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35 Best Baseball Movies Of All Time Ranked

In 1898, Thomas Edison produced "The Ball Game," the first baseball "movie" (in actuality, a camera pointed at two teams playing) to take advantage of the new medium he had a hand in creating. By the year 1915, the emerging glow of the silent era brought moviegoers "Little Sunset" and  "Right Off the Bat," the first full-length, narrative feature films about America's pastime. 

From the earliest days of the cinema, baseball became a popular setting, as the sport was experiencing an explosion in popularity paralleled only by the rise of moving pictures. The two were naturally compatible: a hitter working the count has all the tension of a Hitchcockian thriller; a home run blast can be every bit as exciting as a Michael Bay explosion; dramatic game-saving catches and big hits can turn a story around as effectively as any M. Night Shyamalan twist.

More than 120 years later (!), some of the greatest films ever made are about a game of inches; more often than not, the action on the field is saying so much more about the people beyond it. Inspirational tales of underdogs, redemptive storylines, adversity faced and the joys (and absurdities) of being a grown man playing a kid's game for a living. At their best, baseball films can make us laugh, cry, or leave us stunned in disbelief.

From dramas and comedies to musicals and family films, these are the best baseball movies ever made, ranked from worst to best.

Updated on May 5, 2022: The baseball movie genre is still going strong, and as we get fresh takes on our favorite fastball flicks, we'll be sure to keep this list updated with any instant classics of the American pastime.

35. The Babe (1992)

While some baseball biopics focus on a long-time player's darkest moments and biggest challenges, Arthur Hiller's "The Babe" largely downplays many of the real life controversies surrounding Yankees legend Babe Ruth, focusing instead on his rise to prominence and what made him such an inspirational larger-than-life personality at a time when he would frequently out-homer entire teams. But it doesn't entirely shy away from what makes Ruth a complicated icon to this day.

From his big home runs to his bigger smile, the John Goodman-starring film follows Ruth from his days swinging a bat in the Baltimore streets, to his time with the Red Sox, and eventually the New York Yankees. It also tells how Babe's obsessive personality drove away his wife, and how he struggled during his later years when his talent was waning. Above all, "The Babe" tells a complete story of the man who would be the home run king.

  • Starring: John Goodman, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger, Bruce Boxleitner
  • Director: Arthur Hill
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 47%

34. Past The Bleachers (1995)

If you ever wanted to see MacGyver coach a baseball team, here's your chance. But be warned, the subject matter is heavier than an Adam Wainwright sinker.

"Past The Bleachers" tells the touching story of Bill (Richard Dean Anderson) and Harper (Glynnis O'Connor) Parish, two parents who've recently lived through the worst sort of tragedy after the death of their son. With Bill suffering serious depression, family friend Hilton (Ken Jenkins) wants to help him find some kind of healing, and offers him the chance to coach his son's old little league team. 

Bill finds himself drawn to more than the game when he meets an unusual young player named Lucky Diamond (Grayson Fricke), who is dealing with troubles of his own. But as Bill and the boy bond, Lucky becomes an inspiration to his teammates, while Bill slowly come to terms with his son's death, and finds new hope, too. A mostly forgotten flick, "Past The Bleachers" may be tough to track down, but it's one of the better sports movies offered up as a made-for-television feature.

  • Starring: Richard Dean Anderson, Barnard Hughes, Glynnis O'Connor
  • Director: Michael Switzer
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: N/A

33. Long Gone (1987)

Though the premise isn't particularly novel, you'll find things to love in the period setting and impressive cast of this forgotten TV baseball movie with several young faces of people you'll recognize. 

It all starts with the losing baseball team the Tampico Stogies, a lowly, unlovable Class D ballclub in the 1950s whose owners want nothing more than to sell the team to anyone willing to pay. Their games get little attendance, their roster is full of mediocre talent, and they just can't seem to win. But aging veteran and player-manager Stud Cantrell (William Petersen) has other ideas, and wants to prove the team can compete. If he can turn the Stogies' fortunes around, he's hoping to convince the owners against a sale, keeping the team in Tampico. But to do it, he'll have to recruit a few new players, including a scrappy infielder named Jamie Weeks (Dermot Mulroney) and power hitting backstop Joe Brown (Larry Riley), who takes heat from fans for the color of his skin. Together they'll face obstacles, woo a few ladies, and try to lay off the high heat.

  • Starring: William Peterson, Virginia Madsen, Dermot Mulroney
  • Director: Martin Davidson
  • Runtime: 113 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: N/A

32. Fever Pitch (2005)

AKA the Red Sox movie that angered Red Sox fans (in the middle of their first World Series win in 86 years, Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon were in the middle of the celebration making out in an attempt to film an ending), this remake of a movie based on a Nick Hornby autobiographical essay about soccer centers on a schoolteacher/diehard Sox fan (Fallon) whose budding romance with an executive (Barrymore) hits the skids in the summer, as his obsession with the game interferes with their love life. 

