Take Me Out to the Movies

With Baseball season in full swing (and the Guardians in first place in their division!), we thought we would share some baseball-themed movies and documentaries. Many of these titles are available to stream from anywhere via Kanopy or Hoopla. All you need is a library card!

Just as baseball is more than a game, these titles are sometimes about much more than baseball.

Documentaries and Online Courses

Play Ball! The Rise of Baseball as America’s Pastime (Great Courses)

Every time you watch baseball, you’re participating in the latest chapter of a compelling story that goes back hundreds of years. In 24 lectures that paint a portrait of the sport’s remarkable past and take you from the decades before the Civil War to the pivotal year of 1920, Play Ball! The Rise of Baseball as America’s Pastime strikes a perfect balance between sports lore and cultural history.

Kanopy Hoopla

A Cerebral Game

Baseball was so much more than a game for Reid Davenport when he was growing up. It was about belonging and being a teammate, despite having cerebral palsy. While Reid didn’t play, he relished talking about his beloved New York Yankees with his teammates, eating sunflower seeds and yelling advice to players. This was the closest Reid would ever come to playing the game he loved.

However, as Reid entered his teenage years, he started to feel increasingly like an outcast. In this intimately personal film, Reid explores the parallel between his adolescent loneliness and his ultimate rejection of the game he loved. Reid narrates his own story and uses his shaky movements to mirror both the physical and emotional experience of going through adolescence with a disability.

No No: A Dockumentary: The Vibrant Life of Baseball Legend Dock Ellis

On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates — while high on LSD.

Dock was often embroiled in controversy on and off the field. Coming up in the 1960s, while professional baseball hadn’t fully embraced racial equality, he was an outspoken leader who lived the expression “Black is Beautiful!” His fearlessness enabled him to become one of the most intimidating pitchers of the 70s and a trailblazer for a new wave of civil rights.

Through intimate stories and a trove of archival footage, NO NO: A DOCKUMENTARY brings Dock’s vibrant life to light, burnishing the legend and revealing the man behind it.

Jackie Robinson: An African American Baseball Player and Civil Rights Activist (A Ken Burns Film)

Jack Roosevelt Robinson rose from humble origins to cross baseball’s color line and become one of the most beloved men in America. A fierce integrationist, Robinson used his immense fame to speak out against the discrimination he saw on and off the field, angering fans, the press, and even teammates who had once celebrated him for “turning the other cheek.”

After baseball, he was a widely-read newspaper columnist, divisive political activist and tireless advocate for civil rights, who later struggled to remain relevant as diabetes crippled his body and a new generation of leaders set a more militant course for the civil rights movement.

Ken Burns’ Baseball

We’d be remiss to not mention this classic Burns documentary, fully restored in HD. Available on Hoopla, this is an in-depth documentary on the history of the sport with major topics including Afro-American players, player/team owner relations and the resilience of the game.

For Young Viewers

Players In Pigtails

Katie Casey was baseball mad. Had the fever and had it bad. A story that celebrates a brave girl’s love of the game as she works to become a player in the first-ever All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.


Bang the Drum Slowly

Robert De Niro and Michael Moriarty star in this superbly crafted film about the unlikely friendship between two baseball players. Moriarty plays the team’s ace pitcher and social charmer; De Niro is the catcher, a farm boy from Georgia who lacks all of Moriarty’s sophistication. He is also dying.

During their last season together on a team fraught with bickering and infighting, the two men grow into manhood and respect for themselves and each other. BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY is moving without being sentimental and is filled with tenderness, humor, honesty and brilliant acting.

Nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Vincent Gardenia) at the Academy Awards. Voted one of the Top Ten Films of 1973 by the National Board of Review, USA.

Good News about The Bad News Bears

Hoopla has the classic, original The Bad News Bears, starring Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal.

Kanopy comes through in the Ninth with the Billy Bob Thronton-led 2005 reboot. That’s enough Buttermaker to clear the bases!

Mr. 3000

Starring the sorely missed Bernie Mac, Mr. 3000 is about an aging baseball star who goes by the nickname, Mr. 3000, finds out many years after retirement that he didn’t quite reach 3,000 hits. Now at age 47 he’s back to try and reach that goal.

The Benchwarmers

The story of three guys who try to make up for their lack of athleticism when they were younger by forming a three-man baseball team to challenge a full squad of elementary school baseballers. They develop a large following of left-out kids as they head for a high-stakes, winner-take-all game with the best team of kids in the state.

Classics not on Hoopla or Kanopy

Are you thinking we struck out by not listing some of your favorite classic baseball movies? Well, they might not be available on Hoopla or Kanopy, but you can still get them for free on DVD or Blu-Ray. Don’t see one of your favorites listed here? Search the catalog and place your holds today!

A League of Their Own

The Natural

Major League

The Sandlot

Field of Dreams

Bull Durham


The Rookie

Everybody Wants Some

Take a seventh inning stretch on the couch and enjoy!

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