Victor Wang - The Rookie The age of 35 usually heralds thoughts of mid-life crises, aching bones and baldness. That, however, never stopped Jim Morris, who squeezed his way into professional baseball late in life when most professional athletes would consider retiring. His underdog story is the basis for 2002 sports film The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid.
The Rookie is easily my favorite baseball movie for two reasons: It’s a great dark horse contender movie, and it is based on a true story. First off, who doesn’t like rooting for an underdog? From Frodo to the Looney Tunes in Space Jam, it’s hard not to cheer for these lovable, inspirational characters. When Morris steps up to the plate to strike Royce Clayton out to end the inning, there is no other reaction but to cheer.
Knowing that someone out in the world accomplished his dream against all odds encourages us to move forward and work hard for what we love.
Nick Preller - Major League
Major League is, hands down the funniest sports movie of all time. It centers around the lowly Cleveland Indians who are now being run by a former Las Vegas showgirl. She wants to move the team to Miami, so she instructs management to get the worst players so team does horribly and fans stop coming, thus giving her a reason to move the team.
Enter Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, played by Charlie Sheen, fresh out of prison and throwing absolute fire along with speedster Willy Mays Hayes played by Wesley Snipes and voodoo worshiping Pedro Cerrano played by Dennis Haysbert, turn the franchise around.
While it might not be the most accurate depiction of what the major league is really like, the movie is still a classic and a must see for any sports fan with a sense of humor. Watch it solely for the fact that Sheen wears hipster glasses for the majority of the film. Don't ever watch the sequels.
Taylor Frank - Rookie of the Year
Rookie of the Year is the story of a boy, Henry Rowengartner, who falls on his arm and becomes an incredible pitcher who is signed by the Chicago Cubs.
Personally, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Cubs. They have been so bad for so long, their attendance is abysmal (as it is in the movie), and there is seemingly no hope. When Rowengartner arrives, he faces challenges of acceptance from his teammates, especially his favorite player, Chet Steadman (Gary Busey).
The main reason I like this movie is that it is an underdog story from every angle. Rowengartner is a kid who it an average baseball player, yet luck befalls him and he makes an MLB team. He leads the Cubs, a bottom dwelling team, to prominence. Even Steadman is able to learn something from Rowengartner and better himself.
Lastly, Rowengartner is the quintessential American hero. He struggles at first, but he is able to achieve his dream and his father's dream of playing in the Major Leagues. This is one of the great stories in American baseball cinema without a doubt.
Mike Eisinger - The Sandlot
A good baseball movie does not just show us baseball; it shows us life. It shows us certain truths about both the American pastime and American culture in general. With this in mind, there is no question that the best baseball movie is the 1993 classic The Sandlot.
You cannot convince me that the plot of The Sandlot is not ripped straight from the dreams of any American 12-year-old. What kid do you know would turn down the opportunity to spend every minute of their summer vacation with their best friends planning high jinks, getting into trouble and doing something that they all love?
Smalls, Scotty, Squints, Ham, Benny the Jet and the rest of the ragtag team have the time of their lives playing baseball and learning life lessons together, making for a fun-filled, nostalgic trip for the audience. Who could forget Squints making out with Wendy Peffercorn? Or the epic plans that the boys conceive to get their baseball back from the Beast and the ensuing chase?
Even if your childhood summers weren’t as action-packed as The Sandlot, the movie will make you think back to those pivotal moments that you shared with your friends growing up. That’s what makes this movie great; there’s not only some great baseball action but also some key lessons learned about teamwork, determination and, most of all, friendship.
Joe Leathersich - Moneyball
Determining what the best baseball movie really doesn’t require much debate. The clear cut answer is Moneyball, featuring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. Pitt plays the part of Billy Beane, the unorthodox general manager of the Oakland Athletics, while Hill plays Beane’s sidekick as they both try to revolutionize the sport of baseball.
What Beane did – and this movie is based on a true story – was look for athletes to replace the star athletes he lost in Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi. Instead of looking for players with comparable statistics to Damon or Giambi, he tried to replace them with lesser known, less expensive athletes that could get on base because base runners equals runs.
Everyone who claimed to know baseball could not believe what he was trying to do. It went against everything scouts throughout the league were trying to do, but the numbers never lie.
The team set the American League record of 20 consecutive wins and finished first in American League West with a record of 103-59. They also did this with the third-lowest payroll in the season.
There are other baseball movies that are good, but Moneyball is the best. Plus, you can never go wrong with Pitt.