Over time, Fallon's character teachers her all about Tony C, Bill Buckner, the joys of watching Carlton Fisk jump and the thrill of the Boston baseball club's very real, very improbable run to the 2004 World Series. First and foremost a romantic comedy, if you like the idea of Fallon and Barrymore as a couple, "Fever Pitch" might be worth taking a swing at.

  • Starring: Jimmy Fallon, Drew Barrymore, JoBeth Williams
  • Director: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
  • Runtime:
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%

31. Mr. Baseball (1992)

One of TV star Tom Selleck's best movies, "Mr. Baseball" centers on Jack Elliot, a washed up veteran slugger. When he is pushed aside to make room for newcomer Ricky Davis (played by a young, future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas) the team stuns Elliot by packaging him in a trade. But he's not shipped off to Cleveland or Baltimore, but to the Nagoya Chunichi Dragons, halfway across the world. Now, Jack must adapt to a new culture on top of a league that plays a very different style of ball.

Eventually, Jack discovers that the Dragons are a group of talented ballplayers eager to befriend their new American teammate. Suddenly contributing to a team on the verge of their own league title, the jaded Elliot must put aside his selfishness if he wants to win the championship— and the heart of his manager's daughter. Though it may not have received rave reviews, "Mr. Baseball" remains a delightfully breezy comedy worth watching for its charismatic star. There are plenty of laughs along the basepaths, and its solid baseball action adds a dose of authenticity.

  • Starring: Tom Selleck, Dennis Haysbert, Ken Takakura
  • Director: Fred Schepisi
  • Runtime: 108 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 12%

30. Hardball (2001)

Believe it or not after "The Matrix," Keanu Reeves appeared in a pair of sports movies: the offbeat football flick "The Replacements" and this one, a baseball cinderella story about inner city kids. 

Reeves plays Conor O'Neill, a down-on-his luck ticket scalper and compulsive gambler up to his eyeballs in debt with no way of getting out of it. As part of a deal to make good with a loan shark, O'Neill takes a job coaching a little league team in the worst of the Chicago projects. At first, the cynical new coach is only doing it for the money, but quickly bonds with the team of lovable losers and helps turn the inner city kids into a winning team. He also becomes smitten with one of the boys' school teachers, eventually becoming more than just a coach, but a friend and mentor to the struggling kids. Inspired by the book "Hardball: A Season in the Projects," the baseball action takes a back seat to the story of one man — and a group of troubled kids looking for redemption and purpose.

  • Starring: Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane, John Hawkes, Michael B. Jordan
  • Director: Arthur Hill
  • Runtime: 106 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 41%

29. Million Dollar Arm (2014)

Inspired by the true story of a reality contest run by a prominent baseball executive, "Million Dollar Arm" follows J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) as he journeys around the world looking for that next great, mythical Major League Baseball-caliber fastball hurler. But rather than look at colleges, high schools, and independent baseball leagues, Bernstein sets up a contest in India, offering a large cash reward and the opportunity to train professionally in the United States. 

Two serious contenders emerge in Indian cricket-playing teens Dinesh and Rinku, who prove themselves to have strong arms, but no knowledge of baseball. Brought to American shores, the two teens struggle to adjust to a new culture, but Bernstein maintains high hopes for them both. A story of family, faith, and friendship, "Million Dollar Arm" is an emotional and uplifting true story. 

Fun Fact: Although both pitchers never rose above Class A ball, Rinku Singh went on to become a WWE wrestler.

  • Starring: Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Lake Bell
  • Director: Craig Gillespie
  • Runtime: 124 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%

28. Rookie Of The Year (1993)

A feel-good family film, the 1993 comedy "Rookie Of The Year" puts a kid phenom on the pitcher's mound. The story begins when lamentable little leaguer Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nichols) breaks his arm during a game and discovers that it healed with the ability to throw a baseball with the speed and skill of the best major league fireballers. Showing off as a spectator at Chicago's Wrigley Field, the beleaguered Cubs quickly sign the youngster, who becomes their star attraction thanks to the tutelage of fading veteran hurler Chet Steadman (Gary Busey), who just so happens to be Henry's idol.

Now, Henry has to adjust to the grown-up world of big league ball while battling for a pennant, losing friends who resent his ascent to stardom. Henry's mother is fighting to keep his feet on the ground as her greedy boyfriend plots behind their back with the team's corrupt general manager to sell his contract. 

  • Starring: Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey, Amy Morton
  • Director: Daniel Stern
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 35%

27. Soul Of The Game (1996)

This made-for-TV movie was a prestige effort from HBO films, but turned out to be one of the better (if less heralded) baseball films of its decade.

