Whether a movie is a sports drama or a film of another genre, including sporting events in a movie adds to the excitement for the viewer. Baseball is one of the most loved sports in the United States and is popular in many other countries across the globe. For this reason, baseball is a sport that is often seen in the movies. Either the characters are watching a game or they are taking part in either a fun game or a competitive event. There is a long history of baseball in the movies with one of the first examples being ‘The Ball Game. This is a movie that Thomas Edison produced in 1848. By the time Gary Cooper portrayed Lou Gehrig in the 1940s film ‘Pride of the Yankees, baseball was already one of the best-loved sports in America. Since then, there have been in excess of 250 movies that are devoted to this well-loved sport and many other films that feature exciting scenes with baseball. The sport has inspired biographical movies about some of the top baseball players in the world and movies and movies that demonstrate the excitement of a baseball game. Others have scenes that demonstrate the teamwork involved in baseball or that show how the underdogs can come out on top. Here are 20 of the best baseball scenes in movies of all time.
20. Major League- Trash Talk in the Game
Released in 1989, ‘Major League is a sports comedy movie based on the fictionalized exploits of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. It was written and directed by David S. Ward and starred Tom Berenger, Wesley Snipes, Charlie Sheen, Bob Uecker, Corbin Bernsen, James Gammon, and Rene Russo. The movie grossed $49.8 million from a budget of $11 million. Due to its success, there were two sequels made; ‘Minor League II’ and ‘Back to the Minors’. Unfortunately, these did not achieve the same level of success as the original. The movie was also made into a video game. In this particular scene, it is as much about the trash talk as the baseball game itself. It is also at this point in the movie that the Cleveland Indians are finally coming together as a team.
19. Rookie of the Year- Henry’s Introduction to the Major Leagues
‘Rookie of the Year’ is a 1993 sports comedy film that was written by Sam Harper and directed by Daniel Stern. It is a remake of the 1954 film ‘Roogie’s Bump’. It is about a young boy, Henry Rowengarter, who joins the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Thomas Ian Nicholas played the lead role and other cast members included Gary Busey, Dan Hedaya, Albert Hall, Daniel Stern, and Eddie Bracken. The movie had a budget of $31 million and grossed $56.5 million, meaning it was a commercial success. In 1993, the movie was also adapted into a novel by Todd Strasser. In this particular scene, Henry is introduced to the major leagues and it is not a good experience for the young boy. He is mocked by players from the New York Mets as he passes each base. An arrogant player called Heddo is the main instigator of the intimidation. This leads to Henry wanting to quit the game but his coach persuades him to continue and improves with support.
18. The Natural- Reporter Unearths Hobbs’ Secrets
This movie is a sports drama film that is adapted from a novel of the same name by Bernard Malamud. It covers the experiences of a talented baseball player called Roy Hobbs. This film was the first one released by TriStar Pictures and it premiered in 1984. The film was directed by Barry Levinson and the screenplay was written by Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry. It starred Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, and Wilford Brimley. The movie grossed just under $48 million. This scene from the movie is when the reporter, Max Mercy, finally unearths the secret past of Roy Hobbs. The baseball player had been hiding his past since he returned to the major leagues.
17. Major League- The Pep Talk
The scene where the Cleveland Indians manager, Lou Brown, gives the team a pep talk is just one of the many great scenes in this film. He tells them that many baseball fans and the media are predicting that the team will finish in the last place in the league that year. He tries to inspire them to do better and prove everybody wrong.
Co-written and directed by David Zucker, this 1998 sports comedy film starred Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of ‘South Park’. It also starred Dian Bachar and Robert Vaughn. The movie is about the creation of a game based on both baseball and basketball. Although there are some fantastic scenes in this film, it was a commercial flop. It had a budget of $23 million but grossed just $7 million at the worldwide box office. One of the best scenes in the movie is where Coop tries to help Joey. While Joey is sitting in a hospital bed waiting for an operation, Coop tries to make three home runs.
15. A League of Their Own- Confrontation with the Girls’ Team
This 1992 sports comedy-drama film is a fictionalized version of a real-life girls’ baseball league called the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The movie was directed by Penny Marshall and directed by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. It starred Tom Hanks, Madonna, Geena Davis, and Lori Petty. ‘A League of Their Own’ was a commercial success as it grossed $132.4 million from a budget of $40 million. The tryouts for the new girls’ team is one of the best scenes in this movie. When some of the girls who aspire to become members of the team meet for the first time, there is a confrontation. However, they are soon impressed by each other’s talents and the confrontation is forgotten.
