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30 Best Baseball Movies

The Sandlot (1993)

The Pitch: Coming-of-ager set in the summer of 1962. New kid Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) attempts to join a young baseball team when he moves to a new neighbourhood, but his lack of skill could be a problem...

Home Run? Laced with nostalgia and ably played by its young cast, The Sandlot i sn't big on subtlety, but its sweet nature and comedic moments make for a winning formula.

There's something to be said for straight-forward storytelling, and that's what The Sandlot has in spades.

Off The Black (2006)

The Pitch: Indie coming-of-ager in which cantankerous high-school umpire Ray Cook (Nick Nolte) asks terminally-ill player Dave (Trevor Morgan) to pretend to be his son for a 40th high school reunion.

Home Run? Nolte's performance certainly is. As the alcoholic umpire, Nolte steals every scene, imbuing Ray with a tangible sense of tragedy.

It's visceral and heartbreaking - how it was overlooked by the Academy is a mystery.

Sugar (2008)

The Pitch: Miguel Santos (Algenis Perez Soto), also known as Sugar, dreams of escaping his poverty-stricken life and making it big as a major league pitcher in Anna Boden's drama. When it seems he might achieve that goal, though, Sugar wonders if it's all it's cracked up to be.

Home Run? With its documentary-esque feel and naturalistic performances, Boden's absorbing film offers fresh insight into the great game.

It's part sports flick, part immigrant drama and crammed with gorgeous detail.

Fear Strikes Out (1957)

The Pitch: A pre- Psycho Anthony Perkins stars as baseball player Jimmy Piersall. Based on Piersall's own shocking autobiography, director Robert Mulligan charts the star's rise from high school player to Red Sox phenomenon.

Home Run? While it's interesting to see Perkins playing a role so similar to Norman Bates (this time he has father instead of mother issues), Mulligan's film also stands alone as a hugely watchable drama that successfully gets under the skin of one of baseball's greatest - and most troubled - players.

The Rookie (2002)

The Pitch: Based on Jim Morris' memoirs, John Lee Hancock's adap stars Dennis Quaid as Morris, who dreams of becoming a player despite being older than most big-hitters.

Home Run? "They were all very good stories," said Quaid of his attraction to sports movies, and he's not wrong.

The Rookie is full of heart and hope - it's a sports flick for all the family that refuses to become saccharine, instead finding drama in the little things.

Ballplayer: Pelotero (2011)

The Pitch: John Leguizamo narrates this doc, which goes behind the scenes at a Major Baseball League training camp in the Dominican Republic. We follow 16-year-old Miguel Angel and Jean Carlos as they aim high and swing it to win it.

Home Run? Shocking in places, touching in others, this doc works as an eye-popping expose that shows the corruption in a flawed system.

It's been called a Spanish-language Moneyball for good reason…

61* (2001)

The Pitch: Billy Crystal directs the story of Roger Maris (Barry Pepper) and Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane), who compete to beat the single-season home run record held by Babe Ruth.

Home Run? It's no secret that Crystal's a baseball aficionado, and his love of the game is in every frame of this touching drama.

It's a film made by a baseball fan for baseball fans, but that doesn't stop it from being a baseball movie great with two fantastic lead performances.

Up For Grabs (2004)

The Pitch: Documentary about two men who claim to have caught the ball hit by San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds during his infamous 73rd home run.

Incorporating news footage and talking heads, we get the full story as the pair head to court…

Home Run? Definitely. Up For Grabs nabbed Best Documentary awards at numerous film fests, probably because it works as a hilarious examination of greed and obsession that doesn't require audiences to know a thing about baseball.

Eight Men Out (1988)

The Pitch: Based on Eliot Asinof's same-named novel, John Sayles' adap revolves around the 'Black Sox scandal', in which members of the Chicago White Sox sought to make money by intentionally losing the 1919 World Series.

Home Run? Though it was labelled a cursed production when numerous filmmakers failed to get the film into production, Sayles' film turned out to be a moving/depressing look at baseball's darkest hour.

With a cast that includes John Cusack and DB Sweeney, it also contains one of the greatest on-screen ensembles of any sports flick.

The Life And Times Of Hank Greenberg (1998)

The Pitch: Documentary about Detroit Tigers baseman Hank Greenberg, a Jewish player who suffered anti-Semitism on the pitch. We also gain insight into his off-pitch life, which included enlisting with the US Army Air Force during World War II.

Home Run? Take a look at the film's glut of awards and then come ask us again.

Despite its serious themes, Aviva Kempner's doc has a fantastic sense of humour and the filmmaker's affection for her subject is clear throughout. Warm, thought-provoking documentary-making at its best.