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Top Nine Must-See Baseball Movies

By Lou DiPietro

Here at Niner HQ we love baseball. And, of course, we love to watch fictional baseball on TV. So, naturally, we're giddy that Moneyball is up for Best Picture at the Academy Awards on February 26. Given the Academy's usual preferences, I don't expect it to win, nor do I expect Brad Pitt to walk away with his first Best Actor Oscar, but you never know, right?

Still, it's a pretty good movie, and the Oscar discussion got our editorial team (read: me, two old ladies, and a goat) thinking about other "must-see" baseball movies. We think you'll agree with this list ... and if not, then you can answer to our special image consultant, Mr. K. Powers.

  • MAJOR LEAGUE 2 (1993)

    The sequel to 1989's Major League gave us Willie "Mays" Hayes as Black Hammer, Randy Quaid as a bleacher creature, and the long-awaited play-by-play debut of Monty. Also, nine points if you get the joke in the photo.

  • THE NATURAL (1984)

    With the aid of his blessed bat Wonderboy, Roy Hobbs returns to fictional baseball prominence and helps a group of losers end up in first place. Sure, that's roughly the plot of about 5,000 other baseball movies, but none of those starred Wilford Brimley.

  • BAD NEWS BEARS

    All hail the Bears, the team that made Chico's Bail Bonds famous and gave us the most foul-mouthed 10-year-old this side of South Park. However, unlike most sports movie subjects, this group doesn't win the big game at the end. Way to go, Buttermaker.

  • 61* (2001)

    HBO's 2001 biopic about the Mantle/Maris home run race was directed by Billy Crystal and features a voiceover cameo by legendary Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard. It doesn't get much cooler than that, folks.

  • BULL DURHAM (1988)

    "Crash" Davis calls his cup of coffee in the bigs "the 21 greatest days of my life." We had Susan Sarandon as the No. 3 Sports Movie Actress in a previous Niner. This one's a win all around.

  • FIELD OF DREAMS (1989)

    "If you build it, they will come." 'Nuff said.

  • MAJOR LEAGUE (1989)

    True story: I have here on my desk at Niner HQ a baseball autographed by Corbin "Roger Dorn" Bernsen. I can't tell you what it says because this is a family Web site, but I can tell you that in true character fashion, he charged me $20 for the signature. Come on, Dorn!

  • THE SANDLOT (1993)

    Like many boys, I too spent countless hours every summer at the field by my house playing a game I love. I never got to kiss Wendy Peffercorn or talk shop with Darth Vader, though.

  • A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992)

    Of course this is No. 1, and that photo to the right there might represent the most iconic line of the film. It's like Jimmy Dugan said: "Anything worth doin' is worth doin' right."
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