The Nine Best Baseball Movies Ever

Page 2 of 3

9. Bad News Bears (1976)
The Rundown: Walter Mathau stars as broken-down boozehound Morris Buttermaker who coaches an unlikely little league team filled with misfits, miscreants, and booger-eating spazzes all the way to the championship game.
Why it's one of the best: Pretty much the model for every sports film that followed involving a gang of loveable losers who band together and overcome the odds to find their way to victory. It's one of Mathau's quintessential roles of his lengthy career, and -- being a product of the mid-70s -- is also deliciously un-P.C. and filled with coarse and crude language, which you'd never see in a modern children's movie.
Memorable quote: "This quitting thing, it's a hard habit to break once you start."

8. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
The Rundown:
The true story of New York Yankees baseman Lou Gehrig and his untimely retirement from baseball due to a crippling disease is the subject in this black and white Hollywood classic. The biopic follows Gehrig (who is magnificently played by the great Gary Cooper) from his early days through his time with the Bronx Bombers, ending with his epic speech at Yankee Stadium.
Why it's one of the best:
Even the most ardent anti-Yankees fans are bound the shed a tear after watching this two-hour sentimental depiction of Gehrig's tragic tale. It also stars a slew of baseball legends playing themselves, including the late great Babe Ruth.
Memorable quote:
"Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

7. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
The Rundown: Speaking of tearjerkers, you'd be hard-pressed to not get misty watching this heart-wrenching bromantic tale of pitcher Henry Wiggen (played by Law & Order alumni Michael Moriarty) and his friendship with the dim-witted catcher named Bruce Pearson (played by Robert Deniro), who's terminally ill. The pair strike up an unusual friendship in the midst of playing for the fictional New York Mammoths and impart plenty of life lessons as they tug at the heartstrings.
Why it's one of the best: Deniro is (unsurprisingly) in rare form in one of his earliest roles, which came along shortly before he became an acting god in films like Mean Streets and The Godfather: Part II.
Memorable quote: "Power plus brains is the difference between somebody and nobody."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.