14. Bull Durham
‘Bull Durham’ was released in 1988. Ron Shelton wrote and directed this romantic sports comedy film. He partially based the movie on his personal experiences of minor-league baseball. The movie stars Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Trey Wilson, and Robert Wuhl. It received great critical acclaim and grossed $58 million on a budget of $7.5 million. Nuke LaLoosh is a young right-hander and Crash Davis is his catcher. Davis goes to the mound to find out what is wrong when LaLoosh is looking troubled. This results in the entire infield joining the pair on the mound to air their own issues.
Although this 1989 comedy-drama film is not specifically about baseball, it does have a fantastic baseball scene. The movie was directed by Ron Howard and co-written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. The ensemble cast included Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Tom Hulce, Keanu Reeves, Martha Plimpton, and Dianne Wiest. Gil Buckman, played by Martin is already worried about his son Kevin who is suffering from emotional problems and is seeing a therapist. This is compounded by his lack of talent in sports and his performance in Little League is poor. The baseball scene in question in this movie is when Kevin manages to make an amazing catch and make his dad proud. This sudden turn of fortunes sees Kevin becoming the local hero.
12. Bad News Bears
Directed by Michael Ritchie, this sports comedy was released in 1976. It was written by Bill Lancaster and starred Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, Chris Barned, and Vic Morrow. The film was a commercial success as it grossed $42.3 million and inspired two sequels, a television series, and a 2005 remake. The score for this movie was written by Jerry Fielding and is based on ‘Carmen’, the opera by Bizet. ‘Bad News Bears’ is movie is about the formation of a baseball team of players who are not athletically talented. They are formed after one of the parents, who happens to be an attorney, files a lawsuit for discrimination. However, the team are shunned by the better teams in the competition until they fight back and begin to win matches. At the climax of the movie, they even receive an apology for the way they were treated by another team. In one of the best scenes in the movie, the coach leads the spectators in a chant.
11. Field of Dreams- Inviting Dad for a Catch
Based on the novel ‘Shoeless Joe’ by W.P. Kinsella, ‘Field of Dreams is a 1989 fantasy-drama film. It was written and directed by Phil Alden Robertson. The movie is about a farmer who hears voices telling him to create a baseball diamond in his field. It stars Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, and Burt Lancaster. The movie was made on a budget of $15 million and grossed $84.4 million at the worldwide box office. ‘Field of Dreams was nominated for many awards, including three Academy Awards. There are many fantastic scenes in this movie and one of the best is at the end of the movie when Ray sees his dad behind a plate when all the other players have walked onto the pitch. In this moving scene, he offers his dad a catch.
10. The Sandlot
This 1993 coming-of-age movie is set in 1962 and is about a group of young baseball players. David Mickey Evans directed this movie and co-wrote it with Robert Gunter. It starred Tom Guiry, Denis Leary, James Earl Jones, Karen Allen, and Mike Vitar. It was an immediate commercial success as it grossed $33 million and it has since become a cult film. A Little League baseball team torments a group of kids who are playing a sandlot game of baseball. This leads to the group issuing a challenge. It is priceless when Porter asks one of the Little League batters if his sister is the one out in the left field naked.
9. Rookie of the Year- ‘Just Float It!’
Henry Rowengarter, played by Thomas Ian Nicholls, has become a pitching sensation in the Little League. However, in the match that will decide whether the Chicago Cubs win their division or not, he is having a tough day on the pitch. It seems he has lost his skillful 100 miles per hour fastball, a talent that propelled him into the Chicago Cubs in the first instance. However, his mother is in the crowd of spectators and she gives him just the encouragement he needs. She shouts for him to ‘just float it’ so he does.
8. A League of Their Own- No Crying Scene
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League has been created and one of the teams is the Rockford Peaches. Jimmy Dugan has become their manager. He was a former Chicago Cubs player who was forced to retire from playing professional due to his alcoholism. At first, Dugan treats the team as a joke. However, he then begins to take his responsibilities seriously and starts managing the team properly. In this particular scene, he finds out just how emotional certain women in the team can be when the character played by Madonna begins to cry.
