Baseball Film Festival Returns this October
By Stephen Light
“Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die; follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”
The Babe gave this advice to young Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, who was trying to help his friend Scotty Smalls out of a big pickle after losing his step father’s autographed Ruth ball. The Sandlot easily ranks among my top baseball movies of all time, but what are yours?
As manager of museum programs here at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I have some pretty unique opportunities from time to time. But one of my favorite events is our annual Baseball Film Festival, held each fall. The action and suspense of the game have always translated well on the big screen. Think of the list: Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, The Natural, Major League, Pride of the Yankees, Rookie of the Year and I could keep going.
The diversity of entries at our annual film festival makes this event so unique. Take, for example, the 2008 Film Festival: The Best Film Award went to Dreaming in Blue (Fuera de Liga), a documentary on the Cuban team Industriales; The Award for Baseball Excellence went to a film focused on the game’s English origins entitled Base Ball Discovered; and the Award for Filmmaking Excellence went to a humorous short film entitled Gandhi at the Bat, a fictitious account of Gandhi’s one and only plate appearance at Yankee Stadium.
In addition to these excellent films, we screened a film about Dummy Hoy, the first successful deaf major leaguer, as well as parts of a miniseries about the New England Collegiate Baseball League. We even had a documentary called Cobb Field: A Day at the Ballpark, which brought to life a full day at the Billings Mustangs old ballpark.
This year’s festival will take place October 2-4, and we recently started accepting submissions. Who knows what great movies are in store?
To be considered for entry into the festival, films must have been released in the last five years and baseball must be a primary or secondary theme of the film. Films may be of any length and genre. If you have a film that meets these criteria, or you know of someone who does, all you need to do to submit your film for consideration is mail two copies to the following address (along with any promotional materials you may have):
Manager of Museum Programs
25 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326
If, like me, you just enjoy watching baseball films, be sure to mark down October 2-4 on your calendar. Tickets to the screenings of each film are free (with the price of Museum admission), and with the fall colors and crisp air, it’s a great time to be in Cooperstown.
Check out these trailers from last year’s films:
? Base Ball Discovered
? Cobb Field: A Minor League Day at the Ballpark
? Dummy Hoy: A Deaf Hero
? Eye on the Dream
? Gandhi at the Bat
? Mathematically Alive: A Story of Fandom
Stephen Light is manager of museum programs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.