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25 Underrated Baseball Movies You Need To Watch

There's no need to explain why the genre of sports movies has long held appeal to audiences, with games offering up action, mystery, and nail-biting finishes. Some of the best films in Hollywood history have been sports classics, with a number of greats centered on America's pastime: Baseball. Whether that's a film about a bunch of Major League misfits or a rag-tag team of little leaguers, an award-winning biopic by a celebrated filmmaker, or a heartfelt family drama, there are plenty of baseball classics throughout cinema's long history.

But the best baseball movies out there certainly aren't the only ones. For every all-time great, there are many more that never seem to get their due. With a flood of new movies every year, it's inevitable that audiences miss out on these underrated gems, but it doesn't mean we have to let them stay on the bench forever. So crack open a cold one, or just get out those peanuts and crackerjacks, because: Here's a bunch of underrated baseball movies that you need to put on your watch list.

The Phenom

Plenty of famous baseball movies feature a young hotshot player making their way to the big leagues. But one 2016 drama took a more thoughtful approach than most, focusing not on a youngster's meteoric rise to stardom by playing for a perpetual underdog loser. Instead, "The Phenom" focuses on the psychological challenges that real young men often face when their talent has pundits punching their ticket to the Major Leagues before they've ever even played a professional game.

Inspired by the true story of Rick Ankiel, who played in the majors for the St. Louis Cardinals as both a starting pitcher and a middle-of-the-order hitter at different times, the film tells the story of Hopper Gibson (Johnny Simmons), a brilliant young pitcher who everyone believes will be a star. But when he suddenly finds himself with a case of the yips and unable to throw strikes, he's sent to sports psychologist Dr. Mobley (Paul Giamatti) to get to the root of the problem. Eventually, with Mobley's help, Gibson confronts his troubled upbringing, including his difficult relationship with his abusive father (Ethan Hawke).

As Yogi Berra once famously said, "Baseball is 90 per cent mental. The other half is physical," and "The Phenom" takes that paradoxical saying to heart. Though never given a wide release, the movie deserves credit for exploring how an athlete's struggles with mental health affect their performance on the field.

The Pride of St. Louis

Baseball fans and movie buffs in general are no doubt familiar with the 1942 classic "The Pride of the Yankees," which told the tragic life story of New York Yankees slugger Lou Gehrig, whose career was cut short due to an incurable disease. But much lesser known is that film's similarly titled cousin, the 1952 film "The Pride of St. Louis." This mostly-forgotten film was based on the story of another Hall of Fame player, chronicling the life and career of star pitcher Dizzy Dean. 

From his humble beginnings as a backwoods boy playing ball in the Ozarks, the film shows Dean's drafting by the St. Louis club, and his early frustrations in the minors working his way up to the big leagues. It gives a glimpse into his tumultuous relationship with his wife Patricia, and how he leads the Cardinals to a World Series victory. When he suffers a seemingly minor injury though, we see Dean's devastating decline on the mound that abruptly ends his on-field career. After his early struggles in retirement — where we see him unable to come to terms with the end of his playing days — the film shows how Dean transformed himself into a colorful baseball broadcaster and became a role model once more.

Though Dean's story isn't quite the memorable and heartbreaking tragedy of Gehrig's, his story is an uplifting and heartwarming one, and "The Pride of St. Louis" is championship caliber too.

The Silent Natural

If you're a fan of movie classics, and sports dramas in particular, you're probably familiar with the 1984 Robert Redford film "The Natural," the story of a gifted ballplayer whose career is destroyed by a brutal injury. But another film, a 2016 drama called "The Silent Natural" deserves attention too. This time, the film is based on the incredible true story of Billy "Dummy" Hoy, a talented hitter who played 14 years in the majors, beginning in the 1880s and finishing at the turn of the 20th century. His derogatory nickname derives from the fact that Hoy was deaf.

The film chronicles Hoy's early life from his days in Houcktown, Ohio where at the age of three he contracted meningitis and lost his hearing. But after playing baseball in his downtime, Hoy soon comes to the attention of a local pro team in Wisconsin, eventually making his way to the majors for the Washington Nationals. Playing for several teams throughout his career, including the now-defunct Louisville Colonels, Hoy wound up helping to lead the Chicago White Stockings to a first place finish in 1901, years before the advent of the World Series.

