There’s absolutely no question the best sports movie genre is baseball. We could sit around and talk about baseball movies all day debating which is the best of all time or the most underrated, or if Field of Dreams counts as a baseball movie (it does). You have a handful of great sports movies for all the other sports combined. With so many great movies, and opening day in MLB, it’s time we compile the list of the movie version of a Murderers Row, with plenty of my Major League movie bias showing.
This is the lineup you’re putting out there for game 7 of the World Series. These guys are the ones you’re starting if there is no tomorrow, and they’re walking away from that game winners, hands down.
Starting Pitcher- Billy Chapel (For Love of the Game)
This movie gets a lot shit for being too much of a romantic movie rather than a baseball movie, and I think that’s bullshit. First, with any sports movie, there’s always going to be some dramatic backstory to go along with the action you see on the field. If there weren’t, you’d literally just be watching a baseball game. Not to mention, the backstory between Billy Chapel and Jane isn’t too overbearing. The real story of the movie is Billy Chapel vs. time, and it’s played out wonderfully. Which is why he’s getting the starting nod. Proven that in a position where, for him, there literally is no tomorrow, Billy throws the game of his life. 27 outs in a row, showing he has the longevity and endurance to throw deep into the game, age being nothing but a number. While it wouldn’t be expected he’s going to go out there and toss another perfect game, you’d expect him to at least get you to the 7th or 8th inning.
1.Center Field- Willie Mays Hayes (Major League)
Leading off and starting in center, the fastest man in sports movie history, Willie Mays Hayes will get on base, and he has the green-light to take off running whenever he wants. For whichever base he wants. The man will steal home late in the game if you need him to. Plus, depending on the score, he’s bulked up in the off season, so it’s not entirely out of the question he can go deep and add a quick run at the right time.
2. Second Base- Marla Hooch (A League of their Own)
This woman has it all. She’ll hit line drives with ease that’ll hit the outfield grass leaving a dent in the ground and Willie Mays in scoring position. She also boasts the best singing voice on the team, putting on a stellar performance while drunk, which everyone knows is when people are at their most musically gifted. On the field, she’s all business, and her skills in the field are plenty to back up the big bat she carries.
3. Short Stop- Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez
It’s never fully shown what position Benny would play in the movie, though when they practice, he ghosts, taking the position of whoever is at bat. This show’s he’s the ultimate utility player, which I think mean’s he’d be a superstar infielder with the quickness to turn two. Possibly by himself, because I have a feeling his partner Marla Hooch might be slow to the bag on a few you grounders, and also possibly confused as to what to do. Benny has made it clear he has the skill set and smarts to pick up the slack for his teammates though.
4. DH-Roy Hobbs (The Natural)
This is without question the easiest spot to plug the best there ever was in the game into the lineup. He’s got enough power to either knock the skin off the ball or send it into another area code. Like his starting pitcher, he’s also battling time, but he’s shown neither a bullet wound nor a broken bat would stop him. Playing in his last game, with the game on the line, he not only hits the ball out of the park, he causes some pretty massive property damage to the stadium, as one last “fuck you” to the team owner who tried to end his career for good.
5. Left Field- Bobby Rayburn (The Fan)
We’re going to assume that this game is played in both decent weather and without a home plate umpire who has a knife and an usual infatuation with Rayburn. Coming in as a high priced free agent, the media presence and rising stardom of his teammate threw his first half of the season with the Giants off. However, with the death of that teammate, we saw the Bobby Rayburn San Francisco was hoping they’d signed at the beginning of the season. Put that bat in the 5 hole, keep Benicio Del Toro’s character in a 6 foot hole, and he’d be in line for a fantastic game. He’d also get along great with his center fielder, Willie Mays Hayes.
6. DH- Pedro Cerrano (Major League)
Another one who has shown that in do-or-die moments, he will persevere. Maybe a shot of rum before the game and some prayers to Jobu, hopefully the opposing pitchers curve is off, and Pedro would be a force to reckon with. His fielding isn’t bad, but we wouldn’t want him to lose focus on the game due to an injured pigeon on the field of play, so he’ll take the DH for this one.
7. First Base- Lou Collins
This guy was an all-star in the movie, and even is the only one on this list who has some action against real major leaguers. Is he the smartest when it comes to the game? Absolutely not, and he can let some things get in the way of his batting, such as his penchant for the mother of his manager. On this team though, I have a feeling the managers mother is either dead or in a state an all star like Lou wouldn’t have much interest, so batting in the 7 spot should do the trick for an aging all star at the tail end of his career.
