Ranking the Best Baseball Movies to Watch During MLB Hiatus – Bleacher Report

Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal in The Bad News Bears.

Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal in The Bad News Bears.Associated Press

15. The Stratton Story (1949)

IMDb (7.1) and Rotten Tomatoes (81%)

Monty Stratton was an All-Star pitcher for the Chicago White Sox until he lost his right leg in a hunting accident in 1938. But with the help of a prosthetic leg, he continued to pitch in the minor leagues from 1946 to 1953.

It’s an unlikely tale, and it’s told well in The Stratton Story courtesy of an Oscar-winning script by Douglas Morrow and a star turn by the legendary James Stewart. Just be warned that this one requires at least a mild appreciation for black-and-white movies from the distant past.


14. Fear Strikes Out (1957)

IMDb (7.0) and Rotten Tomatoes (77%)

Despite its loose relation to the facts of its subject matter’s life, Fear Strikes Out offers a compelling and certainly ahead-of-its-time look at Jimmy Piersall’s struggles with bipolar disorder during his career as an All-Star outfielder.

This one is worth seeking out just for star Anthony Perkins. Three years before he brought a quiet menace to his role as Norman Bates in Psycho, he channeled fury and pathos to craft a genuinely heartbreaking performance as Piersall.


13. The Bad News Bears (1976)

IMDb (7.3) and Rotten Tomatoes (80%)

As a story about a disinterested drunk (Walter Matthau) who accepts a gig coaching a Little League team full of foul-mouthed misfits, The Bad News Bears drew a shocked yet enthusiastic reception when it was released 44 years ago. Nowadays, it might play as a proto-South Park for modern audiences.

If nothing else, the original Bad News Bears is a hell of a lot more genuine than the watered-down 2005 remake. It also boasts an impressive cast of kid actors, including Oscar winner Tatum O’Neal (Amanda Whurlitzer) and future Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley (Kelly Leak).


12. Eight Men Out (1988)

IMDb (7.2) and Rotten Tomatoes (80%)

Beyond popularizing the famous line, “Say it ain’t so, Joe,” Eight Men Out offers a thorough retelling of how and why the White Sox—or the “Black Sox,” as they’re known today—conspired to throw the World Series in 1919.

This film was a passion project on the part of director John Sayles, and it comes through in its palpable authenticity. It’s also buoyed by a terrific cast that includes John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, David Strathairn, Christopher Lloyd and future Guardians of the Galaxy star Michael Rooker.


11. Sugar (2008)

IMDb (7.2) and Rotten Tomatoes (80%)

Speaking of people who later made it big in the Marvel Universe, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck co-wrote and co-directed Sugar more than a decade before they helmed Captain Marvel in 2019.

Sugar is a fish-out-of-water tale about the trials of phenom pitcher Miguel “Sugar” Santos (played by Algenis Perez Soto) on his journey from the Dominican Republic to the American minor leagues. Though entirely fictional, it serves as a generally authentic and profound window into what Latin American prospects go through to make it in affiliated ball.

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