Sports Equinox - Favorite Sports Movies

October 28, 2017 |

As all hard-core sports fans know and live for, all four major professional sports in America are now in play. In addition to games today and tomorrow in the NBA and the NHL, tomorrow will have NFL and game five of the World Series.

This time of year is what some refer to as sports equinox - that sweet spot when it is possible to watch all four major professional sports teams on one day. In honor of this once a year time, which usually lasts about one week, we have consulted with our rag tag team of "experts" to give us their lists of favorite sports-themed movies.

Without any further ado, here is what our panel of sports fans have to say.

Robert Redford kills as Roy Hobbs, the geriatric rookie who finally makes it to the bigs.
Connie Conley, Elk Grove, California.

Our first contributor is probably biting her nails given that her Los Angeles Dodgers are behind the Houston Astros going into tonight's game 4 of the World Series. Interestingly, this died-in-the-wool Dodger fan gives a tip of the hat to the New York Yankees in her selection.

The Natural – How could anyone not love a movie with Robert Redford starring as Roy Hobbs as an “it’s never too late” character and a movie theme of redemption.

Field of Dreams – Most likely a favorite of many a baseball fan. My favorite part of the movie is the interaction between the Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones characters. “Go the distance!"

Rudy – Who doesn’t love a true story of a young man who has been told, “No” time and time again and what could never be, but who sees his dreams come true because he never gave up.

Secretariat – This movie was special in every way because it is about a woman in a male dominated world who risked everything because she saw a champion when no one else did. Disney described the movie as “Behind every legend lies an impossible dream.” And that ending when Secretariat wins the Belmont while “Oh Happy Day” is playing was simply beautiful.

Pride of the Yankees – Had to include at least one classic movie that will live on forever because of its message. This 1942 classic which starred Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth as Babe Ruth. Lou Gehrig’s “luckiest man alive” speech is one that should never be forgotten.

A horse name Seabiscuit lifts the morale of a struggling country during the Great Depression. 
Cowboy Jack, West Texas, USA.

This Texan has a fondness for things coming from the Lone Star State. Now Bull Riding is one tough sport - 8 seconds of terror!

Knute Rockne - All-American – Pat O’Brien as the first great American football coach and President Reagan was his star halfback, George Gipp. “When the chips are down… go out and win one for the Gipper.”

8 Seconds – the story of World Champion bull rider Lane Frost and his battles with Red Rock, the bull that bucked off 309 riders before Frost rode him.

Secretariat – the story of “Big Red,” the horse with the big heart that won the Triple Crown and the Belmont by 31 lengths. – The greatest race horse all  time.

My All-American – the true story of the University of Texas safety Freddie Steinmark who led the Longhorns to the 1969 National Championship, only to have his leg amputated immediately afterward. Great story of the Longhorn season and the student-athletes who made it possible.

Seabiscuit – tells the story of the depression era race horse that united the country and gave hope to a struggling generation.


Life in the lower echelons of pro hockey. Reportedly Newman's favorite movie. Watch and you'll probably agree. 
Jeff "Fro" Davis, Sacramento, California.

This Bay Area native, fantasy football devotee and restaurateur who is currently planning his newest dining venture in Midtown Sacramento threw a curve ball into the sports category with one of his selections.

Pinball Wizard - Old School game to be sure, but why not?

The Longest Yard - The original with Burt Reynolds

Slap Shot - Skating to a strip tease will never be the same.

Jerry Maguire  - Show me the money!

One on One


Tim Jobson, Roscommon, Michigan.

Calling in his movies from the north woods via satellite phone, you are as likely to see this true woodsman kilning wood he cut himself for one of his highly sought custom cabins as you are to find him bow hunting deer. 

Any Given Sunday - Al Pacino plays the head coach in this football movie in typical Pacino fashion.

Friday Night Lights - This movie illustrates how important sports teams, professional or even a high school team, can bind a community.

Field of Dreams - As a builder, I appreciated Ray Kinsella's work putting that ball park together in a corn field. I wonder if I start hearing commands to build a hockey rink next winter if Gordie Howe might magically appear from the woods across the river?

Bull Durham - I agree with Crash Davis, Christmas gifts should be opened on Christmas Morning and not Christmas Eve, as well as pretty much everything else he said in his soliloquy. 

Seabiscuit - You wouldn't think a story about a race horse could be compelling until you watch this. Even though I knew how it ended before hand, I found myself cheering. 


