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Baseball Tue Feb 16 2010

Top 20 Baseball Movies to Watch in the Off Season

Editor's Note: This article was submitted by freelance sportswriter John Niederkorn.

There are two seasons in Chicago: winter and baseball season -- and baseball season is right around the corner... No, really, it is! And when those pitchers and catchers report to spring training in just a few days it will mark the symbolic end of winter.

Although it may be impossible to visualize a three-run-homer racing towards a sea of shirtless, sunburned Bleacher Bums, while over a foot of leftover blizzard snow still sits on the ground... Soon the snow will be replaced with gleaming white chalk lines, emerald green grass and childlike dreams of championships.

If You List Them, They Will Watch...

February in Chicago can prove to be a little difficult as far as the weather is concerned. In order to survive the rest of the winter and get excited about the upcoming baseball season I have complied a list of quintessential baseball movies below that everyone should watch (or watch again) to chase your winter blues away and boost your morale for opening day.

There is also a list of movies that were shot at (or outside of) Wrigley Field, which are denoted by a copyright symbol -- © -- for Cubs. The list is exclusive to feature-length movies and excludes documentary films and films made before the year 1950.

This compilation represents all film genres, ranging form cornball comedies to dramatic thrillers. The versatility of baseball, as a film trope, and the power behind its storytelling capabilities is evident in each movie.

The movies are listed in order of overall relevancy, represented by each film's aesthetic presentation of the game and how baseball influences American culture. The spirit and passion found in the game is present in each of these films, making it clear why baseball will always remain this country's "national pastime."

Top 20 Baseball Movies to Watch in the Off Season:
1. The Natural
2. Field of Dreams
3. 61* (The Roger Maris Story)
4. The Sandlot
5. Frequency
6. Bull Durham
7. 8 Men Out
8. Major League
9. Cobb
10. Bad News Bears (1976)
11. Game 6
12. A League of Their Own ©
13. The Rookie
14. For the Love of the Game
15. Mr. Destiny
16. Fever Pitch
17. The Fan
18. Rookie of the Year ©
19. Taking Care of Business
20. Brewster's Millions

9 (Mostly) Non-Baseball Movies Filmed at Wrigley Field:
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
The Blues Brothers
The Babe
Mr. 3000
Kissing a Fool
Damn Yankees!
The Express
Sleepless in Seattle
The Break-Up

If there is a film you think should be on either list, or if you have any comments or questions, please address them below.

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Jason / February 16, 2010 7:27 PM

Bull Durham is not a baseball movie. And Rookie of the Year makes a mockery of baseball.

John / February 17, 2010 1:36 AM

Ok... If Bull Durham isn't a baseball movie...

Rookie of the Year is hilarious, and it reminds me of a time when the Cubs were really, really terrible and the prospect of a 12 year-old pitching them into the playoffs wasn't that far from reality in those days.

Jason / February 17, 2010 9:22 AM

More on Bull Durham here.

Jason / February 17, 2010 9:23 AM

Let's try that Bull Durham link again.

John / February 17, 2010 1:25 PM

Movies are just that, movies. They are usually not a direct representation of actual events unless otherwise stated. I don't really know how one person's bad review of Bull Durham as a "movie" really discredits its validity as a "baseball" film, which is what the list above is. Baseball is a game, it's supposed to be fun, irreverent and sometimes nonsensical. You said Bull Durham was NOT a baseball movie? I still haven't seen any evidence of this from your end. At best you could say Bull Durham is not a good movie? And if that's what you think then say that... But Bull Durham IS, in every way, a baseball movie.

Bob Frapples / February 17, 2010 1:47 PM

How could Mr Baseball not be on this list? Tom Selleck's moustache should be on the list alone.

John / February 17, 2010 1:54 PM

Mr. Baseball was considered. And it would be in the Top 25... Based on your mustache theory alone...

Jason / February 17, 2010 1:55 PM

Bull Durham is a romantic comedy that is neither romantic nor funny. Baseball is merely a prop in the movie, used so that guys will watch what is, in essence, a chick flick. Just because it has baseball in it (or what purports to be baseball) does not make it a "baseball movie."

The fact that they chose a star player who throws like a girl makes it clear they had no intent to create a baseball movie.

Bob Frapples / February 17, 2010 3:36 PM

What about "Pride of the Yankees"? Gary Cooper eats Babe Ruth's straw hat.

John / February 17, 2010 3:59 PM

I have never seen that movie. And the list does not include movies before 1950. Pride of the Yankees was made in 1942. Another movie that was considered was The Jackie Robinson Story.

andujar / February 18, 2010 10:00 PM

"Bang the Drum Slowly" is an excellent DeNiro flick. One of the best baseball movies, in my opinion.

Mary / February 20, 2010 6:52 AM

Um what about "Long Gone"? A made for TV flick starring William Petersen a "real baseball (Go CUBS!) fan"

Kristin E. / February 23, 2010 9:04 AM

My mom send me the link to this article! Its great! Creative! Also, I am glad to see "Fever Pitch" made it on the top 20 list, its definitely my favorite baseball movie!! Congrats!
-Cousin Kristin

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