These are the Top Five performances in Baseball Movies.
5. Tom Selleck as Jack Elliot in Mr. Baseball
There are definitely some memorable scenes in this movie although overall it is somewhat lackluster. Selleck does a decent job with mediocre material and certainly gets some mileage out of being a jerk through the first 80% of the movie. It's a fun enough movie to watch though and Selleck had to carry the whole movie. Watching it again I remembered some scenes as being better than they were but it was a fun nostalgia trip and I swear we saw Fukudome in there.
4. Walter Mathau as Morris Buttermaker in The Bad News Bears
There's something about Walter Matthau that shines through in his performances. Although he is playing a crank or a jerk in some of his most memorable roles (including this one) he still manages to be lovable. I never connected with this film the way many did because I liked playing baseball and was supported when I was growing up. I still enjoyed it and some of the kids do great jobs.
3. Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs in The Natural
It took me a while to get The Natural and understand it as more than a baseball movie. I remember watching it when I was a kid and not liking it because it wasn't real enough. Of course it isn't supposed to be and Redford plays the larger than life Hobbs as a fantasy character perfectly. He's less a person than a phenomenon at times and of course the final scene is a fulfillment of every baseball dream ever. He's just lucky he had that enchanted jockstrap.
2. Kevin Costner as Crash Davis in Bull Durham
There are about a million memorable scenes in Bull Durham and to be fair part of that should be credited to the ensemble cast. It's Costner though who creates a memorable character that is grounded and believable. Minor league journeymen are as common as flash in the pan pitching prospects but Tim Robbins character has a few too many quirks and eccentricities for my taste. Costner is able to give the right lines significance and project his character's frustrations and desperation when necessary. For the record the conference on the mound scene would rank somewhere in the top ten of my favorite movie moments of all time.
1. Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own
Quite simply the movie is average at best without Tom Hanks. Hanks plays a former player as a whiskey soaked ballbuster who doesn't really give a crap about anything, which is probably a fairly accurate portrayal. His comedic timing is perfect and he also is able to display emotion subtly when he has to, although he does have to deliver some sappy lines but that is the fault of the script and Hanks does what he can with it. Everyone remembers the "there's no crying in baseball" scene but it's probably around the 15th funniest thing Hanks does in the movie.
For your enjoyment: