It's no secret that one of America's favorite days of the year is opening day (in turn, we are not a fan of the Japan trips that do not allow all teams to open on the same day). With all the controversies that exist in baseball today (steroids, HGH, the designated hitter) it is nice to look to the movies and find an innocence that we all may be losing a grip on. In the spirit of that innocence, we present the top five greatest baseball moments on film:
5. Not to get too sentimental right off the bat (no pun intended, seriously) but is there a scene in any movie that makes a baseball fan cry more than in Field of Dreams when Kevin Costnerfinally gets to share an intimate moment with his father? The answer is no.
4. When seeking ideas for wedding presents we know that candlesticks make a nice gift. Of course, we are not usually in a meeting on the mound in the middle of a minor league baseball game to talk about it. Bull Durham without question is the best baseball movie of all time, and this scene sums up what a veteran catcher who as been in "the show" has to do to get his team to win.
3. Before Tom Hanks won two consecutive Oscars he played the role of Jimmy Dugan (loosely based on Jimmy Foxx) in A League of Their Own. Before Hanks taught us about the plight of an AIDS stricken man in Philadelphia or learning that stupid is as stupid does in Forrest Gump we learned that no matter what…there is no crying in baseball.
2. There was no chance Roy Hobbs' home run in The Natural would not be on this list. Not only is it one of the greatest movie baseball moments of all time, it's one of the greatest movie moments of all time. Of course, Robert Redford was only two years younger at the time than Wilford Brimley who played his manager (and still is two years younger). Of course, it is not Redford's fault that Brimley looked 60 years old when he was in his forties.
1. The best baseball movie moment? Roger Maris hitting his sixty-first home run in 61. Why? Because it actually happened (and we apologize for the poor youtube clip). For anyone growing tired of story after story of how steroids are changing the game, there is no need to look any further than this North Dakota native. Not only did Maris break the record fair and square (in front of a less-than sold-out crowd) with his more popular teammate Mickey Mantle chasing the record as well as the ghost of Babe Ruth lurking, Maris had more to deal with than any pharmaceutically enhanced player today could possibly imagine. When we observe players' transgressions of the present, we need to look at the heart of a player from the past. For this, when we think of Roger Maris all we can do is stand up and applaud.
Did your favorite clip not make the list? Let us know!