Starring hearing impaired actor Miles Barbee, "The Silent Natural" is as authentic as it is moving, and brings to light a long-overlooked story of one of Major League Baseball's most important forgotten legends.

Trouble with the Curve

Movies about the world of scouting have produced a number of classics, including the biopic "Moneyball" and the Brendan Fraser comedy "The Scout." But an under-appreciated drama about an aging scout who finds himself struggling to adapt to a new world of analytics should be on your list if you want a drama about the hidden world of player hunting. "Trouble with the Curve" boasts an all-star cast, with Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, Matthew Lillard, Robert Patrick, and John Goodman — and while it bombed at the box office, it's better than its critics give it credit for.

Eastwood stars as Gus Lobel, a scout for the Atlanta Braves who younger hotshot team executives dismiss as a relic of an older era. But with one ally left in the organization, his boss Pete (Goodman) sends him on a trip to evaluate a top talent and odds-on favorite for the upcoming draft, Bo Gentry (Joe Massingill). To make sure he does the job, Lobel's daughter Mickey (Adams) is told to tag along, and together they contend with fellow scout Johnny Flanagan (Timberlake), whose team holds one slot higher in the draft.

While knocked for being a tad predictable, the allure here is Eastwood, Adams, and the rest of the cast, who deliver award-worthy performances all around. What it lacks in exciting baseball action it more than makes up for with an emotional journey about getting older. It may not make many "best of" baseball movie lists, but it's definitely worthy of the big leagues.

Mr. 3000

Comedies are among the best baseball movies ever made, adding a healthy dose of humor to the excitement on the bases. But while we all know the classics like "Bull Durham" and "The Bad News Bears," there are many more that are sorely underrated. Comedy might be the most subjective genre, but that does not mean it doesn't belong in a baseball movie — and this is the case with the 2004 Bernie Mac movie "Mr. 3000." 

The film centers on retired slugger Stan Ross, who selfishly retires in the middle of a playoff race after collecting his 3,000th career hit. But nearly a decade later, having become a successful entrepreneur marketing himself as "Mr. 3000," he learns that a clerical error was responsible for three of his career base knocks, and he's actually stuck at 2,997. Determined to re-reach his old personal goal in order keep his business alive, an older, out of shape Ross must fight his way back to the majors, joining the losing Milwaukee Brewers, in a quest for three more hits. Along the way, he also learns to be a better teammate, and leads the Brewers back to the playoffs one more time.

With cameo appearances by real life Milwaukee Brewers Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and Cecil Cooper, "Mr. 3000" is an underrated comedy that deserves another chance at the plate.

The Babe

Sports biopics have been a staple of the genre as long as its existed with some of the best baseball movies chronicling the life and career of famous ballplayers. And yet, despite Babe Ruth being easily the most famous slugger to ever play the game, the biggest movie about his life is somehow overlooked. Though nobody would argue it's among the best ever made, the 1991 film "The Babe" is a movie the critics swung and missed on. 

At the height of his fame on the hit sitcom "Roseanne," star John Goodman slipped into an oversized Yankee uniform to play the heavyweight Ruth, and the film tells his life story beginning with his youth growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. Initially signed by the Orioles, he hits it big when he's sold to the Boston Red Sox, becoming a star pitcher who is even more famous for his towering home runs. At the height of his popularity, Ruth is traded to the New York Yankees, and the rest is history. 

Goodman is phenomenal as the big Babe, but reviews at the time criticized it for not exploring Ruth (the man) as much as it could have. Though it doesn't entirely ignore his troubled life, nor his temperamental nature that got him into plenty of trouble on and off the field, it does downplay it, even glossing over much of his reportedly abusive traits. But as a mostly family-friendly movie about a larger-than-life sports figure, "The Babe" hits it out of the park. 


