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Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Now that Spring is finally here and Opening Day is only a couple of weeks away, it's time to get back into the baseball swing of things! You can do that by watching some of the many great baseball themed films and documentaries in the Library's collection — or by reading up on your own Detroit Tigers. Batter up!

Feature Films

The Bad News Bears — In the orignal version, Walter Matthau is a grumbling beer-guzzling former minor-league pitcher who gets roped into coaching a band of half-pint misfits somewhat loosely called a team. (1979)

Bang the drum slowly — An unlikely friendship ignites between two baseball players. One is the team's ace pitcher and social charmer; the other is the catcher, a farm boy from Georgia who lacks sophistication. (1973)

The Bingo Long traveling all-stars & motor kings — A group of independent renegade players travel around the Midwest looking for that big home run while playing baseball in the 1930's Negro Leagues. (1976)

Bull Durham — Veteran minor-league catcher Crash Davis is assigned to the Class A Durham Bulls to handle the team's star rookie and wild pitcher, "Nuke" LaLoosh. (1988)

Cobb — While driving across country to a banquet at the Baseball Hall of Fame, the legendary Ty Cobb tells sportswriter Al Stump about his life. Based on the book. (1994)

Eight men out — Based on Eliot Asinof's book about the real-life scandal of the 1919 World Series, the film tells the story of eight underpaid Chicago White Sox players players who acceped bribes to deliberately lose the Series.(1988)

Fear strikes out — The story of Boston Red Sox outfielder, Jimmy Piersall, who fought mental illness to play for 17 seasons in the major leagues. (1957)

Fever pitch — A young woman is caught between her boyfriend and his love of the Boston Red Sox. (2005)

Field of dreams — An Iowa farmer is inspired by a voice he cannot ignore to pursue a dream and turns his cornfield into a baseball field so that some baseball legends can come and play. Based on the book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella. (1989)

The final season — In the small town of Norway, Iowa, the high school baseball team is led by legendary Coach Jim Van Scoyoc who has won 19 State Championships. But the small town heroes are dealt a series of unexpected blows that threaten to rob them of their 20th championship win. Based on a true story. (2007)

The Jackie Robinson story This vintage film biography of Jackie Robinson — traces his career from the Negro Leagues to the Major Leagues. Robinson, of course, was the first to break the "color line" in major league baseball. (1950)

A League of their own — In 1943, a washed-up ballplayer is hired to coach in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League while the male pros are at war. Reluctant at first, he finds himself drawn back into the game by the heart and heroics of his team. Based on a true story. (1992)

The natural — Nothing was going to stop Roy Hobbs from fulfilling his boyhood dream of baseball stardom. As a 14-year old he fashions a baseball bat from an oak tree, and he soon impresses major league scouts with his ability. The appearance of a mysterious woman, however, shatters his dream. Based on the novel by Bernard Malamud (1984)

The Pride of the YankeesLou Gehrig — the Yank's great first baseman and the son of poor immigrants, rose to heights of baseball fame — only to be cut down at the peak of his career by an incurable disease known as ALS. (1942)

The Rookie — When a shoulder injury ended his minor league pitching career twelve years ago, Jim Morris resorted to the next best thing: coaching. But Jim's team, knowing their coach is a great ball player, makes a deal with him: if they win the district championship, he has to try out for a major-league organization. Based on a true story. (2002)

61* — This film is set in the summer of 1961, as two of the strongest hitters in the major leagues, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, find themselves neck and neck in a battle to break Babe Ruth's long-standing record for most home runs in a season. Both men were playing for the New York Yankees at the time, and as the two men came within grasping distance of Ruth's record, their loyalty as friends and teammates was put to the ultimate test. (2001)

Soul of the game — During the 1950's, three African Americans baseball players, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and rookie Jackie Robinson are considered to be allowed into the Major Leagues. (1996)

The Stratton story — Story the life and career of the White Sox baseball player Monty Stratton whose leg has to be amputated after a hunting accident. (1949)

Sugar — Miguel 'Sugar' Santos is a talented Dominican baseball player who longs to break into the American big league and earn the money needed to support his impoverished family. But first he'll have to prove his worth in the minor leagues. (2008)


America's classic ballparks — Narrated by actor Jeff Daniels, this documentary traces the history of four classic American ballparks using both archival footage and modern film: Wrigley Field (1914), Comiskey Park (1910), Tiger Stadium (1912), and Fenway Park (1912). (2009)

Babe Ruth: the life behind the legend — A biography of Babe Ruth, the charismatic baseball player who literally became a legend in his own time. The film examines Ruth's athletic career: the pitching prowess he demonstrated with the Boston Red Sox, the seemingly super-human batting skills he displayed during his greatest years with the New York Yankees, the 714 career home runs, and the years of decline. (1999)

Baseball. Disc 1 — Ken Burns's masterful history of the nation's pasttime, told in ten thrilling "innings." (1994)

Detroit — The Detroit Tigers have a rich history of competing in the World Series - as evidenced in this film showcasing the team's 1945 match against the Chicago Cubs, their 1968 game against the St. Louis Cardinals, and their dramatic 1984 series against the San Diego Padres. (2007)

Four days in October — When October 16, 2004 came to an end, the Curse of the Bambino was alive and well. The New York Yankees were on course to yet another trip to the World Series. But over the next four days , a determined Red Sox team won 4 straight games to overcome their destiny. (2010)

4192: the crowning of the hit king — The story of the controversial and history-making baseball career of Pete Rose. (2010)

Jordan rides the bus — Michael Jordan's brief minor-league-baseball career is revisited in this installment of ESPN Films' 30 for 30 series.. The 1994 stint with the double-A Birmingham Barons and manager Terry Francona followed the murder of his father and his third-straight NBA title with the Bulls. (2010)

Mantle: the definitive story of Mickey Mantle — A profile of the life and career of baseball player Mickey Mantle. Narrated by Liev Schreiber. (2006)

Only the ball was white — This film pays tribute to the many talented players from the Negro Leagues. Narrated by actor Paul Winfield, the program documents a bygone bittersweet era in baseball, and the men who were denied stardom by the color line. (2008)

Roberto Clemente — This installment of American Experience tells the story of Roberto Clemente — an exceptional baseball player and committed humanitarian — who challenged racial discrimination to become baseball's first Latino superstar. Narrated by Jimmy Smits (2008)

When it was a game. Volume 1 — This HBO documentary examines baseball's golden age from the Great Depression through the late 1950s. Using archival footage the film shows many of baseball's greatest moments. Highlights include the first color filming of a baseball game. (1991)

When it was a game. Volume 2 — Part 2 of the documentary series on the golden age of baseball, prominently featuring Joe DiMaggio. (1992)

When it was a game 3 — by HBO Sports in association with Black Canyon Productions — In Part 3 of the series, film footage taken during the 1960s shows how professional baseball gradually changed from a game to a business. (2000)

Yankee Stadium: baseball's cathedral — This compellling documentary spans more than 80 year of the history of the original Yankee Stadium. Highlights include Lou Gehrig's farewell speech. (2008)