7. For Love of the Game
Starring Kevin Costner, this 1999 sports drama film is about the performance of an aging baseball pitcher. The movie was written by Dana Stevens and directed by Sam Raimi. It also stars Kelly Preston, John C. Reilly, Jena Malone, and Brian Cox. One of the corniest yet most loveable baseball scenes from a movie comes from this film. Billy Chapel is playing his final game and he is pitching perfectly. However, he doesn’t realize this as he is reminiscing over his life. In particular, he is thinking about his girlfriend, Jane, and how he affected their relationship by constantly shutting her out. He is brought back to reality by the pain he is experiencing in his shoulder. It is at this point he realized he is playing the perfect game.
6. Field of Dreams- Terrence Mann’s Inspiring Speech
Most baseball movies focus on the competitive angle rather than on the emotions of the characters. ‘Field of Dreams’ differs in this sense because it is as much about the characters and their community as it is about the baseball. One of the best examples of a scene from this movie that combines both baseball and the emotion of the characters is the speech delivered by Terence Mann, played by James Earl Jones. In the inspiring speech he delivers, he encourages Ray Kinsella to hold onto his dreams. Not only is this a fantastic part in the movie, it also exemplifies the talent of James Earl Jones as an actor.
5. Field of Dreams- Going the Distance
Ray Kinsella’s dreams are haunting his thoughts; especially the one that led him to build a baseball diamond in one of his corn fields. He is constantly trying to search for the meaning behind these dreams. Kinsella then meets Terrence Mann, a famous author. Kinsella convinces Mann to go to a baseball game with him at Fenway Park. While the pair is watching the game, Kinsella finally starts to piece his dreams together.
4. Major League II- Descriptive Commentary
‘Major League II is the first sequel to ‘Major League’. The movie was released in 1994 and it starred most of the original cast. The exception to this was Wesley Snipes. New faces in the cast include David Keith and Tamaki Ishibashi. It was directed by David S. Ward and written by R.J. Stewart. In one of the best scenes from this movie, Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn is pitching in a game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox. His pitches are wonderfully described by the voice of the Indians, Harry Doyle. This scene also leads up to another wonderful scene in the film which involves a showdown between Parkman and Vaughn.
3. Major League II- Vaughn vs. Parkman
When Jack Parkman starts to play for the Chicago White Sox baseball, who are the rivals of the Cleveland Indians, he must face his former teammates in the final game of the American League Championship Series. During the final out, Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn deliberately loads the bases so they face Parkman. At the time, Parkman is hitting around .900 against Vaughn. It is not just what is taking place on the [itch that is entertaining about this scene, though. The goings on in the background are just as much of what makes this scene fantastic. An annoying fan played by Randy Quaid gives a funny description of Vaughn’s pitches and Harry Doyle is giving a fabulous commentary of the action.
2. The Naked Gun
The full name of this 1988 slapstick comedy film is ‘The Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad’. However, it is most commonly simply referred to as ‘The Naked Gun’. It is the first film in the ‘Naked Gun’ series of movies. The movie was directed by David Zucker and written by Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Pat Proft. It stars Leslie Nielson in the role of a bumbling police Lieutenant. On a budget of $12 million, this movie grossed $78.8 million at the worldwide box office. In the baseball scene in this movie, Nielson is going undercover in the guise of an umpire so that he can search the baseball players for weapons. He is doing this as there is a threat to Queen Elizabeth II who is visiting for the game. Nielson’s portrayal of a home plate umpire is hilarious. Although this is not a baseball movie, this scene still ranks close to one of the best baseball scenes in movie history for sheer comedy value.
1. The Natural- The Final Home Run
There is almost no doubt that the best baseball scene from a movie of all time is the final at-bat scene from ‘The Natural’. At the final game for the New York Knights, the season is on the line. Hobbs has already been asked to fix the game and he has refused. Although Hobbs is ailing, he comes up to bat knowing that his team is trailing behind The Pirates. They bring on a hard-throwing, left-hand pitcher who makes sure that the old injury from which Hobbs is suffering will affect him. Despite everything being against him, Hobbs hits a foul ball so hard it sends shockwaves around the stadium. He then hits the next pitch into the overhead lights and wins the pennant. This truly is one of the most outstanding baseball scenes in history.