Baseball Movies Based on True Stories Every Baseball Fan Must Watch

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HomeBlogsChris Sloan's blogBaseball Movies Based on True Stories Every Baseball Fan Must Watch
Baseball Movies Based on True Stories Every Baseball Fan Must Watch
Chris Sloan

According to Nielsen Sports, there are over 170 million baseball fans in the United States. Considering that number plus other fans worldwide, there’s no denying that it is a sport that captures hearts around the globe. That’s why it’s no wonder than many producers have featured many real life stories surrounding this sport for the big screen. And of course, it’s a plus for us fans as we get to witness the dedication of players who pour their heart and soul into the game, the camaraderie of teammates who become like family, the resilience of those who face setbacks but never give up – it allows us to see what’s really happening behind the scenes. 

We’ve spent countless hours watching various baseball movies based on real life to find the best ones out there, and we're here to share our top picks! Some of these can be watched on several streaming services, while others can be a bit challenging to find. Nonetheless, they’re all worth watching, so putting in more effort wouldn’t hurt. Let’s start!

The Hill (2023)

The Hill is a film about the story of Rickey Hill, a young man from Texas who dreams of playing baseball despite a chronic illness that requires him to wear leg braces. His father is a pastor whom discourages him from the sport because as a parent, he worries about him getting injuries. Instead, his father wanted him to pursue a career in the chuch instead. Unfortunately, their family was evicted from their home, so they had to move to Oklahoma. 

Despite Rickey’s limitations, his passion for baseball burns bright – so he secretly joined a local team even though his father disapproves. He’s a talented hitter, that’s for sure. However, getting noticed by Major League Basketball (MLB) has always been difficult. With the support of a few key people, Rickey gets a chance to showcase his skills at a major league tryout, which led him to be one of the best hitters of all time in the MLB. 

The Rookie (2002)

If you’re up for a feel-good movie, we’d recommend The Rookie. It’s about the story of Jim Morris who’s a high school science teacher who once dreamed of being a major league baseball player. But an injury years ago stopped him cold. Now he coaches a team that's, well, not very good. One day, Jim and his players make a crazy bet. If the team wins their district and makes the playoffs, Jim will try out for the pros again.

This unlikely bet gets Jim back on the field, throwing fastballs he didn't know he still had. It's a classic underdog story, with Jim facing pressure from his family, his own doubts, and the tough life in the minor leagues. But along the way, he inspires his team and even starts to patch things up with his dad. It’s a simple story about hard work and determination to reach you dreams. A truly inspirational movie that’ll make you laugh and cry. You can watch this movie on various platforms like Disney Plus, Tubi, Dish TV, Apple TV, and more. 

A League of Their Own (1992)

A League of Their Own is a fun baseball movie that takes you back to World War 2, when there weren't enough men to play. So, they came up with a crazy idea – a women's baseball league. This funny and heartwarming movie follows the Rockford Peaches where you’ll meet Dottie (Geena Davis), a super catcher and leader. There’s also her sister Kit (Lori Petty) throws a fastball and has a fiery personality. The other players are just as cool – a sassy dancer, a tough but nice bouncer, and even a shy beauty queen who can really pitch!

They are managed by Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), a retired baseball player who likes to drink a bit too much. He's grumpy on the outside, but secretly wants these women to win and show everyone what they can do. Even though it's a made-up story, the movie tells you about a real women's baseball league that actually existed, called the AAGPBL. It was a cool part of baseball history. 

The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Ever heard of the Lou Gehrig’s disease? Well, this movie is about the Lou Gehrig who suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at age 37. It’s a real tearjerker, so make sure to prepare your tissues beforehand. Lou's a talented young guy with a dream of playing ball, but his mom wants him to be an engineer. A sportswriter sees Lou's potential and helps him get noticed by the Yankees. He signs with the team to pay for his mom's medical bills, even though she doesn't approve. Lou works hard and becomes a star player, earning the nickname "Iron Horse" for his strength and never-ending streak of games played. 