Telling the true story of three of the Negro League's best players at a time when modern-day recognition of the league had only just begun to take hold (in 2020, MLB announced that the athlete's stats would be entered into its official records), "Game" brings viewers the starkly-contrasted yet similar in struggle Jackie Robinson (Blair Underwood), Satchel Paige (Delroy Lindo), and Josh Gibson (Mykelti Williamson). 

When Branch Rickey (Edward Herrmann), the General Manager of the big league Brooklyn Dodgers, comes looking for the first Black player to break into the majors, it becomes clear that the chance to break through to the majors is going to go to one of them. Paige is the league's best pitcher, Gibson the biggest slugger, and Robinson the best all-around athlete.

The film details Rickey's search for a characteristic beyond the box score: Someone with enough maturity, spiritual toughness, and timeless wisdom to withstand the adversities that will come with being Major league Baseball's first Black player. 

  • Starring: Delroy Lindo, Mykelti Williamson, Edward Herrmann, Blair Underwood
  • Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

26. Cobb (1994)

One of the greatest, and most detestable, Hall Of Famers ever, Ty Cobb was known for his sizzling bat, dazzling speed on the bases, and ill-temper towards all who came into his line of fire.

The hot-headed "Georgia Peach" had a penchant for heavy drinking and fights on and off the field (according to one legend, he began beating up a fan, noticed the man had no hands, but continued anyway). This unflinching Ron Shelton-directed flick dramatizes his complicated life, showing him as a loudmouthed racist, abusive husband, and ruthless competitor known for sliding into bases spikes-high. 

It shows Cobb's troubled upbringing, uneasy relationship with his estranged daughter, and is bookended by scenes of an elderly Cobb reflecting on his life and career. An impressive drama that doesn't hold back, it makes little attempt to sanitize Cobb's flaws or downplay the despicable real life ballplayer's boorish attitudes. Star Tommy Lee Jones delivers a masterful performance as the man with the highest lifetime batting average ever, who retired in 1941 with records that were impressive then, and some still standing today.

  • Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Wuhl, Lolita Davidovitch
  • Director: Ron Shelton
  • Runtime: 128 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%

25. The Sandlot (1993)

One of the most iconic kids films of the 1990s, "The Sandlot" may not aim to depict any big leaguers (except, perhaps, the ghost of the Great Bambino), but it has nonetheless become a classic of the sport. 

A beloved coming-of-age baseball story that defined a generation, it plays like "Stand By Me" with a Babe Ruth baseball. It introduces Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry), a young boy who moves to a new neighborhood and soon joins a ragtag group of kids who play a never-ending game in the titular sandlot around the corner. Eager to fit in with the rough and tumble foul-mouthed kids, Scotty gets into all kinds of scrapes and misadventures alongside them, learning valuable life lessons along the way — and equally important, how to catch a fly ball. 

In an era when kids explored new frontiers in their own backyard, and got into trouble with the kids they'd meet along the way, "The Sandlot" captured the pioneering spirit of childhood. Fun, amusing, and heartwarming, "The Sandlot" is an American classic.

  • Starring: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi
  • Director: David Mickey Evans
  • Runtime: 101 Minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%

24. The Phenom (2016)

Loosely inspired by the career of Cardinals pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel, "The Phenom" is about a young rookie hurler who inexplicably develops "the yips," losing his ability to throw pitches anywhere near the plate. 

After suffering repeated meltdowns in the playoffs on the game's biggest stage, Ankiel ... er ... Hopper Gibson (played by Johnny Simmons) is sent down to the minor leagues to get back the unhittable stuff he previously had. But the problems are more mental than physical, so Hopper is matched up with a sports psychologist who helps him get to the heart of his problem: a troubled relationship with his father.

Together, the pitcher and doctor work through deeply-rooted problems they are both facing. In real life, Ankiel would later return to the majors as a hitter, forging an above-average career as an outfielder. Far from the fast-paced baseball action of other films on this list, "The Phenom" is a thoughtful look into the mind of a player struggling with issues off the field that affect his performance on it.

  • Starring: Ethan Hawke, Paul Giamatti, Johnny Simmons
  • Director: Noah Buschel
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

23. For Love Of The Game (1999)

Between movies like "Draft Day," "Tin Cup," and "American Flyers," Kevin Costner might be the king of sports movies, and he has made no fewer than three films about baseball, including the 1999 gem "For Love Of The Game." Here he stars as veteran pitcher Billy Chapel, finishing off what will be his final season before retirement at age forty. On the last place Detroit Tigers, his dreams of winning a World Series have faded, but he one last start left against the Yankees, who can clinch a playoff spot if they can beat him.

