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The First (or Best) Baseball Films?


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I found this 12 minute IMP film from 1909 about a Choctaw man sentenced to death, who receives a stay of execution so he can pitch in one last baseball game. (Believe it or not, it's based on a true story!) Some sources say it's the first ever baseball film.

That being said, it's a pretty terribly shot film as far as baseball goes. It's all filmed from one angle behind home plate, the bases are squished awkwardly together, and you can barely see any of the action since all the players' backs are to the camera. Can you guys think of any earlier baseball movies? Or what are some of your favorites? They're not so old, bt I think my favorites have to be A League of Their Own and The Sandlot 😊

 

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Baseball movies I like - 

  • Bang the Drum Slowly
  • The Natural
  • Eight Men Out
  • Fear Strikes Out
  • Major League
  • Pride of the Yankees
  • Sugar
  • The Stratton Story
  • Damn Yankees
  • Bull Durham

Other baseball movies I can recall seeing:

  • Field of Dreams
  • For Love of the Game
  • The Fan
  • Angels in the Outfield
  • The Scout
  • Trouble with the Curve
  • Major League 2
  • The Pride of St. Louis
  • A League of Their Own
  • Alibi Ike
  • The Babe Ruth Story
  • The Jackie Robinson Story
  • The Winning Team
  • Big Leaguer
  • The Bad News Bears
  • The Babe
  • Mr. Baseball
  • The Comrades of Summer
  • Cobb
  • Ed
  • Mr. 3000
  • Moneyball
  • 42
  • Million Dollar Arm

 

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Don't overlook these humorous baseball movies: 

"Kill the Umpire" (1950) stars William Bendix -- Babe Ruth in "The Babe Ruth Story" -- as an over-opinionated baseball fan who winds up as a professional arbiter.

See the source image`

"It Happens Every Spring" (1949) stars Ray Milland as a college professor who creates a formula that repels wood. When he uses it on baseballs, he becomes an unhittable major-league pitcher.

See the source image

"Rookie of the Year" (1993) stars Thomas Ian Nicholas as Henry Rowengartner, a boy who develops a strong pitching arm after an injury. As a result, he signs with the Chicago Cubs and makes them a contender.

See the source image

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50 minutes ago, antoniacarlotta said:

Are there any other baseball films from the 1930s/earlier that anyone knows of? I'm so curious to see the evolution of the sport and how it's been filmed over the years.

Here's one from 1933, Antonia...

 

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13 minutes ago, antoniacarlotta said:

Thanks, Dargo! That's exactly the type of movie I was looking for. Now I just have to figure out where I can watch it...

If memory serves Antonia, I think TCM has shown Elmer, The Great in the past.

(...might've been during some sort of tribute to Joe E. Brown)

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6 hours ago, jakeem said:

"It Happens Every Spring" (1949) stars Ray Milland as a college professor who creates a formula that repels wood. When he uses it on baseballs, he becomes an unhittable major-league pitcher.

See the source image

Also see Milland in Rhubarb (1951), a comedy about a cat to whom an eccentric millionaire has willed a major league baseball team.

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10 hours ago, Dargo said:

One of the best I remember watching in recent times, would be this 2001 Billy Crystal-directed made-for-TV movie...

If it wasn't a made-for-TV, I'd put it in the "Holy trinity" of baseball movies, alongside The Natural and Eight Men Out.

And looks like I get to be the one who remembers The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (1976), about the looser, more homespun days of 30's Negro-league baseball:

(Back when 70's black movies starred both Lando Calrissian and Darth Vader.)

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  • 8 months later...

I am an avid collector of baseball on film.  Here's my movie list:

Red is what I cannot find.

