Baseball in Hollywood

Benjamin Edwards at has an enjoyable and seemingly comprehensive article up chronicling the history of baseball movies. The ones that we always talk about — “Bull Durham,” “Major League,” “The Natural,” and “Eight Men Out” are clustered at the bottom. You’re going to want to read this for the vast majority of films discussed here that you’ve never heard of. Like this one:

1927 gave us “Babe Comes Home,” a silly tale starring Babe Ruth as Babe Dugan, a star hitter who has given up tobacco for his new wife. He goes into a slump before the big game and ultimately his wife tosses him his chewing tobacco from the stands just in time to hit the winning home run.

If such a movie were made today there would be Congressional hearings followed by indictments.

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  1. Millsy said...

    Anyone around here seen Long Gone:

    Actually came out before Bull Durham (by one year) but is a similar type of movie, though a bit more vulgar and inappropriate (ahem…Virginia Madsen’s character: Dixie Lee Boxx).  I think it’s an underrated movie and one that everyone who enjoys baseball should see.  You’ll at least get some laughs out of it.

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I LOVED Long Gone when it came out.  HBO movie if I recall, starring William Peterson as player/manager Studs Cantrell of the Tampico Stogies.  It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but I would guess that it holds up.

  3. lar said...

    Good link, Craig. Incredibly long. Might be reading that one for a while.

    Someone over at BBTF mentioned a movie in the comments yesterday called “Death on the Diamond” (1936). Mickey Rooney has a part in it somewhere. Sounds like it’s a murder mystery involving the St Louis Cardinals. Players keep being found dead around the ballpark (yet they continue the game every time). Can’t wait to rent that one.

  4. Travis M. Nelson said...

    Hardly comprehensive.  It omits, among others:

    “The Winning Team (1952)”, starring one future US president as a ballplayer named after a former US president,

    “The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings (1976)”, an interesting and fun movie about the Negro Leagues,

    He missed lots of bio/histories like The Pride of St. Louis (about Dizzy Dean), Don’t Look Back (about Satchel), 61*, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, and The Rookie (Jim Morris), and Cobb, among others. 

    Also lots of forgettable dreck like Summer Catch, Angels in the Outfield, Stealing Home, Big Leaguer, Hardball, and the straight-to-the-discount-DVD-bin, “Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way”.

  5. Jeff J. Snider said...

    Did you know something like that really happened?  (Or at least it was reported to have happened…)  Back in 1987, Mike Greenwell had given up chewing tobacco and gone into a terrible slump.  The day he un-gave it up, he hit for the cycle.

  6. Wade said...

    Ball of Wax – 2003

    A rich superstar takes his loads of money and turns his teammates into a band of uber-evil pranksters who prey on each other for his soon-to-be-retiring amusement.  He tired of baseball and so he made some new games to hold his interest.

    Small budget, “indie” movie.  90 mins.

    A bit disturbing actually.

    Have a good weekend everybody.

  7. Jim C said...

    One of my favorites is “Little Big League”, about a 12 year old who inherits the Minnesota Twins when his grandfather dies. What I like about is the fact that many real players of the time are featured, all of the baseball is authentic, and the Twins DON’T win in the end. Also a great soundtrack with Stanley Clarke and Jeff Beck.

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