In 2016, "Superman & Lois" star Tyler Hoechlin appeared in not one but two baseball comedies. The first was "Everybody Wants Some!!" a raunchy teen comedy based around a college baseball team, and it's gone on to become a well-reviewed minor cult classic. His other movie was the more serious "Undrafted," co-starring fellow superhero Chace Crawford ("The Boys"), Philip Winchester ("Chicago Justice"), and Jim Belushi ("Red Heat"). The film was directed by Joseph Mazzello, who also stars, and tells the story of a young man who dreams of making the big leagues. And it's based on Mazzello's real-life brother.

In the film, John "Maz" Mazzello (Aaron Tveit) finds himself passed over in that year's Major League Baseball draft, crushing the lifelong dream he has worked so hard to achieve. But just as he hears word that he's missed his shot, he's called back into action by his summer league team, the DB's, for a crucial semifinal series. Rather than wallow in his sorrows, Maz channels his frustration into a battle against their bitter rivals, the Bulldogs, alongside a group of eccentric amateur ballplayers. 

"Undrafted" has its problems — full of well-worn baseball movie tropes that you'll probably see coming — but that it's based on Mazzello's real-life story makes it all the more compelling. Though it wasn't a blockbuster, the cast is a good one, and its mix of loose comedy and heartwarming drama deserves better than being benched.

The Catcher Was a Spy

Not all baseball movies have to be about players winning or losing on the field, with some using the sport to tell a different kind of story. One of the most engrossing and underrated baseball movies of this sort has to be the 2018 political thriller, "The Catcher Was a Spy," featuring an all-star cast led by Paul Rudd, with Mark Strong, Sienna Miller, Hiroyuki Sanada, Jeff Daniels, Guy Pearce, and Paul Giamatti. Based on a true story, the film recounts the exploits of Moe Berg (Rudd), a 15 year veteran of the major leagues who helped the U.S. government as a spy during World War II.

Berg, a journeyman catcher who had played for several teams including the pennant-winning 1933 Washington Nationals, is with the Boston Red Sox in the mid 1930s when he finds himself on an All-Star team playing overseas. Unwittingly helping the war effort ahead of America's entry into the conflict, Berg captures film of Japanese naval yards, which gets the attention of American intelligence — impressed by his guts and savvy. Now, Berg is recruited to help locate a German scientist in an effort to slow the Axis' progress toward the first nuclear bomb.

Mixing in global politics with sports could have gone very wrong, but "The Catcher Was a Spy" pulls it off. It also touches on a number of controversial social issues that were being grappled with at the time, helping to make it a thoughtful and thrilling drama with baseball as its canvas.


Among the most colorful big leaguers of the 1970s was Boston Red Sox hurler Bill "Spaceman" Lee, known for his outspoken and irreverent nature, not to mention his status as one of the game's premiere southpaws. As the decade neared its end though, the Sox sent Lee packing up to Canada, where he played for the Montreal Expos for four more years. But even when the game was done with him, he wasn't done with the game, and the 2016 biopic "Spaceman," starring Josh Duhamel ("Transformers") chronicles the turbulent years following his exit from the majors.

Let go by the Montreal Expos, Lee struggles to accept that his days in the bigs are over. Desperate to continue his career, he searches high and low for any offer from a big league club he can find — but all he gets is an invitation to a club of senior citizens. It seems his years of brazenness and attitude haven't earned him many friends, which proves to be a tough pill to swallow for the one-time All Star. Now Lee has to come to terms with the man he is, and discover just who he's going to become in the next phase of his life.

A film as offbeat as the eccentric Lee himself, it's all about its star Duhamel, who is both charismatic and aloof, lovable, and despicable all at the same time. A film that may work better if you're not as familiar with the real-life player, it's a different kind of underdog story, and one worth watching.

Mr. Baseball

Unlike Bill Lee, our next ballplayer isn't sent to play in Canada; he's not even sent to Cleveland like the more famous '80s comedy classic "Major League." Instead, star Tom Selleck goes all the way to the far East to play ball in Japan in the underrated "Mr. Baseball," a sports comedy that audiences have slid past for years. But with a charismatic lead and likable star slugger, the film is as fun as any of the bigger baseball romps you've seen.