Movies

1898 Ball Game, The
1899 Casey At The Bat
1906 How The Office Boy Saw The Ball Game
1909 His Last Game
1912 Ball Play and the Bandit
1914 Hearts and Diamonds
1917 One Touch Of Nature
1917 Pinch Hitter, The
1919 Busher, The
1920 Headin' Home
1922 Casey At The Bat
1923 Giants vs. Yanks
1924 Battling Orioles, The
1925 Butter Fingers
1926 Happy Days
1926 New Klondike, The
1927 Casey At The Bat
1927 College
1927 Slide, Kelly, Slide
1928 Cameraman, The
1928 Speedy
1928 Warming Up
1929 Clancy At The Bat
1930 Hot Curves
1930 They Learned About Women
1931 Slide, Speedy, Slide
1932 Fancy Curves-Play Ball with Babe Ruth
1932 Fireman Save My Child
1932 Just Pals-Play Ball with Babe Ruth
1932 Loud Mouth, The
1932 Over The Fence-Play Ball with Babe Ruth
1932 Perfect Control-Play Ball with Babe Ruth
1932 Slide, Babe, Slide-Play Ball with Babe Ruth
1932 Stealin' Home
1932 Too Many Women
1933 Elmer The Great
1934 Death On The Diamond
1934 Dizzy and Daffy
1935 Alibi Ike
1935 Donkey Baseball
1935 One Run Elmer
1935 Swell-Head, The
1937 Girls Can Play
1937 Gracie At The Bat
1937 Home Run On The Keys
1937 Manhattan Merry-Go-Round
1938 Brother Rat
1938 Rawhide
1938 Opening Day
1940 Brother Rat and Baby
1940 Heckler, The
1941 Lovable Trouble
1942 It Happened In Flatbush
1942 Moonlight In Havana
1942 Pride of the Yankees
1942 Smart Alecks
1942 Brooklyn Orchid
1943 Ladies Day
1943 Taxi Mister
1943 Whistling In Brooklyn
1944 Bells of St. Mary's, The
1944 Block Busters
1944 Going My Way
1945 Naughty Nineties, The
1946 Mr. Noisy
1947 Diamond Demon
1948 Babe Ruth Story, The
1949 It Happens Every Spring
1949 Kid From Cleveland, The
1949 Stratton Story, The
1949 Take Me Out To The Ball Game
1949 Two Knights From Brooklyn
1950 Jackie Robinson, The
1950 Kill The Umpire
1950 Screwball, The
1950 Three Little Words
1951 Angels In The Outfield
1951 On Moonlight Bay
1951 Rhubarb
1951 Jim Thorpe All American
1952 About Face
1952 Pride Of St. Louis, The
1952 Winning Team, The
1953 Big Leaguer, The
1953 Kid From Left Field, The
1954 Roogie's Bump
1955 Strategic Air Command
1956 Great American Pastime, The 
1957 Fear Strikes Out
1958 Damn Yankees
1961 Safe At Home
1973 Bang The Drum Slowly
1974 It's Good To Be Alive
1976 Bad News Bears
1976 Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings
1977 Bad News Bears In Breaking Training, The
1978 Bad News Bears Go To Japan, The
1978 Goodbye Franklin High
1978 Here Come The Tigers
1980 Squeeze Play
1982 Chasing Dreams
1982 Zapped!
1983 Blue Skies Again
1984 Natural, The
1984 Soldier's Story, A
1985 Brewster's Millions
1985 Slugger's Wife, The
1985 Insignificance
1986 Casey At The Bat
1986 Dog Baseball
1987 Ironweed
1988 Bull Durham
1988 Eight Men Out
1988 Naked Gun
1988 Stealing Home
1989 Field Of Dreams
1989 Major League
1989 Night Game
1989 Dream Team, The
1989 Simon Birch
1990 Mr. Destiny
1990 My Blue Heaven
1990 Taking Care Of Business
1990 Boiling Point
1991 Pastime
1991 Talent For The Game
1992 Babe, The
1992 League Of Their Own, A
1992 Mr. Baseball
1993 Rookie of The Year
1993 Sandlot, The
1994 Angels In The Outfield
1994 Cobb
1994 Little Big League
1994 Major League II
1994 Scout, The
1995 Kid In King Arthur's Court, A
1996 Ed
1996 Fan, The
1996 Last Home Run, The
1998 BASEketball
1998 Major League: Back To The Minors
1998 Wide Awake
1999 For The Love Of The Game
1999 Perfect Game
1999 First of May, The
2000 Frequency
2000 My Dog Skip
2000 Frankie and Hazel
2000 Broken Hearts Club, The
2001 A Little Inside
2001 Hardball
2001 Summer Catch
2001 Snow In August
2002 Mickey
2002 Rookie, The
2003 Pitcher and the Pin-Up
2003 Ball Of Wax
2003 Month of Sundays, A
2004 El Sonador
2004 Touching The Game
2004 Mr. 3000
2005 Sandlot 2, The
2005 Bad News Bears
2005 Game 6
2005 Fever Pitch
2005 Rounding First
2005 Upside of Anger, The
2006 Big Guns
2006 Off The Black
2006 Beer League
2006 Full Count
2007 Sandlot, Heading Home, The
2007 American Pastime
2007 Final Season, The
2007 War Eagle Arkansas
2007 For One More Day
2008 Champions Of Faith
2008 Sugar
2008 Touching Home
2008 Black Irish
2008 WooLife
2009 Calvin Marshall
2009 The Perfect Game
2009 Open Road, The
2010 Chasing 3000
2010 Screwball: The Ted Whitfield Story
2010 Yankles, The
2011 Moneyball
2011 A Mile In His Shoes
2011 How Do You Know
2011 One Hit From Home
2012 Catcher, The
2012 Trouble With The Curve
2012 Home Run Showdown
2012 Battery, The
2013 42
2013 Home Run
2013 Dealin' With Idiots
2013 Gibsonburg
2013 Ring the Bell
2013 Season of Miracles
2013 Investigator, The
2014 Million Dollar Arm
2015 Curveball
2016 108 Stitches
2016 Phenom, The
2016 Undrafted
? Babe Ruth Kinogram
2016 Everybody Wants Some !!
2018

