoint presentation about baseball discrimination called, “Remember 42, Now Here is the Rest of the Story.” I will be doing this on Martin Luther King Weekend (January 15th) for my church, Holy Innocents in Pleasantville, New York.
    As I might have told you already I witnessed racial discrimination when I was the manager of the Villanova Men’s Basketball Team in 1963.

  6. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Agree with the additions: 61*, The Rookie and 42. The Natural gets bumped for not being true to the Malamud book. Too many liberties to keep the name. The older movies are ok for the stadium shots but the action sequences are terrible (Fear Strikes Out, Pride of, Babe Ruth)…not even watchable. Add The Bronx is Burning. And I like A league of their own, too. Probably the only movie with Madonna and Rosie I’ve watched.

  7. gregclucas Says:

    Somewhat amused that the two Joe E. Brown movies were listed in your “adult” listing when they were older than anything on your “kids” listing. The fact is there have sure been a lot of baseball movies and they are not done. I read somewhere a Clemente movie is in the works to be shot in two languages.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      I was counting on you noting that Joe E. Brown irony, Greg. The explanation is easy. I never got to see any of the early Joe E. Brown baseball movies until midlife, when the age of Turner Classic Movies descended upon us like manna from heaven upon a Hollywood desert of car chase and special effect films, I loved them. The part of my brain that still loves visual comedy simply fell in love with Joe’s work. I had to put Joe on one of my lists, but he only fit in with the part of me that still loved some “kid stuff” bursts of brilliance as a grown up,

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