As the boys of summer hit the diamonds, our thoughts naturally drift towards America’s favorite pastime as projected on the silver screen. In the 1980s, a particularly strong decade for baseball films, standouts were Bull Durham (1988) and Eight Men Out (1988); even The Natural (1984) and Field of Dreams (1989) were not half bad, though a tad overly sentimental.
A decade earlier, Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) used the sport as a backdrop while pals Robert DeNiro and Michael Moriarty dealt with terminal illness. In the 1940s, a trip to Yankee Stadium served as the first date Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy ever had on screen, with Tracy explaining the rules to an otherwise worldly Hepburn in Woman of the Year (1942). In 1945, Abbott and Costello captured their famous "Who's on First?" routine on celluloid in The Naughty Nineties. Then there are the biopics, which include The Babe Ruth Story (1948), starring William Bendix as the legendary slugger, and The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), starring Jackie Robinson as Jackie Robinson. Neither were very good.
Our focus here is a small, random selection of movies from the 1940s and 1950s—two musicals and three dramas, including one of the best baseball movies ever made. Here’s our list.