Baseball season has just begun, and you’ve already got tourney after tourney to drive to this summer. You know your kids will need some entertainment for the trip, so instead of downloading a bunch of ridiculous games you wish never made it to the App store, load up the iPad or rent DVD copies of these classic baseball movies. After all, you’re taking them to play baseball. And what kind of baseball player hasn’t seen these classic films? Start off by introducing some of the classics from your childhood, then progress to more recent hits.
1. Field of Dreams (1989)
Baseball is a game of numbers and statistics, some more complicated than others. While most kids don’t want to mess around with math over summer vacation, there’s one equation responsible baseball parents must teach their kids, and it is this: Kevin Costner + Baseball = Great Movie
We chose to start with “Field of Dreams” because of its classic, inspirational “Dream on” message.
2. The Natural (1984)
Want to teach your kids about work ethic and chasing your dreams? Teach them about Roy Hobbs, the fictional baseball character in “The Natural” (a film originally based on a book). Seriously, though, the man had the perfect mix of talent, wit and confidence. Hobbs’ story is both inspiring and engaging. And even though your kids might ask who Robert Redford is, you’ll smile when they start quoting him. “It took me sixteen years to get here. You play me, and I'll give ya the best I got.”
3. The Sandlot (1993)
This classic film is quite possibly the most quoted baseball movie of all time. So quoted, in fact, that your kids might not even know they’re quoting it when they say, “You’re killin’ me Smalls!” or “For-eeeee-ver!” or "You play ball like a girl!" Sounds like a movie to show your kids on a baseball road trip if you ask us.
It’s the perfect coming-of-age baseball movie. It’ll show your kids what childhood was like before Apple this and Android that, and it may even inspire them to come up with creative ways to solve their problems. Worst case scenario, you’ll catch them making DIY s’mores and singing “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight,” which is never a bad thing.
4. The Rookie (2002)
Would your kid think it was cool if their high school science teacher made an MLB roster? (Don’t answer that). That’s the storyline in “The Rookie,” a movie based on the true story of a Texas man named Jimmy Morris, played by Dennis Quaid. Warning: This movie can cause severe side effects in children, including but not limited to: extreme excitement, beating of chest King-Kong style, increased levels of motivation, and a strong desire to play baseball. Whelp, your problems, not ours.
5. Angels in the Outfield (1994)
While this movie is not based on a true story, it does have its own charm and showcases the power of belief. When a young boy says a prayer with hopes of it reaching heaven, miraculous things start to happen with his favorite baseball team, the Anaheim Angels.
If at anytime you see your child flapping their arms like a bird while playing in a baseball game, be the cool parent and just go with it. :)
6. 42 (2013)
Before he was the Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman played real-life superhero Jackie Robinson in “42.” While he doesn’t have quite the same speed, agility and durability in “42,” he does showcase unparalleled character and grit—the kind most parents hope their children develop.
Aside from coming to understand why every player in professional baseball wears the number 42 on his jersey each April 15, this movie will expand your children’s understanding of U.S. history and racism. It will also give them an increased admiration for the game they already love.
“42” is rated PG-13 and contains more mature content than the other movies in this list (See IMDb’s parental guide here).
There you have it, folks—six of our top-rated baseball movies for families. These recommendations should get through a tournament or two, and if you need more ideas, we’re willing to bet that our friends at IMDb can help you out. Oh look! That was fast.