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Big League Stew

From the big leagues to the big screen: Movie appearances by all 30 MLB teams

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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With the Academy Awards coming up on Sunday, the challenge posed to us was a simple one: Could we find a movie appearance or mention for all 30 Major League Baseball teams?

A lot of the top teams would be easy. The Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs, for instance, have turned up in a wealth of films. But what about newer teams like the Nationals, Rockies or Diamondbacks? Finding any evidence of those squads, even if it was just via a character wearing a team cap or a radio of play by play in the background, would seem to be much harder.

So we gave it the old college try and it actually turned out to be quite fun. Our exercise can be found below and by no means should it be considered a comprehensive list or a scroll of endorsements. We left a lot of movies out. If you have a movie mention for your team that you like better, let us know in the comments below.

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Atlanta BravesThe Slugger's Wife (1985): It wasn't the best Neil Simon film adaptation to feature baseball — we'll take Charley Lau's appearance in Max Dugan Returns any day, thank you — but it does feature the most appearances by the great old Braves uniforms.

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Miami MarlinsBack to the Future II (1989): Yeah, yeah, it's close enough. The film messed up the mascot, but extra credit for predicting the team's switch from Florida to Miami. (Too bad Biff's sports almanac didn't mention anything about the public funding boondoggle that Jeffrey Loria would foist upon the taxpayers of south Florida.)

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Philadelphia PhilliesChu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981): Alan Arkin plays an alcoholic ex-Phillies player who meets Carol Burnett's character, an alcoholic Carmen Miranda impersonator. Dave Brown says it's a "(crap) film." We'll take his word for it.

Honorable mention: Mike Schmidt showing up in Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

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New York MetsOld Dogs (2009): Don't complain, Mets fans or we'll replace this with a shot of Yankees fan Billy Crystal wearing a Mets cap in City Slickers.

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Washington NationalsHow Do You Know (2010): Everyone knows the Washington Nationals drafted Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg to turn around the fortunes of their franchise. What this movie presupposes is ... maybe they didn't?

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San Diego PadresThe Kid From Left Field (1979): If you think we went ahead with this post just so we could post pictures of Gary Coleman wearing the old mustard and brown McDonalds uniforms, you're 100 percent correct.

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San Francisco GiantsThe Fan (1996): "Hey, hey Bobby!" This movie is so bad it can't even be good in a bad way. You know, like Fear? Unfortunately, it accounts for 40 percent of the NL West movie mentions on this list.

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Colorado Rockies — The Fan (1996): Aaron Neville was in this movie. So was Benicio del Toro. So were the Colorado Rockies, who played the Giants' opening day opponent. None of them will ever admit to it.

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Los Angeles DodgersThe Sandlot (1993): It's a little strange the Dodgers haven't been featured in more movies given their proximity to Hollywood. But their logo being sported by future speedster Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez in this classic film more than makes up for it.

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Arizona Diamondbacks — Nine Innings From Ground Zero (2004): Our aim was to stay away from documentaries or highlight films, but the D-backs film oeuvre is rather thin (despite Oscar showing up to Chase Field on Thursday). However, "Nine Innings," which follows the 2001 World Series in the wake of 9/11, is one of the great baseball documentaries. We can make an exception.

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Pittsburgh PiratesAngels in the Outfield (1951): Yup, this was the original.

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Chicago Cubs — Rookie of the Year (1993): "Did he just say, 'funky butt-lovin'?" (With an honorable mention to "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Love you, Ferris, but "Rookie of the Year" is about the Cubs).

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Milwaukee BrewersMr. 3000 (2004): One year after submarining the Cubs' World Series hopes, Mac — a noted Chicago White Sox fan — went north to play for one of the Cubs' biggest rivals.

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Cincinnati RedsHustle (2004): Tom Sizemore as Pete Rose. Yes, this happened.

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St. Louis CardinalsThe Pride of St. Louis (1952): They don't make ballplayers like they used to — or movie posters, for that matter.

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Chicago White Sox — My Best Friend's Wedding (1997): How many sports team owners do you know who'd let their daughters marry a sportswriter? Does it change if that sportswriter is Dermot Mulroney?

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Detroit TigersTiger Town (1983): Tiger Town has Ernie Harwell and Roy Scheider. For Love of the Game has Vin Scully ... and Kevin Costner, using the same cardboard delivery in every other film he's in. Advantage: Tiger Town.

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Cleveland IndiansMajor League (1989): Duh.

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Kansas City RoyalsMoneyball (2011): Can somebody find us a George Brett cameo somewhere? The Royals can't be represented in this post by an uncredited actor playing Jason Grimsley.

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Minnesota TwinsLittle Big League (1994): We'll be honest: We've seen "Rookie of the Year" 20 or so times. Little Big League? Zero. Transformers and Go-Bots as far as we're concerned.

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New York YankeesPride of the Yankees (1942): What, you thought we were going to list John Goodman's "The Babe?"

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Boston Red Sox — Fear Strikes Out (1957): It's always been strange to us that Jimmy Piersall had a feature-length movie about him made during the middle of his career (he'd play until 1967). But his story was certainly worth it.

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Toronto Blue JaysSweet Liberty (1986): Alan Alda's director wears a Blue Jays hat during much of this movie. Yup, that's about all we've got for Toronto.

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Tampa Bay Devil Rays — The Rookie (2002): The Rays have gotten much better at finding diamonds in the rough for their bullpen, but worse at producing storylines for Disney feature films.

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Baltimore OriolesDave (1993): Kevin Kline gets his Mike Mussina on.

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Oakland A's — Moneyball (2011): Shhh, no one tell Art Howe.

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Los Angeles AngelsAngels in the Outfield (1994): Joseph Gordon-Levitt vehicle or film chock full of pedophiliac mind control messages? You be the judge!

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Seattle MarinersThe Naked Gun (1989): "Hey look, it's Enrico Palazzo!"

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Texas RangersTexas Rangers (2001) Vanderbeek!!! Just kidding, but the Rangers were the opponent in "The Rookie" plus a Josh Hamilton biopic is supposed to hit at some point in the future.

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Houston AstrosNight Game (1989): We saved the most ludicrous for last. In this movie, Roy Scheider is a detective investigating a string of murders that occur every time a certain Astros pitcher named Silvio Baretto wins a night game at the Astrodome. Not to spoil anything, but the killer turns out to be Floyd Epps, a former Astros pitcher who naturally now has a hook for a hand after a minor league bus accident. The trailer is awesome ... as is the tagline.

STRIKE ONE — there's a killer on the loose... STRIKE TWO — you never know where he'll strike next... STRIKE THREE — too late.

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Nagoya Chunichi Dragons — Mr. Baseball (1992): The end.

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What's your favorite mention of your baseball team in a movie? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter or the BLS Facebook page.

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