The 10 Best MLB Appearances In Film

There are many great baseball movies out there – feel-good stories that tug at the heartstrings, slapstick comedies, and even the odd thriller. Field of Dreams is often at the top of baseball movie lists. Bull Durham is another excellent baseball movie that explores the grind of minor league baseball.

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But something special happens when a Major League Baseball team is central to the plot of a movie. It makes the story real. So whether you are a fan of baseball or just a lover of great films, you will want to check out the best baseball movies featuring an MLB team. Batter up!

New York Yankees – ‘Pride of the Yankees’ (1942)

One of the earliest baseball movies ever made is one of the greatest baseball movies ever made. Pride of the Yankees tells the true-life story of Yankee great Lou Gehrig and his battle with ALS. The illness that cut his life short at age 37 would be known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The New York Yankees organization is one of the most storied franchises in baseball. Gary Cooper portrays the Yankee slugger, delivering one of the most memorable lines in movie history taken from Gehrig’s goodbye speech at Yankee Stadium: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.” If you get a chance to watch this movie, consider yourself lucky.


Chicago White Sox – ‘Eight Men Out’ (1988)

The biggest scandal ever to hit Major League Baseball is retold in the film, Eight Men Out. In 1919, gamblers convinced eight Chicago White Sox players to throw the World Series. The ensuing fallout would forever label the team the Black Sox.

Solid performances from John Mahoney as White Sox manager Kid Gleason, Christopher Lloyd as the sketchy Bill Burns, DB Sweeney as Shoeless Joe Jackson, and Charlie Sheen as Happy Felsch makes this film as entertaining as it is historical. Today, the Chicago White Sox uniforms are similar to the black-and-white striped prisoner garb from back in the day. Irony?

Cleveland Indians – ‘Major League’ (1989)

Editor’s note: At the time of Major League’s release, the Cleveland Guardians team were known as Cleveland Indians. The team’s name was changed in 2021 over concerns of racism.

A rags-to-riches story about a lousy team on the brink of relocation, Major League features an ensemble cast of 80s actors. Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Wesley Snipesand Corbin Bernsen make up the lowly Cleveland Indians, who become motivated enough to turn the team around.

The Cleveland Guardians did wallow at the bottom of the standings for years, posting losing records for the majority of the ’80s and’ 90s. It was not until the mid-’90s did the team finally rise to prominence with two World Series appearances– losing both times.

Oakland Athletics – ‘Moneyball’ (2011)

The Oakland A’s developed a system for turning baseball into a numbers game. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill earned Academy Award nominations for their roles in Moneyball. Their critically acclaimed performances as GM Billy Beane and Assistant GM Peter Brand respectively were well-received by audiences and baseball fans alike.

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The Oakland A’s ushered in a new style of playing baseball by employing analysis and sabermetrics instead of paying over-inflated contracts to “star” players. The system worked so well that the Boston Red Sox tried to poach Beane as their GM the following year by offering him the richest head office salary in the league. Beane turned it down.

Chicago Cubs – ‘Rookie of the Year’ (1993)

An injury turns 12-year-old Henry Rowengartner’s arm (Thomas Ian Nicholas) into a freak of nature in Rookie of the Year. He is discovered by the Chicago Cubs and lives out his fantasy of pitching in the Major Leagues, taking them all the way to the World Series championship.

The Chicago Cubs held two dubious records in Major League Baseball: the longest drought without a pennant (71 years) and the longest drought without a World Series win (108 years). Henry Rowengartner’s fantasy of bringing Chicago the World Series had to suffice for Cubs fans for another 23 years before the team finally won it all in 2016.

Boston Red Sox – ‘Fever Pitch’ (2005)

Boston Red Sox fans are the definition of die-hard. What more significant romantic gesture could there be than a Red Sox fan giving up his season’s tickets in the name of love? Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore fall in love in the shadow of the Green Monster in Fever Pitcha romantic comedy from the Farrelly Brothers.

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During the film’s production, the Boston Red Sox were in the heat of a pennant race and beat the Yankees to break the Curse of the Bambino and an 86-year championship drought. In the clinching game of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Farrelly Brothers filmed Fallon and Barrymore in character on the field during the celebration and embracing with a kiss.

Minnesota Twins – ‘Little Big League’ (1994)

Little Big League is family-friendly fare about 12-year-old Billy Heywood inheriting his grandfather’s favorite possession: the Minnesota Twins. Billy does what every kid would do in that situation: name himself manager of the club. Billy turns the team around by convincing the players they need to have fun playing baseball.

The movie gave Twins fans something to cheer about, as 1994-95 featured a baseball strike and the cancellation of the remainder of the season. With the work stoppage, several major league players were available to make cameos in the film, including Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnsonand Sandy Alomar Jr.

San Francisco Giants – ‘The Fan’ (1996)

Robert DeNiro channels his inner Max Cady (Cape Fear) in the baseball psychological thriller, The Fan. Wesley Snipes is Bobby Rayburn, Gil Renard’s (Deniro) favorite player and the team’s highest-paid star. When Rayburn doesn’t give it his all, Gil takes an obsession to the next level.

The San Francisco Giants play their home games at Candlestick Park, a legendary stadium for the cold wind whipping off the bay. It’s enough to make any baseball fan go a little nuts.

Tampa Bay Rays – ‘The Rookie’ (2002)

Walt Disney Pictures gets into the game with Dennis Quaid as Jim Morris in The Rookiea pitcher who makes his major league debut at the age of 35. The science teacher rediscovers his fastball and makes the unlikely journey from the minors to The Show.

Morris pitches for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the film. After the 2007 season, the team dropped the controversial word devil to just Rays, representing both the fish and the Sunshine State. The move seemed to work. After ten straight losing seasons as the Devil Rays, in 2008, the newly minted Tampa Bay Rays went to the World Series.

California Angels – ‘Angels in the Outfield’ (1994)

A remake of the 1951 film of the same name, Angels in the Outfieldstars the then-unknown Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an orphan who sneaks into California Angels games and can see heavenly angels helping the players.

The Walt Disney-made feature also stars Danny Glover as the Angels manager, Christopher Lloyd as the head angel, and minor roles for future stars Adrian Brody and Matthew McConaughey. This movie is the stuff of baseball fantasy. As the movie poster implores: You Gotta Believe!

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