What a way to end your career as a true Detroit Tiger! 
Russell K. Tillman, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

This Texan-born Detroit Tigers fan has resided in Mississippi for over 35 years yet has not missed going to a Tigers game in God knows how many years. His love of the Tigers is noted in one of his selections. Too bad there isn't a movie about Ray Oyler!

For the Love of the Game - The Tigers beat the Yankees in Yankee Stadium when Billy Chappel  (aka Jack Morris) pitches a perfect game for his last game of his career.

Tin Cup - Cheech Marlin is awesome along with Kevin Costner with Texas, Golf, Don Johnson, and good music.

Bull Durham - Another Kevin Costner baseball movie.

Rush - Formula One at it’s finest….James Hunt vs. Nikki (The Rat) Lauda.

Rudy - The Irish that Did it!

"There's no crying in baseball!"

Kathy Lee, Elk Grove California.

This San Francisco Giants fan and longtime softball catcher's love of baseball shows in her list of favorite movies. Nice shout-out for woman's professional baseball too!

A League of Their Own – About the WWII All-America Girls Baseball League starring Geena Davis.

Field of Dreams – Shoeless Joe Jackson can still play and the star has a catch with his dad.

The Sandlot – A classic for my generation. “You’re killin me Smalls.”

Remember the Titans - Denzel and a young Ryan Gosling.

Caddyshack – Love that gopher and Bill Murray.


WAX ON WAX OFF! The Karate Kid features Sacramento's favorite son Pat Morita. 
Daniela Zamora, Romulus, Michigan. 

In her free time, this mother of three children and entertainment executive loves to watch movies on Netflix with her husband with an ample supply of cocktails close-by.

Caddyshack - My kids love this movie and so do I.

The Karate Kid - While everyone focuses on the under dog aspect of this movie, the more subtle message is also about the mentoring youth.

Jerry Macguire - "You had me at hello."

Remember the Titans - A good movie about over coming all sorts of differences.

The Blind Side - Sandra Bullock out did herself in this inspirational movie with football as a backdrop.


Is there a connection between this movie and contributor Johnny Roast Beef who is in the witness protection plan?

Johnny Roast Beef, Witness Protection, classified location.

Our next contributor's list is reflective of his current living status.

Playing for the Mob - An ESPN 30 for 30 on the Boston College basketball point shaving scandal involving Henry Hill of Goodfellas fame.

The U - Another 30 for 30, this one on the University of Miami's football program.

Bull Durham - Kevin Costner's Crash Davis has the dubious distinction of holding the minor league record for most home runs. Fantastic movie about minors and all the characters trying to make it to the big show. 

North Dallas 40 "Every time I call it a game, you call it a business. And every time I call it a business, you call it a game."

Fabulous Five - 30 for 30 on the University of Michigan's fantastic freshman basketball players including former Sacramento Kings Chris Webber. 

Point Break - Combines extreme athletes who cheesely surf, parachute, party, and oh yes, rob banks on the side. Perhaps if Johnny Utah had played for someone other than Ohio State things would have turned out better for Gary Busey. 


Smoking dope or cigars are the norm for Nick Nolte's Phil Eliot. 
Dan , Elk Grove, California.

North Dallas 40 - Football movie about dope smoking players, greedy owners, objectification of women, serious injuries, players chasing crazy business schemes and more set in 2017 the late 70s. Catches the dress and customs of that era and shows that some things never change in pro-football, based on the book of the same name by Michigan native and MSU basketball great Pete Gent.

Slap Shot - Paul Newman is great in this movie about minor league hockey, and hey, who can forget the coke eyeglass wearing Hansen goons playing with their Hot Wheels. Priceless!

Raging Bull - A great movie about the rise and fall of a person told through the lens of pro boxing.

Everybody's All American - Based on the book by the late Frank DeFord, follows the life of college football star who makes it to the NFL but never quite achieves the same degree of success he did on campus.

Hoosiers - Sappy, schmaltzy, corny....yes, yes, and yes, but come on, who doesn't like a true story about the back water underdogs with some damaged people overcoming the odds. 


In one of his last and most endearing performances, Burt Lanacaster plays the real life Archibald "Moonlight" Graham
in perennial baseball fan favorite Field of Dreams.

