We’re baseball-aholics this month at Mamiverse! What’s the occasion? April 8 is the 40th anniversary of baseball great Hank Aaron hitting his 715th home run and breaking Babe Ruth’s record. Aaron was a class act all the way, saying at the time, “I don’t want them to forget Ruth, I just want them to remember me!” Aaron seemed to be able to see into the future as well, knowing that his record would one day be broken. “I’m hoping someday that some kid, black or white, will hit more home runs than myself. Whoever it is, I’d be pulling for him.” In 2007, Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record for most career home runs.
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Hank Aaron’s honor and humility say a lot about the game of baseball itself, America’s most beloved sport. Many filmmakers have tried to capture the beauty and grace of the game, and fans’ and players’ nearly religious devotion to the sport. Here are 15 films about baseball that always hit a home run in our score book.
1. Angels in the Outfield, 1951: This film is both a coming-of-age story and a tale of reformation as a young orphan girl spots angels helping the Pittsburgh Pirates and the team manager attempts to live a better, more positive (less profanity-filled) life in order to keep the angels around.
2. The Bad News Bears, 1976: There are lots of films about washed-up athletes turning their life around and doing good, right? This is one of them. It’s a feel good classic about a former minor league baseball player who is changed by the Little League team of misfits he coaches.
3. Bull Durham, 1988: Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon make this film the classic sports comedy/romcom that it is. It follows a minor league baseball team aided by a seasoned catcher (Costner) while a love triangle develops between the three. There’s a little bit of everything in this one, including some great one-liners.
4. Damn Yankees!, 1958: This movie musical has everything! The music, the baseball, the sexiness of Lola! It’s about a Washington Senators fan who makes a deal with the devil to help his team win the pennant. It’s a film with a lot of heart!
5. Field of Dreams, 1989: “If you build it, they will come.” Another Kevin Costner film with lines we know by heart. A farmer demolishes his Iowa corn field to build a baseball diamond and receives some most unexpected guests. One of the all-time greats of any genre.
6. The Jackie Robinson Story, 1950: The story of how Jackie Robinson came up through the negro leagues to the majors is one of courage, heart and incredible determination. This film is a biography that follows Robinson’s rise into the major leagues.
7. A League of Their Own, 1992: Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Tom Hanks and Gina Davis explored the origins of women’s baseball during World War II. We love the humor, romance and, of course, the baseball…and we can’t believe they ever looked so young!
8. The Natural, 1984: Robert Redford directs and stars in this film about a middle-aged ball player who revives his own career after being shot. It’s a beautifully-told story of redemption and second chances. The cast includes Robert Duvall, Glenn Close and Kim Basinger, with standout performances by all.
9. The Sandlot, 1993: This is a coming of age story about a few boys who play baseball on an empty lot, sometimes losing to the ball-eating dog, The Beast, beyond the fence. There are a few surprises along with a lot of fun in this kids’ film that has mass appeal.
10. Cobb, 1994: Tommy Lee Jones plays the part of Ty Cobb in this film about a reporter hired by Cobb himself to write the official autobiography about the baseball great. Through the investigator’s experience with Cobb, we learn about the dark past of the baseball star as well as how he felt about himself and his life.
11. Major League, 1989: The owner of the Cleveland Indians assembles a ragtag team of players in order to tank the team with the hopes that they’ll lose and she can move. When the team finds out, they start to win. This is one of the must-see baseball movies ever made.
12. Eight Men Out, 1988: In one of the greatest scandals in the history of the sport, members of the Chicago White Sox conspire with gamblers to lose the 1919 World Series. It’s a heartbreaking story, with soulful performances from John Cusack and D.B. Sweeney, who plays the enigmatic “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who just wanted to play ball.
13. The Rookie, 2002: Dennis Quaid plays the part of a 40-something year old teacher who tries out for the major leagues and makes it. A fantasy for American men across the country, it’s impossible not to root for Quaid’s character.
14. Bang the Drum Slowly, 1973: This film features a young Robert DeNiro and explores the friendship between a pitcher and his catcher as one of them is diagnosed with a terminal illness. The story is sad but also inspiring and carries a true message of teamwork and support for one another on and off the field.
15. Moneyball, 2011: With the lowest salary constraints in the league, Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) is forced to think creatively to make his team, the Oakland A’s, legitimate. Through unique statistical analysis, they create an entirely new way of assigning value to players that teams still use today.