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Best [and Worst] Portrayls of Ballplayers in Films

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  • Best [and Worst] Portrayls of Ballplayers in Films

    In the John Goodman as Babe thread, Christian Gentleman had a good idea, a thread about actors portraying ballplaers, who you liked, discliked, who might be good in future movies....so, I'll just get it started

    I think it's universally agreed that Goodman and Bill Bendix were both bad choices to play the Babe, in 2 terrible movies. As noted, Stephen Lang wasn't bad in the made for tv movie about Babe.

    Gary Cooper did an excellent job playing Gehrig. Any thoughts on who should play him in a remake?

    Ronald Reagan did a decent job playing Grover Alexander in "The Winning Team"...Doris Day played his wife. There's a scene in the famous game 7, she's in Times Square, reads on one of the headline tickers on a building that the Cards are bringing in Alexander to pitch to Lazzeri, she grabs a cab and manages to make it up to Yankee Stadium in time to see him strike out Lazzeri...uh huh.

    Dan Dailey was Dizzy Dean in "Pride of St. Louis" not a very good movie, Dailey was too old and didn't look like a ballplayer.

    "Fear Strikes Out" was about Jimmy Piersall and his crack-up in the 50's. Anthony Perkins was ok in the non-baseball scenes, had virtually no athletic skill to even make a somewhat convincing ballplayer. Harry Caray used to have fun with Piersall about it on Sox broadcasts.

    "8 Men Out" was a very good baseball movie, DB Sweeney looked good as Joe Jackson. John Cusack, one of my favorite actors, did a good job as Buck Weaver as did David Straithairn as Eddie Cicotte.

    Barry Pepper as Maris and Thomas Jane as Mantle in 61* were both excellent. Looked like them, were believable as ballplayers.

    Another good HBO movie was "Soul of the Game" Blair Underwood was pretty good Jackie Robinson and Delroy Lindo was terrific as Paige.

    I liked Tommy Lee Jones as Cobb.
    It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!

  • #2
    Robert Redford could definitely swing the bat,field and throw... but what bugs me is that at the end of the movie, when his is playing catch with his Son, the kid throws like a complete idiot.....

    Same for Kevin Costner's characters Dad in "Field of Dreams" Straight over the top, goofy elbow motion... etc.

    Perhaps the two actors are related....
    "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

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    • #3
      Costner looks like a ball player in For the Love of the Game.
      GOT ALBERT?
      St. Louis Cardinals BBFTG Website
      http://www.freewebs.com/bbftg6/

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      • #4
        In "Fear Strikes Out", there is a scene with both Karl Malden and Anthony Perkins shouting, "Scouts!" to each other with their eyes bugging out.

        My wife and I crack up whenever the movie is rerun. I guess you would call it overacting?
        "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
        "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

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        • #5
          I thought the guy who played Jack Morris in "The Rookie" did an OK portrayal.

          Wesley Snipes and Charlie Sheen did funny portrayals of late-80's ballplayers.
          Yankees '09

          Arod, CC, AJ, DJ and Tex

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 64Cards
            Barry Pepper as Maris and Thomas Jane as Mantle in 61* were both excellent. Looked like them, were believable as ballplayers.
            I agree completly. I remember thinking that Pepper looked like Maris when I first saw him in "Saving Private Ryan"
            "It's fun, that's what it is, it's fun. Baseball is more fun than anything else. You can watch it and just love it and enjoy it. I don't think that there's anything tremendously philosophical about it. I don't think there's anything metaphysical I just think its so much fun to watch." - Robert Creamer

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            • #7
              Tim Robbins was awful looking in his pitching sequences as Nuke Laloosh.
              Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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              • #8
                field of dreams et alia

                Regards 64Cards!

                Ray Liotta was great as Joe Jackson in FOD, even though they messed up the hitting throwing fact. In real life he batted left and threw right. I think in the movie he threw and hit left.

                I thought that Tom Hanks would make a good Babe Ruth. He could pudge up a bit and his humor would be handy. He dedicates himself to roles.

                Joaquin Pheonix as Cobb?

                Sam Shepard as Connie Mack.

                Edward Norton as Joe DiMaggio.

                Jamie Foxx as Jackie Robinson.

                Ben Affleck as Ted Williams.

                Michael Jordan as Satchel Paige.

                Lou Gehrig is a tough one. Such a quiet, decent person. Hard to find someone like that in showbusiness. Maybe Hugh Jackman?