The "Magnum P.I." star plays Jack Elliot, an aging and declining baseball veteran who's always had a bit of an attitude, and never been much of a team player. But with his skills fading, Elliot is replaced by new star player Ricky Davis (played by future MLB legend Frank Thomas), and the team sends him packing in a shocking trade that takes him halfway around the world. Finding himself on the Nagoya Chunichi Dragons, Elliot is out of his element not just on the field — where they boast a different style of play — but off it too, as he struggles to adjust to a new culture.

As he finds his way in his new home, the disillusioned Elliot slowly makes new friends and learns how to be a better player while helping lead the Dragons to a championship. While the likes of "A League of Their Own" and "The Sandlot" may be home runs, "Mr. Baseball" is a solid double.


If "The Babe" was a bit too saccharine, "Cobb" should satisfy, as a biopic of one of the most controversial hitters in Major League Baseball history. Famed for his violent outbursts on the diamond, Ty Cobb had assaulted umpires and even fans in the stands. He was a well-documented racist, and a dirty player who wasn't afraid to cheat his way to a win, even bloodying other players to swipe a bag, with spikes up. Nevertheless, Cobb was one of the first players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, right alongside Babe Ruth and Rogers Horsnby.

The HBO original movie "Cobb," starring Tommy Lee Jones as the titular ballplayer, landed in 1994, and was based on a book by Al Stump, a biographer who had spent years working directly with Cobb, and who plays a role in the movie himself. In the film, Robert Wuhl plays Cobb's biographer and ghostwriter Stump, who has come to interview the baseball legend as he nears the end of his life. But what he finds shocks him: A violent, hard-drinking, and abusive monster who wants him to write a book that tells the world what a great man he really is. As Stump becomes like a right-hand man to the loud-mouthed legend, he gets Cobb to open up about his glory days on the diamond.

An uncompromising look at the best and worst of the infamous Ty Cobb, the eponymously titled film never got the respect it deserves.

The Fan

"The Fan" is a mostly-forgotten thriller from the 1990s, known then for its nail-biting suspense and psychological drama. What most overlook today, however, is just what a big role the baseball elements play in the movie, making it one of the most underrated sports movies of all time. The film has a pair of superstar leads, and was directed by Tony Scott ("Top Gun"), giving it a high caliber pedigree. The baseball elements are front-and-center, taking a darker look at the world of sports fandom. 

Wesley Snipes stars as Bobby Rayburn, a fictional MLB star and one of the best hitters in the game. Though he's just signed an enormous contract with the San Francisco Giants, he's struggling to live up to expectations on his new team. But his biggest fan has faith: the down-on-his luck Gil Renard (Robert De Niro). An emotionally unstable man whose wife has recently left him and taken their son, Gil makes Rayburn the center of his singular obsession after he loses everything. Finally meeting his idol in person though, Renard is gobsmacked to learn he may not be the hero he envisioned, sending him into a psychotic rage.

More than just a satisfying thriller, the movie's unique baseball setting makes it a compelling watch for those who love the game. Wildly entertaining, it's also an unsettling reminder that the line between healthy fandom and dangerous fanaticism is very much narrower than we might think.

The Perfect Game

A real-life underdog story unlike any other occurred in 1957 during the Little League World Series. There, an unlikely team of youngsters from Mexico competed for the top prize, clinching the series with a dominant pitching performance the children's league had never seen. Coached by a former staff member of the St. Louis Cardinals, their story formed the basis for the 2009 family film "The Perfect Game," starring Clifton Collins Jr., Cheech Marin, Jake T. Austin, and Moisés Arias.

Returning to his hometown of Monterrey Mexico after losing his job with the St. Louis Cardinals, César Faz (Collins Jr.) meets a promising little league pitcher named Ángel Macías. Though he had only been a lowly towel boy with the big league club, Faz inspires Ángel with stories of being a pitching guru, and eventually lands a job coaching his little league team alongside Padre Esteban (Marin). Despite his lack of big league experience, Faz manages to coach the team all the way to the Little League World Series against the powerhouse American team. But across the border in the United States, Faz and his youngsters must face down more than just a rival club, but racism as well.

