Disney isn’t primarily known for its sports-related movies, but here are 10 impactful flicks centered around the great American pastime of baseball.
Sports movies have always been a very popular genre for viewers of all ages. Baseball is America’s pastime, and Disney has used that fact to create quite a few films. The long tradition of choosing a favorite team, eating Cracker Jacks, and watching a game never gets old, even if it’s a fictional game in a movie.
Most of Disney’s baseball movies were made for children and families, with some of them available for fans to revisit on Disney+. From a ball-playing dog to a teen who wants to cook instead of swing, these are wonderful movies to remember.
9 Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch (4.5)
The Air Bud franchise is certainly one of Disney’s biggest. On The Relunchables podcast, host Jordan Holtzer breaks down the first movie in the series and then interviews creator Aaron Mendelsohn, pointing out the film’s emotional depth and depiction of basketball.
After Mendelsohn created and wrote the first film (1997) and its 1998 sequel Air Bud: Golden Retriever, the story took on a life of its own with a bunch of direct-to-video movies. Following Air Bud: World Pup (2000), Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch took Buddy to the baseball field in 2002. One more Buddy film, Air Bud Spikes Back in 2003, was made before the franchise headed into major puppy territory.
8 Perfect Game (4.6)
Edward Asner and Patrick Duffy play the coaches in Perfect Game (2000), a film featuring several young stars of the day, such as Sara Paxton, Orlando Brown, Drake Bell, and Cameron Finley as Kanin Crosby. Kanin wants a better reputation as a baseball player, and he gets his chance when Coach Bobby Geiser (Patrick Duffy) gives the boy a spot on a Little League team.
7 A Kid In King Arthur’s Court (4.7)
A Kid in King Arthur’s Court is a forgotten 1995 movie putting two unlikely genres together: baseball and Arthurian legend. Calvin Fuller is a Little League player who is unwittingly dropped into Camelot. The boy, ironically, plays for the Knights, and, still in his uniform, he comes face to face with King Arthur (Joss Ackland) and brings the magic of the 90s into medieval times.
The regal hall is graced by Kate Winslet as Princess Sarah. Thomas Ian Nicholas reprised his role as Calvin in 1997’s direct-to-video sequel, A Kid in Aladdin’s Palace.
6 Angels In The Infield: 4.9
The angelic sports story continued with a football movie in 1997’s Angels In The Endzone, and then another go at baseball, Angels in the Infield (2000). This TV movie brought back the Anaheim Angels for The Wonderful World of Disney. A teenager prays that her father, played by Patrick Warburton, will find renewed success as a pitcher, and the powers that be listen.
5 Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off (6.0)
Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off is the only DCOM that makes baseball its main sport—that one musical number in High School Musical 2 doesn’t really count. Eddie Ogden’s dad is the coach who can’t get the game out of his head. Eddie loves baseball, too, but, when given the opportunity to try home economics class, the teen finds that he loves cooking just as much. He has to juggle his competing interests when a big game is the same day as a cook-off that includes a big prize and a cameo from chef Bobby Flay.
4 Angels In The Outfield (6.2)
Angels in the Outfield, a remake of the 1951 film, is easily Disney’s most well-known baseball movie. The 1994 project exists in the world of the Anaheim Angels, a struggling MLB team that young Roger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) adores.
Roger is a foster kid whose father will only reunite the family if the Angels get to the World Series. Roger prays for the team’s success and is met with an angel, Al, played by Christopher Lloyd. The heartwarming story will always be a classic.
3 Tiger Town (6.7)
Set and filmed in Detroit, Tiger Town (1983) is the first movie Disney Channel ever made—they were called Disney Channel Premiere Films back then. Its young star, Alex, loves to attend Tigers games with his dad, but the team isn’t doing so well as its former ringer, Billy Young, is losing his touch.
After Alex’s father passes away, the boy continues to visit the Tigers stadium and becomes a good luck charm for Billy in every game.
2 The Rookie (6.9)
Jim Morris is a high school baseball coach who hurt his shoulder before he could make it to the Major League as a player. The Rookie reenacts Jim’s true story of a bet with his high school team that led him to a spot in the majors. Not only does the team become better and stronger; Jim achieves his dream long after he thought it was out of reach.
1 Million Dollar Arm (7.0)
It’s obvious that Disney loves a good baseball story. Million Dollar Arm was released in 2014, chronicling a sports agent’s unconventional recruitment strategy for potential Major League Baseball players.
Jon Hamm plays J.B., the agent who brings Indian cricket players to the baseball field. The movie is based on the true story of agent J.B. Bernstein who discovered the talents of Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh.
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