                I think Sean Penn might make a good Walter Johnson.

                more to come.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 64Cards
                  Ronald Reagan did a decent job playing Grover Alexander in "The Winning Team"...Doris Day played his wife. There's a scene in the famous game 7, she's in Times Square, reads on one of the headline tickers on a building that the Cards are bringing in Alexander to pitch to Lazzeri, she grabs a cab and manages to make it up to Yankee Stadium in time to see him strike out Lazzeri...uh huh.
                  I haven't seen this in decades but I believe what they did was have Alexander strike out Lazzeri to end the game, rather than to end the 7th, so perhaps she could have made it from midtown to 161st in time. Actually the game ended with Ruth being thrown out while trying to steal second (perhaps the strangest ending to a Series in history), but they couldn't very well end the film that way.

                  Most film portrayls aren't very good because the actors aren't athletic looking, too old (shouldn't look older than 40), or both.

                  At the time Cooper was the logical choice to play Gehrig but he really wasn't the right physical type. I'm not sure who could do it today, but you need someone stocky, rather than lanky.

                  Perkins was hopelessly miscast as Piersall. This role probably would have gone to James Dean, had he lived. Dean, who had been a good basketball player in high school, certainly would have looked more athletic than Perkins.

                  Overall, Eight Men Out had the most realistic set of actors as players.

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                  • #10
                    Best & Worst

                    My picks for the best two single portrayals ballplayers are both made for TV movies. These are the 1991 Stephen Lang Babe Ruth film & the 1977 portrayal of Lou Gehrig by Edward Herrmann "Love Affair: The Lou and Eleanor Gehrig Story" with Blythe Danner excellently portraying Eleanor Gehrig. No less an authority than Eleanor Gehrig herself stated that Herrmann's performance was superior to that of Gary Cooper in "Pride of the Yankees". The late Ramon Bieri gives a solid performance as Babe Ruth. The Stephan Lang performance as Babe Ruth is excellent, far, far superior to either John Goodman or William Bendix. Also, Bruce Weitz (whom some of you may remember as the growling Sgt. Mick Belker on Hill Street Blues) is superb as Miller Huggins and that great character actor, the late John Anderson again appears as Kennesaw Mountain Landis just as he did in "Eight Men Out". Brian Doyle-Murray also stands out as Marshall "Big Words" Hunt, legendary NY Daily News sports columnist of that period. My picks for worst would be Bendix & Goodman as Babe Ruth. Brownie31

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by christian gentleman
                      Regards 64Cards!

                      Ray Liotta was great as Joe Jackson in FOD, even though they messed up the hitting throwing fact. In real life he batted left and threw right. I think in the movie he threw and hit left.

                      I thought that Tom Hanks would make a good Babe Ruth. He could pudge up a bit and his humor would be handy. He dedicates himself to roles.

                      Joaquin Pheonix as Cobb?

                      Sam Shepard as Connie Mack.

                      Edward Norton as Joe DiMaggio.

                      Jamie Foxx as Jackie Robinson.

                      Ben Affleck as Ted Williams.

                      Michael Jordan as Satchel Paige.

                      Lou Gehrig is a tough one. Such a quiet, decent person. Hard to find someone like that in showbusiness. Maybe Hugh Jackman?

                      I think Sean Penn might make a good Walter Johnson.

                      more to come.
                      Christian Gentleman: How about Jon Favreau as Hack Wilson, Vince Vaughn as Bill Terry, Matt Damon as Mel Ott, John Goodman as John McGraw, Owen Wilson as Dizzy Dean & Luke Wilson as Daffy Dean? Brownie31

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                      • #12
                        It's too bad they didn't make a Ted Williams bio in the 60's, with James Garner playing him, pretty strong resemblence, after Ted was around 30.
                        It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!

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                        • #13
                          Robert De Niro was a whole lot of fun to watch in the character of Bruce Pearson in "Bang the Drum Slowly" -- but he sure didn't look good as a catcher or with the bat. I don't have any impression of how Michael Moriarty looked as batterymate "Author" Wiggen.

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                          • #14
                            Jackie Robinson as himself was pretty bad, in "The Jackie Robinson story".
                            I liked Robert Redford in the natural.
                            What ever happened to Spike Lee's project to do another Jackie Robinson movie?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 64Cards
                              It's too bad they didn't make a Ted Williams bio in the 60's, with James Garner playing him, pretty strong resemblence, after Ted was around 30.

                              that would have been a good one.

                              I don't know if he's too old now, but Willem Dafoe as Grover Cleveland Alexander would be great.

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