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May 2007  
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Take Me Back to the Hits of the Big Screen…
…And buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack to munch, please.

When it comes to the best sports movies of all time, those like “Rocky” and “Rudy” and “Miracle” are among those that come to mind. While just about every sport has been showcased on the cinema screen, there have been quite a few baseball flicks worth catching.

When they say these Bears are bad news, they aren’t kidding. But hey, how can you not get a kick out of a team of not-so-good little leaguers who are being coached by an alcoholic pool cleaner (a former minor leaguer) played by Walter Matthau. In “Bad News Bears” (1976), Matthau’s character, Coach Morris Buttermaker, decides to recruit a former ex-girlfriend’s daughter, Amanda Whurlizer (Tatum O’Neil) who is quite the pitching ace and known for her athleticism, along with the local troublemaker, Kelly Leak. But will these new additions to the team be enough for the Bad News Bears to capture a championship win? Rated PG.

Based on Mark Harris’ 1958 novel, “Bang the Drum Slowly” (1973) is not only a film about America’s favorite pastime, but it’s also a story of the true meaning of “teammates”. When star pitcher Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty) find out his friend, catcher Bruce Pearson (Robert DiNiro), has a terminally ill disease, he does all he can to make sure Bruce’s last season a memorable one. Admit it guys, this one does kind of bring a tear (or two) to your eyes. Rated PG.

Even Red Sox fans who shun anything Yankee-related can appreciate the story of Lou Gehrig’s life in the biopic “Pride of the Yankees” (1942). Playing in 2,130 consecutive games in his 14-year career before falling prey, at age 37, to a deadly nerve disease called ALS, Gehrig proudly considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Though it may be over 60 years old, this story of such a heroic athlete (played by Gary Cooper) is still considered one of the great baseball movies of all time. In fact, both Cooper and Teresa Wright, who played Lou’s wife Eleanor, earned Oscar nominations for their memorable performances. Not Rated.

While he may be a little old for the big leagues, farm boy Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) proves it’s never too late to live out your dreams in “The Natural” (1984). As an unknown middle-aged batter, Hobbs somehow appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930’s baseball team to the top of the league in this magical sports fantasy. With the aid of a bat cut from a lightning struck tree, Hobbs lives the fame he should have had earlier when, as a rising pitcher, he was strangely shot by a crazed fan. Based on a 1952 novel by Bernard Malamud, “The Natural” was nominated for four Academy Awards. Rated PG.

Catch one or catch them all – we promise you’ll score big with these classic baseball hits.


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