Lisa Kamil, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Even though she resides in the town of one of the country's most storied college football programs, our next contributor is admittedly not a sports fan. Nonetheless she loves movies about sports and has a good eye for the topic.

Field of Dreams - Kevin Kostner and James Earl Jones go to Fenway, and along they pick up a young hitchhiker. One of Burt Lancaster's last movies and if his character doesn't pull at your heart strings, not much will. 

Rush - Ron Howard directed this gem that escaped great popularity, but nonetheless tells a terrific true story of Formula One racing.   

Moneyball - Stymied by a tightfisted owners, Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane, played wonderfully by Brad Pitt, gets creative and goes from worst to first during one crazy baseball season.

Seabiscuit - The horse is the obvious centerpiece of this story, but the characters fleshed out by Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper and Tobey Macguire gives the story the extra kick down the home stretch. 

League of Their Own - I wonder if we could resurrect this type of professional baseball?

Steve McQueen - maybe the all time King of Cool.  
D. J. "not drinking the kool-aid is my game" Blutarsky, California, USA. 

In his spare time this keen observer of Elk Grove and regional politics can be found in pit row or the nearest pool hall hustling someone who just fell off the turnip truck.  

LeMans - Steve McQueen. For its time, the use of in-car photography and actual cars filmed on track was ahead of its time. The movie lost money big-time, but for race fans, the film location in France of the premier sports car race, the 24 Hours of LeMans, was tops in my book.

Brian's Song -  It demonstrated the softer, humane side of football players and bridged the racial gap. 

Semi-Tough - Burt Reynolds. Was destined to not win any awards, but entertaining nonetheless. An interesting issue of taking a pain killer shot in order to play, versus not taking a shot and getting dumped on by the coaches and fellow players was surprisingly accurate in the 1960s and 1970s NFL. Today, a sprained ankle or "turf toe" is a free pass to sit it out for half the season!

Deliverance - Does canoeing on a river qualify as a sports movie? LOL Probably no more than Apocalypse Now qualifies as a surfing movie! 

The Hustler -  Fast Eddie and Minnesota Fats dueling it out over a pool table is gripping. The movie being in black and white seems to make it more dramatic. 

Rocky - What can I say, the first of the series was classic! Yo, Adrian!! Punching dead cows in a meat locker is the high tech shortcut to winning the championship belt!


He said all we want to hear. 
Steve Lee, Elk Grove, California.

When he is not winning chili cook offs or taking home the bacon in BBQ competitions, this panelist is watching San Francisco Giants, listening to Jimmy Buffet over cold beers, bourbon and good cigars, thought not all at the same time! Here are his selections.

Pride of the Yankees - Made just a year after Lou Gehrig succumbed to ALS. Also starred Babe Ruth and H of F C Bill Dickey. Kind of sappy, but a great story and it had the real Bambino playing himself. Gotta love it.

Brian’s Song - Released just one year after Brian Piccolo’s death from cancer at 26. Geez, I’m seeing a pattern starting here. As a kid, I recall reading about Piccolo’s death in my local paper and thinking how tragic. The movie was done well with actors who actually looked like athletes, rare in sports movies.

Raging Bull - Scorsese’s masterpiece in B & W. Classic, timeless. DeNiro and Pesci were perfect.

The Sandlot - Special personal favorite, mirrors my childhood, holds special place in my heart.

Caddyshack - The funniest movie ever made. Murray, Chase, Dangerfield and Knight at their best….Freeze Gopher!!! …Former groundskeeper about to win the masters….

Rocky  - The original was just incredible. Timeless, great acting all around. Funny, poignant, and inspiring. Ended perfectly. Today Rocky I and II would have been one movie. The sequels should have stopped after Rocky II. Like Rocky himself, beat to death. 


A Detroit fan favorite, Hank Greenberg was the first Jewish player to
enter baseball's Hall of Fame. 
Suzanne Gougherty, Roscommon, Michigan.  

Another Detroit Tiger fan, a photograph of this contributor can be seen on the front page of October 10, 1968 special afternoon edition of the Detroit Free Press's celebrating in the streets of Downtown Detroit the Tigers victory over the Cardinals. That day the Tiger's beat the Cardinals in an epic come from behind 3-1 game deficit to win the World Series. In her spare time she can be found canoeing on Michigan's famed Au Sable River.

Seabiscuit - Damn good story about an amazing horse!

The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg Story  -  A Jewish player for the Detroit Tigers who was a favorite of my parents and everyone in MoTown - and I'm from the "D", nothing more to say. 