In the final game of his career, Billy hopes to play spoiler — and he soon realizes he might be dealing one of the rarest of baseball feats: A perfect game. As the pressure mounts, he thinks back to his rocky relationship with girlfriend Jane (Kelly Preston). It's a surprisingly romantic sports drama from beloved director Sam Raimi, whose next film would be Marvel's "Spider-Man." But the star is Costner, who imbues Chapel with a pathos and reserved determination for which it's easy to cheer.

  • Starring: Kevin Costner, John C. Reilly, Kelly Preston, Brian Cox, J.K. Simmons
  • Director: Sam Raimi
  • Runtime: 138 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 46%

22. Fear Strikes Out (1957)

Long before modern Major League Baseball players were melting down, Jimmy Piersall made a name for himself with fistfights, on-field antics and backwards homeruns. In those days, however, little was known about the dangers of bipolar disorder; this baseball exploitation film, released three years before Anthony Perkins would terrify audiences in "Psycho," isn't always great — but it does capture the mindset of a late '50s era where athleticism, mental illness and societal pressure intersected in one young man's troubled career.

"Fear Strikes Out" chronicles Piersall's early struggles under a domineering father (Karl Malden, who in a classic scene forces young Jimmy to play catch until his hand is bloody), and how the major leagues became a demented stage on which to finally prove to the man that he was good enough. When Piersall makes it to the bigs, the stresses of the game take an additional toll, and he is committed to a mental institution to treat worsening disorders that leave him unable to play the game.

In real life, Piersall disowned the film and its portrayal of his father as the cause of his problems. Nevertheless, Piersall was subjected to electroconvulsive therapy (which the film portrays in a positive light), but emerged as a mental illness advocate, an MLB veteran of 17 seasons, and broadcaster who oversaw the infamous Disco Demolition Night

In the end, "Fear Strikes Out" is a baseball movie about one of MLB's all-time fascinating personalities, presenting the tale a haunted man trying to live up to his father's dream while never knowing his own. 

  • Starring: Anthony Perkins, Karl Malden, Norma Moore
  • Director: Robert Mulligan
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

21. Damn Yankees (1958)

The musical sports comedy "Damn Yankees" became a classic that transcended the sports genre; like many of the best baseball movies, it depicts a down-and-out losing ballclub — this time, the Washington Senators — facing off with the vaunted New York Yankees teams of the '50s. 

It all starts when one of their biggest fans, Joe Boyd (Robert Shafer), is tired of watching his team lose and makes a deal with the devil to turn the team around and finally beat the Yankees. In exchange for his soul, Boyd is magically transformed into a young talented athlete named Joe Hardy (Tab Hunter), a superstar slugger who proceeds to lead the Senators to a winning record with high-flying home runs and dazzling shoestring catches, until the team is ready for one more fateful showdown with the Bronx Bombers. But when Joe considers backing out of the arrangement after he laments losing his wife, the devil introduces him to the alluring siren Lola (Gwen Verdon), in an attempt to keep him motivated.

  • Starring: Tab Hunter, Gwen Verdon, Ray Walston
  • Director: George Abbott, Stanley Donen
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

20. A League Of Their Own (1992)

The Penny Marshall comedy "A League Of Their Own" was an absolute phenomenon back in its day, further cementing Tom Hanks' reputation as one of the most beloved actors of his generation while building a rare female-centered film around memorable performances from Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell, Lori Petty, Madonna and more — all based on a true, largely forgotten, slice of American history.

The film tells the story an all-women baseball league that sprung up at the tail end of World War II, when many of America's men were off fighting Nazis. Loosely inspired by the real life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, we meet Dottie Hinson (Davis) and her sister Kit (Petty), who are trying out for the emerging new league. 

Eventually they join the Rockford Peaches, whose manager Jimmy Dugan (Hanks) is a bitter malcontent whose major league career ended prematurely thanks to alcohol abuse. Together they face the trials and tribulations of battling for a league title while dealing with the problems of keeping the homefront happy during the war. Like the best baseball movies, "A League Of Their Own" brings together a diverse group of oddballs to form a winning team to tell an underdog story for the ages.

  • Starring: Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell, Madonna, Lori Petty
  • Director: Penny Marshall
  • Runtime: 128 Minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

19. The Natural (1984)

Barry Levinson's magnum opus on the beauty, danger and moral compromise inherent in being both a baseball player and an American is at times more idealistic than its source novel by Bernard Malamud, but what it lacks in reality it more than makes up for with all-time stunning visuals of majesty and awe.

Who can forget Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) playing catch in the fields? The Whammer (Joe Don Baker), calling his shot as the sun goes down behind a winding-up Hobbs? Demented Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey) with her still-smoking gun or Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley) and Red (Richard Farnsworth) in the dugout, whistling name-that-tunes as the Knights warm up on the field?  