He meets a girl named Eleanor, they fall in love, and get married, despite his mom's disapproval again. Now, he's got a loving wife, a ton of fans, and is at the top of his game. Then everything changes. Lou starts feeling weaker and weaker, and eventually has to take himself out of a game. He finds out he has a terrible disease that can't be cured. On a special day at Yankee Stadium honoring Lou, he tells the crowd, even though he's sick, he considers himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth." It's a sad story, but it’s also inspiring. 

This is probably the best baseball movie based on a true story, so if you plan to watch this, make sure to have a fast and stable internet connection like HughesNet internet so you can really enjoy and understand the film.

42 (2013)

This film revolves around the story of the first Black athlete to play in MLB, Jackie Robinson. It happened in 1947 when Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, believed in Jackie’s talent and knew it was time to break the color barrier. Jackie knew it wouldn’t be easy – there will be a lot of racism and hatred from fans, other players, and even some managers. However, it didn’t stop him from pursuing this career path.

He agreed to play even though he knows what’s going to happen. And indeed, he experienced taunts, threats, violence, and more just because of his skin color. But the best thing about this is that he stayed strong and focused on playing his best. Along the way, he finds support from his wife, some of his teammates, and even one of his rival players. It’s a touching and inspiring movie for people of color. 

Million Dollar Arm (2014)

A struggling Los Angeles-based sports agent J.B. Bernstein needs a win. His idea? Find baseball stars in India. He convinces investors to fund his Million Dollar Arm contest which aims to find cricket players who can throw fastballs. Jack travels to India with a funny translator (Amit Rohan), a grumpy scout (Ray Poitevint), and a local helper (Vivek).  They pick two promising guys, Rinku and Dinesh, and bring them to America for baseball bootcamp with a tough coach (Bill Paxton).

It's a mess! Rinku and Dinesh never played baseball before. Jack is stressed about work and maybe even likes his tenant, Brenda (Lake Bell). Can Rinku and Dinesh learn the game in time to impress the pros? Well, that’s for you to find out. 

Eight Men Out (1988)

Want to know what really happened in one of the biggest baseball cheating scandal in history? Eight Men Out is a movie about Chicago White Sox and some of its players who decided to throw the World Series for money. The Chicago White Sox was one of the best teams that time, but it was owned by a stingy owner who wouldn’t pay his players well. Gamblers saw this as an opportunity to convince their players to intentionally make their team lose, and in return, they get paid. 

Star players like Shoeless Joe Jackson didn’t understand what was really happening, but other players like Chick Gandil and Eddie Cicotte went along with the plan. They made mistakes on purpose and lose games, which frustrated their teammates who genuinely want to win. Sportswriters suspected something fishy, and after the Series, an investigation revealed the cheating. Eight White Sox players were banned from baseball for life, even though they weren't found guilty in court.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of great baseball movies out there, but as a fan, there’s no doubt that movies based on true stories hit different. For most of us, we’re already happy and satisfied with what we see during our favorite team’s matches. But beyond their skills, their wins, and their losses, there are a lot happening behind the scenes that we’re not aware of. That’s why baseball fans are lucky to have all these true-to-life movies as a VIP ticket to some of baseball history’s greatest players and teams. Hope you have fun watching these films!

Image by freepik

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About Chris Sloan

Chris Sloan is a former baseball league commissioner and travel baseball coach who has made significant contributions to the sport. In 2018, he founded selectbaseballteams.com, a website that helps parents find youth and travel baseball teams in their local areas. Since its launch, the website has experienced impressive growth, offering a wealth of resources including teams, news, tournaments, and organizations. Chris's unwavering passion for baseball and his innovative approach to connecting parents with quality baseball programs have earned him a respected reputation in the baseball community, solidifying his legacy as a leading figure in the world of youth and travel baseball.

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