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Fan’s take: Five best baseball movies never made
Even though the pace of a baseball game is slower than other sports, just the fact that one play can change everything makes every single pitch interesting. Hollywood knows this, and has made several movies portraying comebacks, lovable losers and phenomenal athletes who were burdened by problems off the field. While there are several great baseball movies, and several terrible ones, there are several other players and events that would make great film material.
Here are five baseball movies I would like to see on the big screen:
The Life and Times of Roberto Clemente
Born in Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente was elected to the All-Star team and won the Gold Glove Award 12 times. Just as Jackie Robinson broke several barriers as an African-American baseball player, Clemente was the first Hispanic to start in a World Series, win a league MVP, and win a World Series MVP. What is truly inspiring about Roberto's life isn't just the baseball, but how he spent much of the offseason doing humanitarian and charity work. On Dec. 23, 1972, Managua Nicaragua was devastated by an earthquake. Clemente immediately arranged emergency relief flights. After three of the flights were routed to corrupt government officials, he decided to accompany the fourth to its destination. The flight was overloaded by 5,000 pounds, and crashed immediately after takeoff of the coast of Puerto Rico, killing Clemente and the flight crew. His body was never recovered.
Dock Ellis' Uh Oh No-No!
Dock Ellis wasn't the best pitcher to ever take the mound, but his career was marked with some very interesting events. In 1972 he was maced by security in Cincinnati as he tried to enter the stadium. Two years later Ellis tried to hit every batter in Cincinnati's lineup for retaliation. He managed to hit Pete Rose and Joe Morgan, but was taken out of the game after throwing two pitches at Johnny Bench's head. Dock's most memorable event was a no-hitter he threw in 1970 while under the influence of acid. There was a short animated film made about Ellis' famous no-hitter, but I think it would make a great full-length feature.
1904 World Series
My favorite baseball movies have always been the ones that were set in the dead ball era. Players like Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner have become legendary, and I couldn't see comparing even the best we have to offer today to the players who seem more like ancient lore than sports history. I think the story of how the first World Series was played, and was subsequently boycotted in 1904, would make a great sports movie. The Boston Americans and New York Giants were set to play, but the teams' owners refused citing the inferiority and lack of governance. Giants owner John T. Brush proposed the rules for a 1905 series that led to the Fall Classic being played every year since (excluding 1994).
Of all Baseball's greatest players, I cannot believe there hasn't been a proper movie documenting the career of Willie Mays. I could sit here all day reciting stats, but the film I have saw of Mays is what makes me want to see a Willie Mays movie. He was one of the most athletic and exciting players I have ever saw on film, and aside from Ty Cobb would be the most interesting to see on the big screen. Then again, when I think back about how terrible the Ty Cobb movie was, maybe it would just tarnish the image of the Say Hey Kid. That is unless we could hire a proper writer and director.
1932-1945 Chicago Cubs
I have always viewed the Chicago Cubs as one of baseball's fan favorites. Wrigley Field is an institution, and they have had no shortage of talent in the last two decades. There is still the dark cloud of going without winning a World Series since 1908 that continues to hang over Chicago. During the 1930s the Cubs won the NL pennant every three years, but lost to their American League rivals each time. In 1945 an incident where a fan had brought a goat to the stadium during the fourth game of the World Series was ejected, causing what many fans believe is "The Curse of the Billy Goat." I think it would make an interesting movie to see the close calls and the incidents in 1945 that brought the Chicago Cubs' winning ways to an end, and made what was otherwise an unlucky drought a curse.
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