One of the most beloved baseball films of all time (and one that still inspires "Wonder Boy" merchandise to this day), an iconic performance from Redford and powerful score by Randy Newman fuels its emotional resonance. It tells the story of Hobbs, a talented young ballplayer with dreams of superstardom are derailed when he takes a bullet to the stomach during a fateful encounter with a disgruntled female fan.

A decade later, he resurfaces in his mid-30s as a rookie with a middling ballclub, where he proceeds to make a name for himself as a gifted hitter. But when his past begins to catch up to him, Roy becomes determined to do the right thing and get his team to the playoffs. A triumph of filmmaking, "The Natural" was nominated for four Academy Awards.

  • Starring: Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger
  • Director: Barry Levinson
  • Runtime: 138 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

18. Major League (1989)

An '80s classic, "Major League" centers on the perennially last place Cleveland Guardians ... er, Indians, and a devious owner who wants to capitalize on their misfortune in the hopes of moving the team to a new city.

The Indians' irascible manager (a great James Gammon) and his group of eccentric misfit players — including fireballing Ricky "The Wild Thing" Vaughn, aging catcher Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger), prima donna third baseman Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen), wise-cracking base-stealer Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes) and superstitious slugger Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert) — become determined to win, just to spite ownership's plans. 

But it's not all roses, as rivalries within the team threaten to destroy their efforts. Punctuated by razor sharp comic performances from its oddball cast of characters, and as many memorable, quotable lines as any other comedy classic of the era, "Major League" launched a franchise with two follow-ups, but neither of the sequels could match the laughs provided by the original.

  • Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corben Bernsen, Wesley Snipes
  • Director: David S. Ward
  • Runtime: 106 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

17. It Happens Every Spring (1949)

While the title of this Ray Milland-starring family comedy might sound like it's about the birds and the bees, it's actually about the start of baseball season. 

The film introduces us to college professor/scientist Vernon K. Simpson (Milland), a brilliant chemist working on experimental substances when he makes a breakthrough that changes his life forever. His new chemical concoction, designed to repel insects, is altered by fate in a lab accident caused by a baseball crashing though his window. Now, the substance on the ball proves able to repel wood, making it a valuable weapon empowering even the worst pitcher in the majors to miss bats with regularity. 

With no baseball experience, Simpson heads to St. Louis with his new invention, where he quickly becomes a star for the major league Cardinals. With a signature screwball pitch (magically aided by his miracle mixture), Simpson takes the team to the World Series.

  • Starring: Ray Milland, Jean Peters, Paul Douglas
  • Director: Lloyd Bacon
  • Runtime: 87 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

16. Take Me Out To The Ball Game (1949)

Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly star as Dennis and Eddie, a pair of big leaguers with dreams of being vaudeville performers, pursuing their passion on the side. When a big time gambler learns of their love for the stage, he offers Eddie a part in a new production — all he has to do is throw a game. 

The fact that his girlfriend Ester — also an object of desire for Dennis — has just bought the ballclub complicates everything. A flight of fancy filled with feverishly fun song and dance numbers, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" soars with its stellar cast, and is a fine pairing of two of the era's biggest stars. 

  • Starring: Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Gene Kelly
  • Director: Busby Berkeley
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

15. Eight Men Out (1988)

The 1919 "Black Sox" scandal nearly killed baseball before it could soar, and the resulting suspicion of players "on the take" would fuel baseball movies for decades, from the aforementioned "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and "The Natural" to "Field of Dreams." With this John Sayles classic, the filmmaker lays out the corrosive events that corrupted a World Series, and the men who (perhaps unwittingly) contributed.

It's an unbelievable true story, and "Eight Men Out" succeeds in putting viewers back to the late 1910s, when the Chicago White Sox are already a legendary ballclub, with several sure-fire Hall of Famers on their roster, including Lefty Williams (James Read) and the immortal "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (D.B. Sweeney). Playing under the thumb of a penny-pinching owner (Clifton James), some frustrated players realize they can throw games for bigger money from high-rolling gamblers. 

With the World Series on their doorstep, a small group gets together to fix the championship series and nab a huge payout. But with ruthless Chicago gangsters involved, the scheme turns deadly when several players don't want to play along. A compelling dramatization of one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the game, "Eight Men Out" proves an engrossing sports drama that borders on a nail-biting thriller.

  • Starring: John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Charlie Sheen, Michael Rooker
  • Director: John Sayles
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

14. Angels In The Outfield (1951)

Some might be familiar with the 1994 Disney film "Angels In The Outfield" (starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Danny Glover), but while that remake had its charms, the Paul Douglas-starring original is even better. 

