The best baseball movie ever is The Natural, starring Robert Redford. He plays Roy Hobbs, a promising baseball prospect who is shot by a woman obsessed with killing rising athletes. The movie skips forward to when Roy is 35 and starts playing for a fictional major league team, the New York Knights. A star player is being lazy so the manager has Roy pinch-hit for him and he hits the ball so hard the cover comes off. Later, that star player dies running through an outfield fence while going for a fly ball and Roy becomes the starter.
The main owner of the team, The Judge, has an agreement with the other owner (Pop) that unless the Knights win the pennant, the whole team is his at the end of the season. To make Roy play worse, they decide to have Pop’s niece meet Roy, and the two begin a relationship. Roy stops hitting well until he sees a girl in the stands that he was in love with as a teenager, then he starts hitting again and the Knights get into first place. Near the end of the season, Roy collapses during a party and wakes up in the hospital and his doctor tells him that his old gunshot wound is breaking down his stomach lining and if he plays baseball he could die. By the time he wakes up it has come down to the Knights being in a one-game playoff with the Pirates. I won’t say how it ends, but this movie is full of heartwarming and heroic moments. This movie is very dramatic and is a favorite of many.
The second-best baseball movie ever made is a comedy called Major League, starring Tom Berenger, Bob Uecker, Charlie Sheen and others. In this movie, a former stripper inherits the Cleveland Indians and wants to move it to Miami because she’ll make a lot of money, but the only way she can relocate is if the season attendance is extremely low. She trades away all the good players and replaces them with rookies and old people. Their only good players are a Cuban who believes in voodoo and has an idol named Jobu in his locker and a former car thief (Charlie Sheen) who pitched in a prison league. The team starts off by losing every game horribly, but then they give Charlie Sheen glasses and he can finally throw strikes, so they start winning. I’m not giving away the ending. The plot is good but my favorite part was the vulgar comedy. The announcers swear on the air and there’s constant cracks about how horrible the team is. The characters are very colorful. This is probably the funniest sports movie ever made.
The third best baseball movie is Bad News Bears. An alcoholic pool cleaner is the manager for a group of kids whose terrible team was added to a very competitive league because of a lawsuit. They lose their first game by 26 runs and don’t get a single out before quitting. They become good by recruiting new kids and long story short, they come close to winning the championship and the manager allows all the kids to drink his beer (what a good guy). This movie has a lot of emotional moments and creates a feeling of a growing team spirit among the manager and the kids that is fun to watch.
The fourth best is Moneyball. This is the story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics, who have a small budget and just lost their three best players. The manager, played by Brad Pitt, recruits a geek who works for the Indians, played by Jonah Hill. They use Bill James’ mathematical methods to buy players that are undervalued. Although everyone doubts their new-fangled methods, they have success and even go on a 20-game winning streak to break the American League record. On the last game of the streak, Scott Hatteberg, whose career they saved because they saw his potential, hits a game-winning home run to make history. They lose early in the playoffs, but they win over 103 games in the regular season and change the way baseball teams pick players.
The fifth best baseball movie is 42, which is the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player in the major leagues. The plot centers around Jackie facing extreme racist hatred despite his obvious talent. When he is signed, he is warned he must control his temper, which he struggles with yet succeeds in doing. One manager refuses to play his team against him, the KKK threatens to kill him and many people call him the “n” word, including the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies during a game. Through it all, Jackie Robinson stays cool and has incredible success, taking his team to the World Series. This story is incredibly inspirational and teaches that patience and peacefulness in the face of anger can reap great rewards.