Five to Find: Lead off new season with these baseball movies

March 28, 2017 GMT

The 2017 Major League baseball season gets underway Sunday with the New York Yankees at Tampa Bay, San Francisco at Arizona and, drum roll please, the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs at division rival St. Louis Cardinals.

What better way to get ready for a new season than to take in some inspiring baseball movies? These are five favorites. Probably just a coincidence, but all were released between 1988 and 1992.

“Bull Durham” (1988)

Director Ron Shelton, who spent five years in the Baltimore Orioles system, spins this funny, romantic, sexy, authentic tale of life in the minor leagues. It centers around aging catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), who believes in “the hanging curveball, high fiber, good scotch and long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.”

“A League of Their Own” (1992)

This is a fictionalized account of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that was formed during World War II, starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks and Madonna. Jimmy Dugan (Hanks), manager of the Rockford Peaches, delivered this enduring line: “Are you crying? Are you crying? There’s no crying in baseball!”

“Major League” (1989)

The new owner of the Cleveland Indians, a former Vegas showgirl, puts together a lousy team so it will lose big and she can move the franchise to Florida. When the players find out, this rag-tag crew starts winning. Announcer Harry Doyle (Bob Uecker) on an errant pitch by Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn (Charlie Sheen): “Juuuuuuust a bit outside.”

“Field of Dreams” (1989)

Novice farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), standing in the middle of his cornfield, hears a voice that says, “If you build it, he will come,” and Kinsella builds a baseball diamond in the field. We are led to believe it is Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) who will show up in this sentimental, fantasy drama, but is it? James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster have memorable supporting roles.

“Eight Men Out” (1988)

A serious dramatization of the famous Black Sox scandal in which eight players for the Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The film also is true to the period that ushered in the Roaring ’20s.