This version focuses on the last place Pittsburgh Pirates, and their bitter, foul-mouthed manager Guffy McGovern (Douglas), who is pursuing local writer Jenny Paige (Janet Leigh). When a young orphan girl named Bridget (Donna Corcoran) prays for the Pirates to win the pennant, Guffy's team becomes the recipient of miraculous help from angels up above. But to get their help — and win the heart of Paige — Guffy must change his attitude and become a better person. And when the orphaned Bridget comes forward to tell her tale of the angels' assistance, it creates all manner of problems for Guffy and his newly-minted winning team. A charming classic family film, the original "Angels In The Outfield" is a wholesome, whimsical romance at heart.

  • Starring: Paul Douglas, Janet Leigh
  • Director: Clarence Brown
  • Runtime: 99 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

13. The Rookie (2002)

This John Lee Hancock film was sandwiched in the Disney tradition of "Miracle" and "Remember the Titans" in telling an inspiring true story about athletes overcoming tremendous odds. 

Telling the real life story of Jim Morris — who made his MLB debut at age 35 after several arm surgeries, pitching two seasons for the Devil Rays — "Rookie" casts Dennis Quaid in the role and tracks him from high school science teacher/baseball coach to big leaguer. While coaching the high school team, Morris finds he has regained his fastball, and his players urge him to try out for a major league ball club. Reluctant, he makes his players a deal: if they can make it to the state playoffs, he'll try out for the nearby Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Against all odds, the team wins their district, and Morris finds himself signed to a minor league contract, rising through the ranks and debuting in the majors. A remarkable true story, "The Rookie" is enough to make anyone believe dreams can come true.

  • Starring: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Brian Cox
  • Director: John Lee Hancock
  • Runtime: 128 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

12. Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

A spiritual sequel to "Dazed and Confused," Richard Linklater's "Everybody Wants Some!!" further embraces the baseball elements of that flick — as well as a photo-real capture of its era and characters' overarching desire to hang out, smoke, drink and have a good time.

Set against the backdrop of 1980s college baseball, the film follows Jake Bradford (Blake Jenner), an all-state pitcher in high school who moves in with the rest of the baseball team in a dorm on campus known for rowdy behavior. As the new star player at the school, Jake is the underdog of the story, underestimated, hazed, and the target of his teammate's hilarious hijinks. Bradford and his fellow freshmen, along with upperclassmen, spend their time looking for girls and getting into classic '80s comedy trouble. 

While the team's coach tries setting boundaries for his team when off the diamond, there's no controlling Jake and the rest of his teammates. A surprisingly earnest coming of age story, it is worth tracking down, whether you're a fan of baseball, Linklater, or just good movies.

  • Starring: Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Wyatt Russell
  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Runtime: 116 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

11. Field Of Dreams (1989)

In the minds of many, this isn't simply the best baseball movie ever made — it might be among the best movies ever made. Nonetheless, RottenTomatoes puts its score at a staggering 87%.

Based on the 1982 novel "Shoeless Joe," "Field Of Dreams" introduces us to beleaguered farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner, in a performance still being celebrated decades later), grappling with the death of his father, the changing tenets of Reagan-era America, and a general sense that life is passing him by. It all changes one day out in his corn field, when he hears a voice.

Should he heed its urging whisper of "If you build it, he will come?" Should he risk the farm, his family and public humiliation by chasing a dream? 

Once constructed, his baseball diamond becomes populated by the ghosts of disgraced baseball players from the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal including his father's hero, the great "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta). They ask if this is heaven. "No," replies Ray. "It's Iowa."

What follows is an inspiring scavenger hunt of faith, sending Ray and what money he has left journeying around the country collecting Salinger-like writers (James Earl Jones) and small-town doctors who like to wink (Burt Lancaster/Frank Whaley). Sure enough, the experience helps Ray finally get to know the father he never understood — and if you don't have a tear for the classic "Wanna have a catch?" scene, you're icier than an Iowa lake in winter.

Nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture, "Field Of Dreams" has become a true American classic.

  • Starring: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Burt Lancaster
  • Director: Phil Alden Robinson
  • Runtime: 107 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

10. Sugar (2008)

From the writing and directing team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck ("Captain Marvel") comes the 2008 sports drama "Sugar," the story of Miguel "Sugar" Santos, a young pitcher in the Dominican Republic. 

In his small village, Sugar is a local celebrity and star at a baseball academy — but to the crowds filling ballparks in the United States he is a complete unknown. But it's Sugar's dream to make it to the big leagues in America, not only to play but so he can save his family from a life of poverty. He has made his ambition an obsession, and it finally pays off when he's selected by a major league club and enters the minor leagues. 

When his career begins to stumble, however, Sugar begins to question everything in which he's ever believed.

  • Starring: Algenis Perez Soto, Karl Bury, Michael Gaston
  • Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

9. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)

Boasting an amazing Black cast of budding legends (Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor, Stan Shaw), this film about a group of enterprising players who break free from the Negro leagues and launch a "barnstorming" tour around the Midwest is one of the most distinctive baseball films you might ever see. 

When charismatic Bingo Long (Williams) has had enough of being held back, he recruits a number of star players from across the Negro leagues; as they raise their profile and become a popular attraction, they set their sights on trying to break the color barrier. A stellar, funny sports film, "Bingo" shines its spotlight on a lesser-seen era in baseball history, propelled by early work from cinema notables.

  • Starring: Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor
  • Director: John Bedlam
  • Runtime: 110 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

8. The Stratton Story (1949)

If you're looking for photo-real accuracy in Jimmy Stewart's wind-up, look elsewhere. But "The Stratton Story" is nonetheless an endearing drama about a man who was briefly one of the best pitchers in the sport — and a tragic accident that brought his life into perspective.

An Oscar winner for its script, the film unfurls the tale of Stratton, a right-handed starter with the White Sox in the 1930s whose career was cut short after a hunting accident left him with one leg. We see Stratton's personal and professional journey to the majors, how he met his supportive wife (a terrific June Allyson), and their dreams of family and fame in his early days as an emerging pitcher. 

But when Monty is injured and doctors are left with no choice but to amputate his leg, he finds himself on a dark, downward spiral that threatens his life, marriage and whatever remains of a career. With the considerable support of the scout who discovered him (Frank Morgan), Monty embraces a prosthetic limb and makes it back to a major league mound, albeit briefly.

The emotional story of a man who beats the odds, "The Stratton Story" is a solid tale about an indomitable spirit.

  • Starring: James Stewart, June Allyson, Agnes Moorehead, Frank Morgan
  • Director: Sam Wood
  • Runtime: 106 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

7. 42 (2013)

If you liked "Soul of the Game" but want to learn more specifically about Jackie Robinson, this Brian Helgeland film brings to life the gripping tale of the only MLB player to have his number retired by every single team. It's all amplified by the spectacular Chadwick Boseman, another reminder of a talent gone too soon.

Following Jackie from his early days in the Negro Leagues to the Brooklyn Dodgers, the film tells the story of a man selected not just for his incredible talent, but by General Manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) for his toughness and spirit. Pairing that temperament with his talent, he endured brutal attacks on his character — as well as threats on his life — becoming the first Black man to play what was then an all-white sport. 

Led by Boseman's impressive performance as the legendary ballplayer, the film is both inspiring and at times tragic, as Robinson dealt with hatred from not just opposing fans, but even his own teammates. Ultimately, "42" is a powerful story of one man's courage and determination in the face of a world that doesn't want him to belong.

  • Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni
  • Director: Brian Helgeland
  • Runtime: 128 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

6. Bang The Drum Slowly (1973)

Starring Robert De Niro, just a year before "The Godfather, Part II" this sports drama is an underdog tale that follows Bruce Pearson (De Niro), light-hitting and slow-witted catcher for the fictional New York Mammoths baseball club, and his teammate and close friend, Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty), their superstar pitching phenom. 

When Bruce is diagnosed with a terminal illness and given little time left to live, Henry — whose contract is expiring — demands a new deal that will keep him and Bruce together as a pitching/catching tandem for the duration. Over the course of the season, Bruce's condition worsens, while the team's play improves, leading them into contention for a World Series title. The film shows the day-to-day life of a major league team as they experience the highs and lows of a season, but at the end of the day, "Bang The Drum Slowly" is a poignant, tragic tale of an underappreciated man, a story of friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice.

  • Starring: Robert De Niro, Michael Moriarty, Vincent Gardenia
  • Director: John Hancock
  • Runtime: 96 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

5. 61* (2001)

This HBO original film came from actor/baseball fan Billy Crystal, telling the story of the historic chase to break Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs in a season. Seeking 61 in 1961, two sluggers competed in the chase down the stretch, both on the same New York Yankees team: Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. 

Mantle was the fans' overwhelming favorite to beat the venerated record, but it would be Maris who would take home the honor (and nearly destroy himself in the process); the film tells a heartfelt story of the friendly rivalry between the two teammates and how they countered fan pressure by sticking together — particularly when it is decided late-in-season that the record can only be broken if they pass Ruth by game 154 of the 162 on heir schedule, thereby staying true to the shorter season of Ruth's achievement.

Beyond the on-the-field turmoil, the film depicts the all-too-real struggles Mantle had with alcohol, which unexpectedly put a wrinkle on the chase for that record-smashing homer.

