Best 9 Baseball Movies

The first 2 games of the 2021 World Series are played at the Juice Box.

That's what Houstonians fondly call Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros.

Maybe if we win the World Series again, some discerning movie producer will make a movie about our Astros. Anything is possible. In the meantime, there are many baseball movies out there.

Here are some of my favorites, and it was not easy ranking these except for the one in my top slot. I'll link each title to where you can watch it free or buy it.

Best 9 Baseball Movies

1. Field of Dreams is available on Amazon in a variety of formats and supposedly free on Peacock, which I could not verify.

This fantasy movie is based on Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella.  A short story, "Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa," by the late Mr. Kinsella grew into a novel.

The novel ended up being filmed as Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner as Ray, Amy Madigan as his devoted but assertive wife (she is fabulous in this!), and James Earl Jones as the writer who longs to believe in a dream.

Field of Dreams is flawless. It's one of my all-time fave movies, not just a favorite baseball movie. I've seen it dozens of times and never get tired of it. It gets the top spot.

2. The Rookie was released in 2002 and is available for rent or purchase on Amazon. Unfortunately, I could not find any service that offers it free. 

This biopic starred Dennis Quaid as Jim Morris, a high school science teacher who lost his dream of playing in the big leagues because of an injury, and Rachel Griffiths as his wife who understands his desire to chase his dream when his pitching arm suddenly seems recovered—even though he is now in his 30's. She understands but she's also a realist and knows there are bills to pay. It's an underdog story that will make your heart swell.

Quaid and Griffiths are perfect as a couple whose love has carried them through the bad times and is still with them as they've settled into life in a small Texas town. 

3. Major League is available to rent, buy, or stream on Amazon. You can also stream it on several subscription services, but it's supposed to be free on Pluto.

This 1989 comedy stars Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Wesley Snipes, and Rene Russo when they were all young and gorgeous.

The always losing Cleveland Indians have a scheming new owner who wants them to be the biggest losers of baseball so she can move the team to Miami. What ensues is irresisitably funny.

4. A League of Their Own is available to rent or buy from Amazon. Supposedly, it can be streamed free on Crackle. I couldn't verify that.

Released in 1992, this comedy has more heart than many movies about guys playing baseball. Based on the true story of how women saved baseball during World War II, I never think of this as a Tom Hanks film. I think of it as a women's ensemble movie about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) that was created in 1943.

The film stars Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O'Donnell, Ann Cusack, Tracy Reiner, and Anne Ramsey. Be sure and watch it.

5. Bull Durham from 1988 is one you've probably seen on TV cut to pieces. If you've never seen it without interruptions, do yourself a favor and watch it. It's available in a variety of formats on Amazon, and you're supposed to be able to stream it free on Pluto.

Starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Trey Wilson, this film is funny, sexy, emotional, and delivers the way a great movie should. This movie is where Sarandon and Robbins met and fell in love. (As far as I know, they're still in love.) There was just something magical about this movie.

6. The Natural released in 1984 is available in a variety of formats for rent or purchase on Amazon. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a free online streaming source. 

Barry Levinson, the director, didn't follow the book by Bernard Malamud. He made the movie to show Roy Hobbs, portrayed by Robert Redford, as a hero who lives happily ever after.

I really didn't mind because the movie was emotional, romantic, larger than life, and set in the era when baseball was king. 

When I think of this movie, I immediately think of the scene where Glenn Close rises from her seat in the stadium with a halo of light around her. It still gives me goosebumps.

The stellar cast includes Kim Basinger as sometimes love interest Memo Paris, Barbara Hershey as the obsessed, unstable woman Harriet Bird, Wilford Brimley as Pop Fisher, and Glenn Close as Iris Gaines. Then there are Robert Duvall, Richard Farnsworth, Robert Prosky, Michael Madsen, and Joe Don Baker.

7. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings can be rented or bought on Amazon. It's also available for free on Tubi.

If you've never seen this movie, I'm sad for you. Released in 1976, it has an amazing cast with Billy Dee Williams, the great James Earl Jones, and Richard Pryor, one of the funniest stand-up comics ever.

Set in the 1930s, back in the bad old days of segregation, it's about a group of Negro League baseball stars who didn't let that stop them from putting together a traveling team that makes the country love them and the way they play ball. You'll love this film. It has heart, soul, and humor.

8. The Sandlot was supposed to be a kids' movie, but grownups embraced it—maybe because we all remembered playing baseball in someone's yard in the summertime. It can be found for rent or sale on Amazon. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a free streaming source for this film.

Released in 1993, this classic seems to get better with time. After you've seen this movie, if you ever go to a ball game and see someone wearing a T-shirt that says: "You're killin' me, Smalls!" you'll know that came from this movie.
You may not recognize Art LaFleur, Tom Guiry, and Mike Vitar as big stars, but watch for the big star who pops up in the movie! This film is heartwarming, funny, and nostalgic.

9. The Battered Bastards of Baseball released in 2014 is a Netflix orginal documentary and is not available elsewhere. You can watch the trailer on YouTube.

Okay, this, technically, is not a movie, but if you're a baseball fan, you'll want to watch this documentary narrated by Kurt Russell. His father Bing Russell owned a baseball team. Bing Russell was an actor who played the sheriff on the old TV series Bonanza. I think baseball fans now recognize him as the man who started a minor league baseball team in Portland.

In 1973, Bing Russell started an independent minor league baseball team consisting of outcasts and misfits, and turned them into unlikely overnight success. The team was the Portland Mavericks, and what happened next is quite a remarkable story.

Takeaway Truth

These are some of the best baseball films movies made in my generation. They're keepers. I hope you watch some of them. Play ball!

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