An important story of Little League history's most surprising upset, its child cast does a good job, and its inspirational true-to-life drama will keep you rooting all the way to the final out. Though it's not perfect, "The Perfect Game" is a rare treat. 

Touching Home

A passion project for its directing duo Noah and Logan Miller, the indie movie "Touching Home" has a surprisingly star-studded cast for a movie made on a shoestring budget by a couple of 'Hollywood nobodies.' But thanks to a chance encounter with a legendary actor, the two brother's were able to turn the story of their troubled relationship with their father — and their Major League aspirations — into a big screen movie. But that serendipitous meeting with Ed Harris ("Apollo 13") put the two movie-making novices on the path to their directorial debut that also starred Brad Dourif, Robert Forster, and Lee Meriwether.

In the film Harris plays Charlie Winston, a homeless, alcoholic father to twin brothers Lane and Clint (Logan and Noah Miller). Though the two boys have worked hard to make their dreams of playing in the majors come true, their real struggle comes from trying to help their father Charlie, and living with the fear that they too might become him.

A smaller scale movie focused on the emotional turmoil wrought by a father seemingly determined to destroy everything around him, "Touching Home" is elevated by Harris, who takes a thinly written personal drama and turns it into something powerful. Only given an extremely limited release — not too many even know this one exists — but if you've watched classics like "Field of Dreams" and are looking for a pinch hitter, this one is it.

American Pastime

In one of the darkest moments in American history, Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps in World War II out of fear that they would not be loyal to their new country. This sad chapter has been dramatized quite a few times over the years, but one film, the 2007 movie "American Pastime," used baseball to help tell its tale. It's inspired by the true story of semi-pro baseball player Kenichi Zenimura, who helped organize barnstorming games across America and his native Japan — even playing against Major League superstars like Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth — before being taken away thanks to Executive Order 9066.

In this heavily fictionalized version of that story, Aaron Yoo ("The Tomorrow People") plays Lyle Nomura, whose family has been forcibly relocated to a desert-like internment camp after President Roosevelt orders all Japanese Americans on the West Coast removed from their homes. His father Kaz (Masatoshi Nakamura) was once a baseball player, and he helps his fellow countrymen deal with their ordeal by organizing baseball games in the camp. But disgruntled camp guard Billy Burrell (Gary Cole, "Office Space") takes notice, unhappy they're playing America's great game. 

Using baseball as the playing field on which to tell a haunting story of injustice, "America's Pastime" is a stellar effort with an important history lesson at its core that should be more widely seen.


Few real-life baseball stories could be as dramatic as the many players who escape the poverty of far-off islands like the Dominican Republic to chase their dreams of playing big league baseball in the United States. From the poor streets of their island nations to playing in front of 40,000 screaming fans in a Major League stadium is the hope of many, and a decade before the duo of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck made the superhero adventure "Captain Marvel," they told one such story in their directorial debut "Sugar." 

A superstar sensation in his village in the Dominican Republic, Miguel "Sugar" Santos is a star pitcher at the local baseball academy. Though the money he's earned pitching in his hometown has helped his family, he dreams of being a star in the U.S. He gets one step closer to his goal when he learns a new pitch — the knuckle curve — and gets invited to play with a minor league spring training squad in Kansas City. But his journey to the states is more challenging than expected, as his struggle to fit in becomes just as hard as proving himself against tougher competition.

A story of hope and courage, of a competitor who refuses to give up, "Sugar" is a triumph of filmmaking. Critically acclaimed, "Sugar" is one movie on this list that was beloved by all who saw it, but earns its underrated status because it went largely unseen upon release.

The Comeback Kid

We've seen movies that were underrated because critics whiffed, or because they only received a limited theatrical release. But there are also many unheralded gems out there from the early days of the television movie, and "The Comeback Kid" is one of them. A long forgotten baseball story starring John Ritter at the height of his sitcom fame, it's a movie that few remember, but deserves a big at-bat.

Ritter stars as a self-centered, boorish, womanizing ballplayer named Bubba Newman who's made a career as a minor leaguer, never sniffing the pros. But as he approaches 30, his coaches tell him he has to hang up the bat for good. Disillusioned, the downtrodden Newman must re-evaluate his life, but things start to look brighter when he meets Megan Barrett (Susan Dey) who works at the local playground supervising under-privileged kids. When she asks him to take a job coaching some out-of-control student athletes, Bubba finds a new lust for life. 