Catcher Was a Spy, The

TV Movies

 

1955 Rookie Of The Year
1956 Bang The Drum Slowly
1962 Flashing Spikes
1967 Damn Yankees
1973 Rookie Of The Year
1977 Murder At The World Series
1977 ABC Afterschool Special  
Hewitt's Just Different
1978 Love Affair, The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story, A
1978 One In A Million, The Ron LeFlore Story
1978 Rag Tag Champs, The
1978 Thank You, Jackie Robinson
1979 Bleacher Bums
1979 Aunt Mary
1979 Kid From Left Field, The
1980 Comeback Kid, The
1981 Hallmark Hall of Fame, The      Casey
1981 Don't Look Back, The Story Of Leroy "Satchel" Page
1982 Million Dollar Infield
1983 Tiger Town
1985 Babe, The
1986 Winner Never Quits, A
1987 Long Gone
1990 Court Martial Of Jackie Robinson, The
1991 Babe Ruth
1992 Comrades Of Summer
1993 Cooperstown
1993 Man From Left Field, The
1995 Past The Bleachers
1996 Damn Yankees
1996 Soul Of The Game
1997 Joe Torre:Curveballs Along The Way
2000 Finding Buck McHenry
2000 Angels In The Infield
2001 61*
2001 Bleacher Bums
2004 Hustle
2009 Slow Moe
2017 Perfect Catch, The
2013 Swindle

 

