The Bad News Bears 1976
As hilariously rough around the edges as its foulmouthed, Chico’s Bail Bonds-sponsored Little League team, this classic comedy is a prepubescent middle finger to every sappily uplifting coming-of-age sports movie ever made.
Bull Durham 1988
A catcher (Kevin Costner) is sent down-league to mentor a hotshot with a hot arm (Tim Robbins), and they find themselves in a love triangle with Susan Sarandon’s devotee of the Church of Baseball. The ne plus ultra of baseball films is a perfectly pitched screwball.
Eight Men Out 1988
A year before Field of Dreams had the game-throwing 1919 Chicago White Sox wandering out of a magic cornfield looking for redemption, they were the subject of John Sayles’ superior drama about the infamous gambling conspiracy that got the team dubbed the Black Sox. When paired with Major League, Eight Men Out makes a great late-’80s Charlie Sheen double play.
A League of Their Own 1992
There’s no crying in baseball, but there’s plenty of laughing to be had with a grizzled, washed-up Tom Hanks and his indomitable band of female sluggers, led by Geena Davis’ hard-hitting catcher, Dottie. Go, Peaches!
Sugar 2008 Emotionally textured and small-scale, Sugar tells the story of a pitcher from the Dominican Republic (Algenis Perez Soto) who moves to Iowa to play on a Single A team affiliate, a lower rung from which he’s expected to climb. It’s a lovely portrayal of the chase for the American dream from the directorial pair behind Half Nelson. A minor-league movie in a pleasingly minor key.