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Today marks the special 15-year anniversary DVD release of Field of Dreams, arguably the best-loved baseball movie ever. Here's the strange thing about that Capra-cornball classic: It's as preoccupied with spiritual things as it is with the smell of a ball glove, the taste of a hot dog or the thrill of the grass.

Seems that's true of many baseball movies—and baseball in general, it seems. I'm not much for allegory, or that "Baseball is life" nonsense. Still, there's something about the particularities of the game, and the movies and books it's inspired, that keeps lifting my eyes from the green of the infield to the blue of the summer sky, and beyond …

These are my personal picks for the Ten All-Time Greatest Baseball Movies. Any self-respecting ball fan, or movie fan, will second-guess many of my calls, but I've got no problem with that. Pull up a chair next to this hot stove here, and let's talk a little baseball!

On the Bench

Six more that didn't quite make the starting lineup, but they sure got game:

  • Eight Men Out (1988)
  • Rookie of the Year (1993)
  • Little Big League (1994)
  • Damn Yankees! (1958)
  • Fear Strikes Out (1957)
  • The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)
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June 2004

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