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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph's FAVORITE BASEBALL FILMS

The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Listed here, in no particular order, are my all-time favorite baseball films.

The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

This film is a tribute to the legendary and much beloved New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig who died prematurely from a rare incurable disease.

Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth, Walter Brennan, Dan Duryea, Ludwig Stossel, Addison Richards, and Hardie Albright star.

The Stratton Story (1949)

This is the true story of Chicago White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton that accidentally shot himself in the leg while hunting, got his leg amputated, and still managed to be a success.  

James Stewart, June Allyson, Frank Morgan, Agnes Moorehead, and Bill Williams star.

The Winning Team (1952)

This is the fictionalized biography of the life of Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander, his battles with poor health and alcoholism, trying to make a comeback, and the wife that sticks by him. 

Doris Day, Ronald Reagan, Frank Lovejoy, Eve Miller, James Millican, and Russ Tamblyn star.

It Happens Every Spring (1949)
This utter fantasy centers around a college professor that accidentally discovers a substance which repels all wood, so he takes a leave of absence to become a big star, pitching in major league baseball.

Ray Milland, Jean Peters, Paul Douglas, Ed Begley, Ted De Corsia, Ray Collins, Jessie Royce Landis, Alan Hale, Jr., and Debra Paget star.

Angels in the Outfield (1951)
When a foul-mouthed, foul tempered baseball manager gets told by an angel to curb his obscenities, abusive outbursts, and temper tantrums, he may have to do just that to get his team out of its losing streak, especially after a little girl in the stands sees angels on the ball field wanting to help the team. 

Paul Douglas, Janet Leigh, Keenan Wynn, Donna Corcoran, Spring Byington, Ellen Corby, Lewis Stone, Bruce Bennett, and voice of James Whitmore star.

Whistling in Brooklyn (1943)

This is the last of three "Whistling" films with Red Skelton, where Wally "the Fox" Benton when mistaken for a serial killer has only one good idea, to disguise himself as a baseball player.

Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, Jean Rogers, “Rags” Ragland, Ray Collins, Henry O'Neill, William Frawley, Sam Levene and the Brooklyn Dodgers star.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame (1949)

This film's plot centers around a fictional baseball team under new ownership in 1908, in which this owner, surprisingly a woman, actually wants to run things.

Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Gene Kelly, Betty Garrett, Edward Arnold, Jules Munshin, Richard Lane, Tom Dugan

Rhubarb (1951)

This comedic fictional romp centers around a rich old eccentric leaving in his will his professional baseball team to his adopted feral cat Rhubarb.  

Ray Milland, Jan Sterling, Gene Lockhart, William Frawley, Elsie Holmes, Leonard Nimoy, and Taylor Holmes star.

The Pride of St. Louis (1952)

This biographical film is about the life and career of Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean of the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs in the 1930's and 1940's.

Dan Dailey, Joanne Dru, Richard Crenna, and Hugh Sanders star.

The Natural (1984)
This story about fictional Rob Hobbs was borrowed from an actual event, where 1950's baseball player Eddie Waitkus was shot by a obsessed teenage fan, yet continuing playing baseball. 

Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Wilford Brimley, Richard Farnsworth, Barbara Hershey, Robert Prosky, Darren McGavin, Joe Don Baker

Field of Dreams (1989)

This is a fantasy drama about a man that hears voices in his corn field telling him to build a baseball diamond there, only to learn after doing so, its significance.

Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, Gaby Hoffman, Ray Liotta, Timothy Busfield, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Frank Whaley, and Dwier Brown star.

Eight Men Out (1988)

This film is a dramatization of Major League Baseball's Black Sox Scandal in which eight Chicago White Sox players conspired with gamblers to lose the 1919 World Series.

John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner, Christopher Lloyd, John Mahoney, Charlie Sheen, David Strathairn, D.B. Sweeney, Don Harvey, Michael Rooker, Perry Lang, James Read, Bill Irwin, Kevin Tighe, Studs Terkel, John Anderson, and Maggie Renzi star.

A League of Their Own (1992)

This is a fictionalized story of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) that played professional baseball during World War II.

Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn, Garry Marshall, Megan Cavanagh, Rosie O'Donnell, Renee Coleman, Ann Cusack, Tracy Reiner, and Bill Pullman star.

The Babe Ruth Story (1948)

This film may be sheer fluff, taking a completely idolized look at the career and life of Babe Ruth, but it delivers when one wants sentimentality, acts of kindness, and the fairy tale ending.

William Bendix, Claire Trevor, Charles Bickford, Sam Levene, and William Frawley star.

The Rookie (2002)

This film is based upon the real-life professional baseball player Jim Morris, known as "The Oldest Rookie".

Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, Beth Grant, Angus T. Jones, Brian Cox, Rick Gonzalez, Chad Lindberg, Angelo Spizzirri, Royce D. Applegate, Russell Richardson, Raynor Scheine, David Blackwell, Blue Deckert, and Danny Kamin star.

42 (2014)

This is a story about the racial integration of professional baseball with Jackie Robinson, number 42, the first African American to break the professional baseball color barrier.

Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Merriman, Lucas Black, André Holland, Alan Tudyk, and Hamish Linklater star.

*Contributed by: Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph Date: Thurs, Oct 13, 2005 / 12:00:00 PM PST
Updated: Date: Mon, Aug 4, 2014 / 06:23:00 PM PDT

Movie still displayed: The Pride of the Yankees (1942)


  • The amazing thing about the old baseball films is their innocence. Once upon a time, baseball was a sacred institution and that is captured and reflected in those old films. Even Damn Yankees was a charming if fictious musical. Players played for the love of the game and the viewer can clearly see that. Indeed, for baseball, it was a better time.

    By Blogger ArlenRay, at Thu Oct 13, 01:43:00 PM PDT  

  • Arlen,
    I think one of the reasons that I love baseball films so much is that most of them are feel good films. They always remind me of happy times, going to a late afternoon game, eating a polish sausage, standing up and cheering when someone on my team hits a homer and most of all feeling like the crowd is united in something, be it singing, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", doing "wave", or "rally capping in the ninth" (which is turning your cap inside out as a last ditch lucky charm). I love baseball. I love baseball films.

    By Blogger Elizabeth Van Cleve, at Thu Oct 13, 05:59:00 PM PDT  

  • Sadly, I still haven't had a chance to see most of these older films. I've always wanted to see Cooper as Gehrig & Reagan as Alexander ... I will eventually!

    I agree wholeheartedly on the dones I HAVE seen. I would add, though, maybe at the very top of my list, the wonderful HBO Billy Chrystal movie, 61*.

    While we're on baseball, I haven't seen either of these since I was a kid, but the great Joe E. Brown turned in two memorable performances in Elmer the Great & Alibi Ike, in the 1930s.

    By Blogger MarkMyWord, at Mon Jan 09, 08:10:00 AM PST