8. Third Base- Ray Mitchell (Angels in the Outfield)
The only player who was doing good before God stepped in to help, he’d fill a nice spot in the lineup in almost any spot. Not to mention, if God does help, then he’ll probably do even better. He also has the best hair on the team.
9. Catcher- Crash Davis (Bull Durham)
Even though I don’t agree with his belief that Oswald acted alone, I can get behind his love of baseball (and women). He shows he is both a leader and a teacher, helping the immature Nuke Laloosh make it to the show, despite his character flaws. Crash has spent his entire career in the minors (minus his one short stint in the big leagues) so this is taking a risk on a player who, besides what we see in the movie, probably was never above average. It’s his leadership though that gets him on the team, and his ability to also work well with his starting pitcher. Since they’re played by the same actor and all.
Relief Pitcher- Henry Rowengartner (Rookie of the Year)
Yeah he’s got a rocket arm, but he’s also injury prone. After Billy Chapel takes it as far as he can, Henry can go out there for a batter or two. If he happens to do the improbable and lose all his talent in one swift fall, he can also use his backup floater pitch to keep batters guessing, and get out of the inning.
Closer- Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn
With the best walk out song of all time for a closer (Suck it, Mariano), Rick Vaughn takes the ball to get the final three outs. He has the best stuff in the game, and though he can start, it’s at the end of the game we really have faith in him. It’s honestly a wonder how he stayed in the California Penal League all those years, and whatever scout saw him definitely deserved a raise. He may have a pitch in his repertoire called “the masturbator” that he didn’t name himself, but its his heater that players will have to look out for. Literally, if he even misses just a bit outside, batters may lose limbs.
Bench: Roger Dorn
Dorn is actually high priced with not much talent, but when needed, he can put some bat on the ball and get on base. Also when needed- he can throw his body in front of a pitch and take one for the team, showing he actually is a team player. He also has improved his fielding abilities, no longer doing any of that ole’ bullshit, and putting his body in front of grounders. He won’t do much in the field, but if you need someone to pinch hit and get on base, Dorn and his back are the ones to send up to plate.
First Base coach/Pitching coach- Phil Brickma (Rookie of the Year)
There’s no shot in hell this guy isn’t sitting in the dugout with this team, choking on his chew while he gets his hot ice ready for players to condition their bodies with after the game.
Third Base coach/Hitting coach- Jake Taylor (Major League)
This guys life is baseball. Sure, he didn’t want to become some overweight has been with his belly sticking over his belt who couldn’t cut it anymore, but he took the reins of the Indians when Lou Brown went down with the age old excuse of a heart attack. And he did pretty damn good, managing quite the roster of quirky characters, and helping Rube Baker get over his mental illness of not being able to throw back to the pitchers mound by thinking of Playboy playmates. That’s solid coaching.
Manager- Jimmy Dugan (A League of their Own)
There is no better manager in all of the history of baseball cinema. Lou Brown was close, from Major League, as was Pop from The Natural. Neither one of them ever told their players “There’s no crying in baseball” though, which is one of the absolute most important pieces of advice any player, from the little leagues, to the majors, needs to know. He also would be pounding beers in between innings, and that’s the kinda guy I want leading my team.
Announcer- Tie- Harry Doyle (Major League) and Vin Scully (For Love of the Game)
Harry Doyle is 100% announcing any fictional game, in my mind. Hell, half the time I hear him announcing regular games in my head. He is the epitome of baseball broadcasters, and his one liners during the movie are as important as the characters themselves. Vin Scully, obviously, is probably one of the greatest of all time to do it in real life. In For Love of the Game, he shows audiences why. That final inning, talking about Billy Chapel making the final out for his perfect game, in the cathedral that is Yankee Stadium, gives me goosebumps every time I watch it to this day.
Guardian Angel: Al (Angels in the Outfield)
This was a real toss up. Who did we want watching over the team though? It was either him or John Goodman’s Babe Ruth from The Babe, or Benicio Del Toros character from The Fan. We figured he wouldn’t do much good for Bobby Rayburn though, and the Babe is busy eating hot dogs and chasing broads in Hell, so we had to go with the obvious choice.