For the Love of the Game - Again, Detroit Tigers, a little mushy, but overall a great story about what could happen to any major league pitcher. 

Hoop Dreams - Poignant true story about two basketball players from the wrong side of the tracks.  Loved the movie and unfortunately no Cinderella ending. 

Radio -  Shows how football brought a town together - Love this movie, great acting by Ed Harris and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Bad News Bears (both versions) - The coach was a burnout and the team was a bunch of funny misfit kids, lots of laughs.

I'd add in the first Rocky movie and When We Were Kings, and a League of their Own, etc. I could add about 5 more to this list.

Love on the court - why of course!

Jenna Burgess, Southfield, Michigan.

A self-described basketball addict who hooped it up for four years of high school varsity play in Livonia, Michigan, this cager digs everything basketball. Even though her six-day-a-week current schedule as a police academy cadet fills her time, when she has time to spare you can find her taking on the best playing basketball or watching basketball with her family. 

Love and Basketball - As a basketball fan, what can be better than a love story wrapped in my favorite sport?

The Blind Side - How compassion and taking a risk on someone can make true changes in life.

Million Dollar Baby - Another great movie from Clint Eastwood.

Angeles in Outfield - Any kids who ever played sandlot ball can relate to this.

Little Giants - Comedy and pee wee football in Ohio.


Check out the hair and the sweat bands - can anytihng be more late 70s than those?
Bill Gougherty, Elk Grove, California.

A true, if not misguided Sacramento Kings fan, this sports nut loves nothing more than hitting the basketball court in the early morning and mixing craft drinks - think a cedar smoked Manhattan - while watching ESPN in his spare time

The Fighter - Christian Bale's crackhead ex-boxer, whose claim to fame is that he knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard trying to ride half-brother Mark Wahlberg's career was worthy of his best supporting Oscar. Wahlberg's family was, how shall me say it, just nuts.

Semi Pro - Will Ferrell and the Flint, Michigan Tropics semi-pro basketball team is hilarious even before Woody Harrelson is thrown into the mix.

Remember The Titans - Change the vocabulary and clothes, and this movie could be in modern day Virginia. Still a great inspirational movie.

The Bad Boys - The 30 for 30 on the Detroit Pistons of the late 80s. Maybe the Kings can clone Bill Lambier?

White Men Can't Jump - Two basketball hustlers and a TV Jeopardy hustler.

Was there anyone more qualified to break the race barrier in baseball than Jackie Robinson - NO! 
Maurita Coley, Washington DC.

This inside the beltway lawyer and Detroit native loves watching movies in her spare time.

42 - The inspirational story of Dodger great Jackie Robinson who endured threat and went on to greatness as the first African American big league baseball player.

The Natural - Hey, it's Robert Redford and baseball - what could be better?

Chariots of Fire - A story about two English guys running might not should sound like much, but it won the best movie Oscar for a reason.

The Hustler - Jackie Gleason showed why he was dubbed The Great One and who can resist Paul Newman's hot tempered Fast Eddie Felson.

Hoop Dreams - Shot over several years, it tells the story of two kids hoping to break free of their surroundings and have a shot at pro basketball. A bittersweet experience.

When games literally were life and death. 
Marieza  Mama, Elk Grove, California.

In her spare time, our final contributor can be found whipping all sorts of concoctions in her kitchen or tending to her new chicks, Ivanka and Melania, who she hopes will lay lots of eggs.

Karate Kid - WAX ON, WAX OFF!

Happy Gilmore - Hilarious movie about a hockey player turned golfer out to help his dear old granny. Who can't love the aggressive Bob Barker character and a one armed golfer played by Carl Weathers.

Rocky - YO Adrian!

Gladiator - Funny how sports in modern day is always spoken of in life and death situations, well in this Roman sport they really meant it. 

Waterboy - Funny movie about a dimwit even if you don't understand football, much less Farmer Fran! 

One last note. Movies about horses, which are probably not on most people's radar, if you'll excuse the pun, was the dark horse winner in our survey.

So what are your favorites?

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1 comment

Connie said...

Dan, nice tribute to sports movies and those of us who are fans. Here is the final scene to Secretariat. Enjoy!

And no can deny this World Series isn't exciting! Game 4 was nerve-wracking until the top of the ninth! Oh happy day!

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