September 21, 2017

All-Time Best Lines From Baseball Movies

March 1, 2016 by · 3 Comments 

Although the weather has started to warm up some places and baseball teams have gathered in camps across Florida and Arizona, we are still awaiting the start of baseball games for 2016. While we wait, baseball movies provide a reasonable alternative. With that in mind, I decided to offer my list of best lines from baseball movies.

I should apologize in advance to some excellent movies, like Rookie of the Year, Eight Men Out, Moneyball and  It Happens Every Spring that didn’t have any signature lines that stuck out in my mind enough to make my list. And if some movies seem over-represented here, it’s just because they were that good.

Honorable Mention:

Bad News Bears (1976):

Ne’er do well Coach Buttermaker gives scrawny benchwarmer Lupus a classic bit of warm-and-fuzzy Little League coaching advice:

“Listen, Lupus, you didn’t come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya? Now get your ass out there and do the best you can.”

*  *  *

The Natural (1984)

Good-natured manager Pops wants nothing more from life than to win a pennant before his time is finished. Roy Hobb (Robert Redford)  shows up after his illness and tells Pops he’s ready to take the field for the big game with the pennant on the line.

Pops: “You know, my mama wanted me to be a farmer.”
Roy Hobbs: “My dad wanted me to be a baseball player.”
Pops: “Well, you’re better than any player I ever had. And you’re the best goddamn hitter I ever saw. Suit up.”

*  *  *

Bull Durham (1988)

Minor League lifer Crash Davis has his hands full trying to teach talented young pitching phenom Nuke Laloosh how to both play and repect the game.

“Lesson number one: don’t think; it can only hurt the ball club.”

*  *  *

After Laloosh shakes off his signs and insists on throwing a fastball, Crash tells the batter what’s coming, resulting in a monster home run.

Nuke: “That sucker teed off on that like he knew I was gonna throw a fastball.”
Crash: “He did know.”
Nuke: “How?”
Crash: “I told him.”

In a later game, when Laloosh shakes off his signs, insisting on throwing a curve, Crash (to batter) “This SOB is throwing a two-hit shutout. He’s shaking me off. You believe that shit? Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well.”

Crash, to Laloosh on the mound after the home run: “Man that ball got outta here in a hurry. I mean anything travels that far oughta have a damn stewardess on it.”

“Relax, all right? Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strike outs are boring. Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls, it’s more democratic.”

*  *  *

 Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)

For guys afraid to show their sensitive side, it’s time to make a run for the kitchen when the New York Mammoth’s left-handed twenty-game winner and author Henry Wiggen offers this eulogy for his recently departed teammate Bruce Pearson (played by a young Robert DeNiro):

“He wasn’t a bad fella, no worse than most and probably better than some. And not a bad ballplayer neither, when they gave him a chance, when they laid off him long enough. From here on in, I rag on nobody.”

*  *  *

Major League (1989):

Everything Bob Uecker as announcer Harry Doyle says is a classic. It’s hard to choose one.

“Juuust a bit outside. . . . . [after 12 straight balls]  How can those guys lay off pitches that close?”

“Haywood leads the league in most offensive categories, including nose hair. When this guy sneezes he looks like a party favor.”

“Rickie Vaughn gets the starting call today. We’re told he matured a lot over the winter. Apparently he’s bathing now.”

“Obviously Taylor’s thiniking . . .  I don’t know WHAT the hell he’s thinking.”

“One hit? That’s all we got, one goddamn hit? . . . .  Don’t worry, nobody’s listening anyway.”

*  *  *

Bad News Bears (1976)

The irrepressible Tanner, who earlier fought the entire seventh grade after a loss, speaks for anyone who was ever sickened by hypocritical arrogant winning Little League teams when he tells them “Hey Yankees. You can take your apology and your trophy and shove ’em straight up your ass.”

*  *  *

Field of Dreams (1989)

As Moonlight Graham, now a doctor for all time, walks off the baseball field, Shoeless Joe shouts, “Hey rookie, you were good.”

*  *  *

Pride of the Yankees (1942):

Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig: “Today (ay, ay) I consider myself (elf, elf), the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” What more needs to be said.

*  *  *

10) A League of Their Own (1992)

All the way Mae (played, appropriately, by Madonna) discussing ways to increase attendance at their games, offers:  “What if at a key moment in the game, my uniform burst open and, uh, oops, my bosoms come flying out?”

To which Rosie O’Donnell’s character replies: “You think there are men in this country who ain’t seen your bosoms?”

*  *  *

9) The Sandlot (1993):

Appearing in a dream, Babe Ruth gives Bennie the Jet Rodriguez this timeless advice, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”

*  *  *

8) Field of Dreams (1989):

As he prepares to pitch to Shoeless Joe, Kevin Costner asks, “Do we need a catcher?”
Joe replies, “Not if you get it near the plate we don’t.”

*  *  *

7) Bull Durham

The manager sends the coach out to break up a gathering on the mound that involves the entire infield. When the dutiful coach arrives, he finds out there’s a long list of problems being discussed. The result is the greatest pitching mound conference in history:

“Well, Nuke’s scared because his eyelids are jammed and his old man’s here. We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose’s glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present. We’re dealing with a lot of shit.”

The coach nods thoughtfully and then suggests, “Well, uh, candlesticks always make a nice gift, and, uh, maybe you could find out where she’s registered and maybe a place-setting or a nice silverware pattern. Okay, let’s get two. Go get ’em.”

*  *  *

6) Field of Dreams (1989)

Young Moonlight Graham, annoyed after being brushed back by two straight pitches, turns and asks, “Hey ump, how about a warning?”

The umpire answers, “Sure kid, watch out you don’t get killed.”

*  *  *

5) Bull Durham (1988)

The manager, after being told by Crash to try to scare the kids on the team, delivers this harangue:

“You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!”

Assistant coach, Larry: “Lollygaggers!”

*  *  *

4) Major League (1989)

The uber-confident Willie Mays Hayes introduced himself as “I run like Hayes and hit like Mays.”

After watching him flail helplessly in the batting cage, manager Lou Brown croaks, “You might run like Hayes, but you hit like shit.”

*  *  *

3) The Sandlot (1993)

Ham, exasperated by Smalls’ continually nerdish ways, utters the immortal line:

“You’re killing me Smalls.”

*  *  *

2) Little Boy Boo (1954)

In the less-than-politically-correct 1950s, before soccer moms were even a glint in Bill Clinton’s eye, a real man’s man like Foghorn Leghorn could plainly state what every male at the time knew deep in his heart:

“There’s something, I say, there’s something kind of eeeeyeeee about a kid that’s never played baseball.”

*  *  *

1)   A League of Their Own (1992)

Tom Hanks is less than sympathetic when one of his players starts crying during a game.

“There’s no crying in baseball. . . Rogers Hornsby was my manager and he called me a talking pile of pigshit. And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry? No. And you know why? Because there’s no crying in baseball.”

Comments

3 Responses to “All-Time Best Lines From Baseball Movies”
  1. From “A League of Their Own” my favorite:

    “Of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone could do it…..”

    True in baseball and life as well.

  2. Matthew Coan says:

    Here is one that sticks with me:

    “Ty Cobb wanted to play, but none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive, so we told him to stick it!” – Shoeless Joe, FOD.

  3. Doug Wilson says:

    Nice. I have actually used that one on occasion.

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