Baseball has been, and forever will be, my favorite sport. I played it as a kid and still occasionally hit the diamond with some of my friends on a beautiful day.
It is my passion, and it is why I have spent my time here on Bleacher Report writing about that passion. For this reason, my interests naturally gravitate towards sports movies, baseball in particular.
Who can forget these timeless quotes?
"You're killing me Smalls!!"—The Sandlot
"Remember the three R's in baseball Henry: Rest, Re-cooperation, and Conditioning."—Rookie of the Year
"Is this heaven?" "No, it's Iowa."—Field of Dreams
"Well, I guess there's only one thing left to do then...win the whole thing."—Major League
"There's no crying in baseball!!"—A League of Their Own
You baseball fans know what I'm talking about here. Imagine the first time you saw The Sandlot and imagined yourself as Benny Rodriguez. Kicking the dirt off of your sneakers and wearing that old beat up jersey, only to hammer a home run over that infamous fence.
Maybe it was dreams of managing a team like in Little Big League or to seemingly come out of nowhere to become one of the best baseball players of all time in The Natural.
Whatever these movies meant to you, I hope you enjoy a trip with me down memory lane.
The following movies held a dream, lit a candle, or brought some sort of joy into my life at one point or another.
Below is my list of my top-10 favorite baseball movies of all time.
10) A League of Their Own (1992)
I had always been a history nut, and because this movie took place during WWII, I was interested. What this movie meant to me was an interesting twist to the ol' classic. The players were women. At the time, I couldn't fathom women playing professional baseball, but after watching the movie, I was hooked.
The lasting friendship between Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and her younger sister Kit Keller (Lori Petty) reminded me of some of my own friendships. Brothers fight, friends split up and eventually meet up again.
Who could forget coach Jimmy Dougan (Tom Hanks) and his hot-tempered personality, which reminded me of myself.
The movie, for me, encased a team full of players that had specialized talents, but hadn't been able to showcase them because it was forbidden for women to play the game. In the end, all of them fully realized their potential and created something that they would never forget.
9) Bull Durham (1988)
This movie may be a little low for some people, but it still made my top 10. Contrary to many of the movies I had listed, this movie is placed entirely in the minor leagues.
The movie encapsulated many of the friendships I had throughout my life. The clash between "Crash" Davis (Kevin Costner) and Ebby "Nuke" LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) was hysterical and realistic.
Davis is sent down to the minors to essentially help Nuke become a better pitcher. To me, that's how I had friends. We didn't necessarily see eye to eye, but in the end, things turned out for the best.
8) Little Big League (1994)
When I saw this movie, I immediately imagined myself as a manager of a big-league team. Who wouldn't? If you had the knowledge, then the sky's the limit. Billy Heywood (Luke Edwards) inherits the Minnesota Twins after his grandfather, Thomas Heywood (Jason Robards Jr.), dies and leaves the team to him.
Just think about it. How cool would it be to run a ballclub when you're barely even in your teens? When this movie came out, I was about the same age and the thought of doing this was mind-blowing.
7) The Rookie (2002)
More into my current generation, this movie told the tale of a 40-year-old high school coach/teacher that somehow realized he could possibly make it to the big leagues.
The movie entails the true story of Jimmy Morris (Dennis Quad), who eventually realizes his full potential, even as he thinks his dreams of a being a ballplayer had passed him by. The movie reminded me that dreams, no matter how high and far they can be, may just actually come true.
6) 61* (2001)
I first viewed this movie with one of my close friends here on Bleacher Report, Micheal Robinson, who is a huge Yankees fan. At the time, I was aware of some of the history of the Yankees; however, this movie showed me how, even during the 1960s, people could place such pressure and ridicule on others.
Roger Maris' (Barry Pepper) struggles with trying to break the infamous single-season, home-run mark, set by Babe Ruth, of 60. Competing with his fellow teammate Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane), his quest for 61 home runs finally comes, but is historically stamped with an asterisk. This was because Babe Ruth completed his run in 154 games instead of the 162 that was needed for Maris.
In my bio, I mentioned that I really started to watch baseball in 1998, with the home-run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. This movie flashes back to Big Mac's breaking of Maris' record, which ultimately made me come full circle.
5) Major League (1989)
One of the best times I ever had watching a movie. Major League had me laughing until my side hurt, and I was yelling at my TV set when the Indians played the New York Yankees in a one-game playoff to go to the postseason.
Rick Vaughn's (Charlie Sheen) hilarious scene with him taking the head off of a batting dummy after a high-90s fastball was priceless. Willie Mays "Hayes" (Wesley Snipes) sudden stop on the base paths after a stolen base attempt added to the comedy. A great movie that really meant a lot to me.
4) The Sandlot (1993)
This movie had me quoting nearly every line for years on end. It reminded me of an old lot that I used to play in when I was younger, and the movie obviously baited me hook, line, and sinker.
Even the neighborhood reminded me of my childhood. The infamous fence that separated the lot from the neighboring house was genius. To me, it symbolized a kid's fear of the unknown, but the initial fear was overcome, with a prize of a 1927 New York Yankees signed ball waiting on the other side.
The movie was filled with moments I'll never forget, like the hero worship of Babe Ruth and the showdown between Benny and "The Beast", just to name a few. When the friends moved on with their lives, it reminded me of all the friends I had that moved away. Fantastic movie.
3) The Natural (1984)
A true, classic baseball movie. A true underdog story. As Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) moves up through the ranks in the minors, his career is cut short after a tragic encounter with a sinister woman (Barbara Hershey) shoots him.
16 years later, Hobbs returns to the New York Knights, and using a bat he carved out of a branch that was struck by lightning, he quickly becomes one of the best sluggers in the league.
The story has many ups and downs, plus very dramatic moments, like knocking the cover off the ball and hammering a towering shot into the lights to win the game. The infamous musical score made a huge impression on me that lasted for years.
2) Rookie of the Year (1993)
A lot of you probably would never have this movie up so far on your lists, but hear me out.
This movie made a connection with me and my friends, which lasted for years. I still recite the lines from the movie and several of the movie's clips are spread out through my Myspace page.
One of the most hilarious films I ever witnessed. Daniel Stern's character made me nearly fall on the floor with his lines. The constant mispronunciation of Henry Rowengartner's (Thomas Ian Nicholas) name by the Chicago Cubs' manager was classic.
The movie, overall, had a plot that was absurd, with Rowengartner's injury, eventually claiming him stardom in the major leagues; however, to me, the story was more about how an ordinary kid stumbles his way into an extraordinary circumstance that could never be foreseen.
Not all of us are graced with being athletes, and this movie gave me comfort that they "scored one for the little guy."
1) Field of Dreams (1989)
This movie had me wanting to know what was in that cornfield so badly. I desperately wanted to know what was making Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) plow under his crop to build a baseball diamond.
This movie made me believe that there was more to life beyond the ordinary and the mundane. It made me really take a look at my own relationship with my father and how it could be better.
The movie made such an impact on me; I eventually had to take my dad to a game myself. The game of baseball almost seemed to compel me to do so. It screamed for me to be with my dad on a hot summer day. It was American. It was real.
Honorable mention: For The Love of the Game and Pride of the Yankees