Cartoons

1915 Colonel Heeza Liar At The Bat
1917 Happy Hooligan
1919 Dud Makes A Home Run
1922 Felix Saves The Day
1924 Sport Of Kings
1925 Over The Plate
1927 Alice In The Big League
1929 Ball Park
1931 Play Ball
1932 Ball Game, The
1933 Play Ball
1933 Buddy's Bearcats
1936 The Soft Ball Game
1936 Boulevardier From The Bronx
1937 Kiko at the Bat (Play Ball)
1937 Twisker Pitcher, The
1939 Barnyard Baseball
1940 Foul Ball Player, The
1940 Porky's Broadcast
1942 How To Play Baseball
1943 Screwball
1944 Batty Baseball
1946 Baseball Bugs
1946 Casey At The Bat
1947 Mexican Baseball
1948 Base Brawl
1949 Slide Donald Slide
1954 Gone Batty
1954 Casey Bats Again
1956 Gumby League, The
1957 Great Baseball Mystery
1957 Sahara You
1958 Right Off The Bat
1959 Kiddie League
1960 King of Swat Babe Ruth
1960 Base On Bawls
1960 Popeye
1961 Case of the Big Ball Game, The
1961 Debased Ball
1961 Bats In The Ballpark
1961 Abner The Baseball
1962 How To Be A Successful Umpire
1962 Clyde Crashcup Invents Baseball
1962 Take Me Out To The Ball Game
1962 Ladies Day
1963 Big League Freddie
1965 Little Big League, The
1965 Bat Guy
1966 Living Poetry Series
1968 Concord
1968 Charlie Brown's All Stars
1976 It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown
1976 Aims Instructional Media
1977 Baseball Basics and Blunders
1978 Dinky At The Bat
1979 Take Me Out To The Brawl Game
1979 ABC Weekend Special
1980 Take Me Up To The Ball Game
1980 Umpire Strikes Back, The
1983 Alvin and the Chipmunks
1983 Alvin and the Chipmunks
1985 You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown
1991 Frog Baseball
1992 It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown
1992 Homer At The Bat
1997 Arthur Makes The Team
1999 A League of His Own
2001 Hungry, Hungry Homer
2002 Out For The Team
2002 What's New Scooby -Doo? Sports  Spooktacular
2003 Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown
2003 Bears Team Up!
2005 The Losing Edge
2006 Everyone's Hero
2012 Analysis of Baseball
2014 Henry and Me
1956 Musical LuLu
1931 Japanese Baseball Anime
1959 Seventh Inning Stretch
1954 Foghorn Leghorn ^ Friends
1964 Dreams of Glory
2008 Field of Streams
2011 Curious George Plays Baseball
1986 Baseball's Best Player
1986 The Old Ball Game
1999 A Hero Sits Next Door
2005 All About Steve

Brockmire The Complete First Season

 

 

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I really couldn't add any movies here since all the ones I've seen and like were already listed.  However, the only thing I could add is---

GIO:  Your list has DAMN YANKEES  as a TV movie from 1967!  

Indeed, I saw it at the movies with my folks when it came out in 1958.  

Methinks a revise of your list is suggested.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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I like that in certain movies, like Pride of the Yankees, they refrained from showing you what Lou Gehrig or Gary Cooper looked like at the end.  Cooper did a fantastic job but it can't compare with the real Gehrig's speech.  I think both my parents saw Gehrig play (I know that Dad saw Babe Ruth).

They filmed The Natural around where I live, though I was living in NYC at the time.  I think The Natural won one of TCM's fan favorites a few years ago and Ben M. was up here.

I love the moment in The Natural when he hits the home run and the lights shatter.  It is almost mythical.

My Dad was a Giants fan and, now that they are no longer in NYC, I'm rooting for the Yankees.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

I really couldn't add any movies here since all the ones I've seen and like were already listed.  However, the only thing I could add is---

GIO:  Your list has DAMN YANKEES  as a TV movie from 1967!  

Indeed, I saw it at the movies with my folks when it came out in 1958.  

Methinks a revise of your list is suggested.  ;) 

Sepiatone

It's correct.  There's the film version listed in 1958 under Movies, and NBC produced a TV version of Damn Yankees in 1967.

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7 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

 Re: It's not really about baseball, but I do like the extended scene early on in Woman of the Year in which Spencer Tracy takes Katharine Hepburn to a baseball game."

 EXPERIMENT in TERROR (1962) - 1961 Candlestick Park and some notable, uncredited Los Angeles Dodgers

                                                     image-asset.jpeg?format=750w                                                                       

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7 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

It's not really about baseball, but I do like the extended scene early on in Woman of the Year in which Spencer Tracy takes Katharine Hepburn to a baseball game.

 The Odd Couple (1968) - 1967 Shea Stadium: A triple play was staged prior to a regular season game!

                                                                                                                                th?id=OIP.des1LZRMnPQGbgzfgj1yrgHaHc&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

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