A movie you might have trouble tracking down, it's worth a watch if you can find it. A story of life and love, it's also notable for an appearance by Kim Fields and a young Patrick Swayze. 

The Final Season

From writer/director David Mickey Evans, who's 1993 film "The Sandlot" has become a baseball movie classic, comes this 2007 film about a group of amateur ballplayers called "The Final Season." Evans should know a thing or two about the game, growing up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a minor league baseball town for decades. He puts his hometown knowledge to good use in this true story of underdog baseball coach Kent Stock, played by "Lord of the Rings" alum Sean Astin.

Stock is brought on as assistant coach for the Norway Tigers — a famed high school ball club — under a legendary manager who'd brought the team to more than two dozen state championships. But when the school's program is reorganized and scheduled to be shut down, Stock is unexpectedly elevated to head coach for its final season. Stock is sneered at by the community and his own team; they don't think he has what it takes to continue their winning tradition. Now forced to battle opponents on the field — and his own players in the locker room — his only goal is to take the Tigers to one last title before the team is shut down forever.

An under-the-radar release that never made it off the bench, it's another story that shows just how emotional the game of baseball is when it becomes part of people's lives.

The Winning Season

Made-for-TV movies like 1980s "The Comeback Kid" are ripe for underrated status because they are so quickly forgotten. Flash forward more than 20 years, and we find another one, the 2004 TV film "The Winning Season" starring Matthew Modine ("Full Metal Jacket") and Kristen Davis ("Sex and the City"). Adapted from the children's book "Honus & Me" by Dan Gutman, the film sees Modine take on the role of Honus Wagner, one of the greatest stars who ever played the game. To prepare for the role, Modine actually spent one spring playing ball with a minor league club called the Iron Birds, owned by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. (via CNN).

In a story reminiscent of the '90s classic "Last Action Hero" we meet a young boy named Joe (Shawn Hatosy) whose parents are facing financial troubles when he discovers a rare Honus Wagner baseball card that could save the day. Before he realizes what's happened, the magical card somehow transports Joe back in time where he meets Wagner himself. But the future legend is just a present-day great in 1909, where his Pirates team is battling Ty Cobb's Detroit Tigers in that year's World Series — and when the two become friends, they help each other in ways neither could have imagined.

A gentle family drama that lovingly looks back at one of baseball's biggest stars, "The Winning Season" is a winner itself, with Modine doing a great job evoking the famed shortstop. 

Bottom of the 9th

Baseball can be the perfect allegory for life's challenges and second chances, as player's careers wax and wane. Slumping players — and even veterans with declining skills — can bounce back to their former selves, and the 2019 drama "Bottom of the 9th" used the sport to help tell a bigger story of such a struggle. Starring Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello, it tells the story of an aspiring baseball player whose life is derailed when he makes a horrible mistake that gets him a lengthy prison sentence that separates him from his high school sweetheart and the sport he loves. 

Manganiello stars as Sonny Stano, whose budding minor league career has him fast tracked for a spot on the vaunted New York Yankees. But fate throws him a curveball when he is put behind bars and loses not just his dream of playing ball, but the love of his life (Vergara) as well. Released after nearly two decades, the world has moved on without him, but it hasn't diminished his dreams, and now Sonny hopes to get back on track with an amateur club, and win back the love of his former flame.

The casting of Vergara and Manganiello, who are a married couple in real life, was a brilliant choice as their chemistry and screen presence together is undeniable. A story of determination and redemption, it was met with good reviews, but was hardly talked about on its release.

Talent for the Game

Actor Edward James Olmos is best known today for his starring role in the 2000s sci-fi series "Battlestar Galactica," but back in 1991, he starred in an underrated baseball movie: "Talent for the Game." Released in a handful of theaters in Florida, it bombed badly, and was sadly shuffled off to home video where it's since been entirely forgotten. But with a good cast — that also included Lorraine Bracco ("The Sopranos") and Jamey Sheridan ("Law and Order: Criminal Intent") — and a heartwarming story of perseverance, it deserves another inning.

