There have been a lot of baseball movies over the years. Most of them have been forgotten by all but the obsessive aficionados, but of course some have entered the pantheon ... Pride of the Yankees ... The Natural ... Bull Durham ... Field of Dreams ... Moneyball, maybe (we'll check back in 10 years). Dozens of others haven't reached that lofty status, and it does seem that all the memorable lines from baseball movies come from just a few baseball movies. Are the movies classics because of the lines, or are the lines memorable because of the movies?
That one ain't our department, sir.
What is our department? Offering you a list of the greatest lines in baseball-movie history. We've got clips where we could find them
"There's no crying in baseball!" - A League of Their Own
Spoken brilliantly by Tom Hanks, of course, portraying fictional Rockford Peaches manager Jimmy Dugan, himself modeled (loosely) on ex-superstar (and future Hall of Famer) Jimmie Foxx.
"Juuuussssst a bit outside." - Major League
You know it already. But if you want to skip ahead, Bob Uecker's most memorable line -- seriously, they ought to put it on his tombstone someday -- comes at the :50 mark in this clip:
Major League isn't the best baseball movie, but it's got the best jokes. A few favorites ...
Heywood: "How's your wife and my kids?"
Pedro Cerrano: "Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball."
Lou Brown: "You may run like Hayes, but you hit like shit."
"Today, I consider myself the luckiest man ... on the face of the earth." - The Pride of the Yankees
The movie seems over-praised now, but Gehrig's speech -- or a slightly reinvented version of it anyway -- delivered by Gary Cooper with Babe Ruth in the background saves the day for sure.
"If you build it, he will come." - Field of Dreams
Alas, this clip features Amy Madigan being shrill. So I recommend that you hit the stop button after about one minute. I wondered whether to include this line among the entrants, since it's lifted straight from the novel, Shoeless Joe, on which the film is based. Ultimately, I decided to let you decide. So it's here.
"God, I love baseball." - The Natural
Below, the entire movie, which is probably illegal but we can't be responsible for every single thing that shows up on the YouTube. If you don't have a couple of hours or you've already seen it, the line in question comes at the 1:50:00 mark.
"Don't think; it can only hurt the ball club." - Bull Durham
Sorry, can't find the clip for this one, but you probably have the whole movie memorized anyway. In fact, if I could vote for a whole movie instead of just one line, I would choose this one. Anyway, instead of that line, here's the movie's best and funniest scene (among many great, funny scenes) ... Lollygaggers!
"This is how we do business in Cleveland." - Moneyball
Spoken by Mark Shapiro (as played by Reed Diamond), this one should last forever, though it'll play better when the Indians are contending again. Sorry, haven't been able to find a clip for this one.
"From here on in, I rag nobody." - Bang the Drum Slowly
Again, no clip and maybe I'm the only one who even remembers it. But in the context of the film -- Robert DeNiro as a modestly talented catcher with a terminal illness, and the tender response of his teammates -- this line, spoken by Michael Moriarty as the New York Mammoth's best pitcher and the catcher's best friend, really resonates. With me, anyway. Here's a clip from the movie, featuring a very 1960s-ish phenomenon: baseball players trying to sing and dance ...
Alas, we've not really mentioned the great monologues -- James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams, Annie Savoy in Bull Durham, Crash Davis two or three times in Bull Durham, etc. -- but that's really an entirely separate category, which we can explore another time. Along with the greatness that is most of the dialogue in Moneyball.
Maybe next spring.
Until then, what's your favorite? Please vote, and we'll hash this thing out together.