  • Starring: Thomas Jane, Barry Pepper, Anthony Michael Hall
  • Director: Billy Crystal
  • Runtime: 129 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

4. Bull Durham (1988)

A sexy comedy starring '80s A-lister Kevin Costner as "Crash" Davis (a veteran catcher who has toiled his entire career in the lowly minor leagues) and Tim Robbins as Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh (a young phenom with a million dollar arm and a five-cent head), this Ron Shelton classic has the sights, smells and humor of the minors, but a major league script.

When the heavily-traveled Davis finds himself with the Durham Bulls, it isn't to develop his own career but instead to play babysitter for the big team's top prospect. As Davis clashes with Nuke, the tension is further escalated by a local teacher named Annie (Susan Sarandon), whose passion for the baseball diamond is rivaled only by her passions in the bedroom. Determined to take a lover and teach him the ropes, Annie enables a playoff series of sorts between the two men — who accept with varying degrees of reluctance.

Eventually, this animosity gives way to a genuine friendship, with Crash teaching Nuke what he needs to succeed in the "The Show." Perhaps the best baseball movie of the decade (although supporters of "Field of Dreams," "The Natural" and "Major League" might disagree), the differences between at least two of those films is perhaps best exemplified by their batboys: When one tries to become friends with Roy Hobbs, he helps the kid create the Savoy Special bat; when another offers Crash a word of support, he says "Shut up."

Propped up by endlessly charming performances from its star cast, "Bull Durham" is one of the all-time greats.

  • Starring: Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon
  • Director: Ron Shelton
  • Runtime: 108 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

3. The Bad News Bears (1976)

The quintessential kids sports movie of the '70s (and later remade by Linklater in 2005 with Billy Bob Thornton), this Walter Matthau-starring flick tells the story of a ragtag group of kids who come together to compete for a championship. 

The collection of troublesome upstarts overseen by Coach Buttermaker (Matthau) are the worst team in the region, but things change quickly when he recruits a pair of talented misfits to join the team: 11-year-old pitcher Amanda Wurlitzer (Tatum O'Neal) and slugger/Harley-riding Kelly leak (Jackie Earle Haley). 

This group of misfits prove irrepressible, and their unorthodox style makes for a successful mix of oddball characters easy to cheer for. A classic underdog story, it became a template for an entire subgenre of kids movies, but it is the film's raucous, risque tone — with children smoking and swearing, and a coach chugging beers in the dugout — that make it a hilariously endearing relic of a different era. 

  • Starring: Walter Matthau, Vic Morrow, Jackie Earle Haley, Tatum O'Neil, Joyce Van Patten
  • Director: Michael Ritchie
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

2. Pride Of The Yankees (1942)

Even if you aren't a baseball fan, the image is likely burned into your subconscious: A solitary, disease-stricken figure standing at home plate, telling a Yankee Stadium crowd: "Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

This film brings the story to life, casting Gary Cooper as baseball's legendary Iron Horse, who ironically enough was renowned for a durable athleticism that allowed him to play in more consecutive games than any other baseball player (Cal Ripken would break Gehrig's record in 1995); the New York legend would die at age 37 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease which would become known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. 

The film covers Gehrig's early days as an aspiring engineer, and how he first joined the baseball franchise against his mother's wishes. It dramatizes his early days with the team, his friendships with players like Babe Ruth and Bill Dickey (who appear in the film playing themselves), and his record-setting consecutive game streak. But the story goes beyond his fantastic feats on the field and chronicles his whirlwind love affair with his eventual wife Eleanor (Teresa Wright). A moving tale of life, love, and loss, it features a Hollywood star at his best, and was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

  • Starring: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Walter Brennan
  • Director: Sam Wood
  • Runtime: 28 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

1. Moneyball (2011)

The Aaron Sorkin-penned drama "Moneyball" tells the story of trailblazing baseball general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt). Thanks to new and unconventional theories on player evaluation, Beane turns a low payroll team who have just lost three of their marquee players into a championship contender against all odds. With the help of a young statistician named Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane assembles a group of ragtag misfit upstarts with value few others can see, but winning means bucking more than a hundred years of baseball tradition and making plenty of enemies who don't believe in his risky new ideas. 

The Bennett Miller film's critics are quick to point out that it largely omits any reference to the big 3 starting pitchers (Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito) and MVP (Miguel Tejada) who played enormous roles in making Beane's 2002 Athletics team successful, among other shortcomings of accuracy. Also, those "Moneyball" Beane teams won a grand total of zero World Series. 

But what makes this film special is how it uses a mix of archival television footage and dramatic recreation to tell the story of an improbable run that included a record-breaking 20 game winning streak. A critical darling, it was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture.

  • Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Chris Pratt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman
  • Director: Bennett Miller
  • Runtime: 133 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%