Working for the team then known as the California Angels as a longtime talent scout, Virgil Sweet (Olmos) is on the hot seat after years of failing to find the next big star player. But while roaming the country with his girlfriend Bobbie (Bracco), Virgil discovers the sterling arm of young pitcher Sammy Bodeen (Jeff Corbett). While Jeff is rough around the edges, his talent is undeniable, and he may have what it takes to be the phenom that Virgil has been looking for to turn the team's fortunes. But with the Angels desperate for good press, they promote the youngster as their savior, putting sky high expectations that Virgil fears his protege won't be able to live up to.

Though a fairly predictable yarn, it's better than it gets credit for, and Olmos and Bracco give good turns. Though it didn't win any awards, "Talent for the Game" is another baseball scout story that should inspire.

Night Game

More than just an underrated baseball movie, "Night Game" might be one of the '80s most underrated crime thriller's as well. A gritty, grizzly murder mystery, it sees Roy Scheider playing Detective Mike Seaver (no, not that Mike Seaver), a cop who works the worst homicides and who also happens to be a big fan of baseball, specifically of his hometown Houston Astros. 

So when a series of brutal murders rock the city, it's Seaver who figures out a startling coincidence: They've all been killed following night games when the Astros' star pitcher Silvio Barreto is on the mound for an evening win at the team's stadium, the Astrodome. Narrowing down the suspects, Seaver is able to sleuth his way to the person responsible, and finds a desperate, violent man with an axe to grind. But when he gets too close, Seaver soon finds his own fiancé in the killer's crosshairs and now he's going to have to step up to the plate himself if he's going to get the killer.

Despite a few groan-inducing moments and at least one laughable twist, the mystery itself is a satisfying and clever one. Look past a few minor errors, and you'll find a good detective tale that uses baseball as a major part of its story.

Blue Skies Again

Though baseball has historically been male dominated on and off the field, we've recently seen a handful of women join the game, with Alyssa Nakken becoming the first on-field coach in the majors. On the diamond itself, Kelsie Whitmore made history in 2022 becoming the first woman to stand in the batter's box for a professional team, the Staten Island Ferryhawks. In cinema though, there have only been a handful of movies about women playing baseball, most notably the 1993 comedy "A League of Their Own." But that one wasn't the first. 

In 1983, a little movie came and went called "Blue Skies Again," about a losing team, the Denver Devils, whose agent (Mimi Rogers) thinks she's found the perfect new player: A hard-hitting defensive whiz. But because this player is a girl named Paula, management wants no part of her. When she finally gets a try-out for Spring Training, however, they can't deny that she's got what it takes. Unfortunately, it's not the balls on the field she has to worry about, but her fellow male teammates who resent playing with a girl. Now she'll have to swing extra hard if she's going to prove she has what it takes to play with the boys.

A fine little film, "Blue Skies Again" feels like a modern Hallmark movie or a throwback to old Hollywood classics. Either way, it may be overly sweet for some, but its barrier-breaking underdog story is one that all ages can cheer for.


Originally an all-white game, black players in baseball were long forced to play in their own separate Negro League, and it was Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman Jackie Robinson who famously became the first black player in the majors. Chadwick Boseman played Robinson in "42" in 2013, a critically acclaimed film that dealt with the racism he faced on and off the field. But years before, a fictionalized story attempted to touch on the same subject: the 1990 drama "Pastime," starring William Russ and Glenn Plummer.

Set in 1957, the film takes place among a team of minor leaguers where 41-year-old veteran Roy Bream (Russ) still boasts about his brief stint in the big leagues. When a young talented pitcher named Tyron Debray (Plummer) joins the club, Bream sees it as a chance to pass on his knowledge to a new generation. But as the team's only black player, Debray's life isn't made easy by his all-white team, especially racist pitcher Randy Keever.

One of the few films of its day to tackle the sport's continued battle with racism after Robinson broke the color barrier, the story in "Pastime" may be fictional, but it handles the subject matter with sensitivity and grace.