Baseball: As American as apple pie, and, well, the movies. Over the years, Hollywood has had a soft spot for the sport, spinning out countless baseball flicks that examine the pastime from all angles.
But far more indicative of baseball's integral role in our culture is the way its references are interspersed in movies that have nothing to do with the game itself. Baseball is a part of life, and these 12 movies all offer their own examples of how we interweave our own lives with the sports we watch and follow.
With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite baseball references ever found in non-sports movies. This isn't an exhaustive list, so feel free to let us know which of your favorites aren't listed.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
For most kids growing up in Chicago, a perfect day isn't perfect without a trip to Wrigley Field. Ferris Bueller's Day off captured the thrill of attending a day game:
We've all laughed watching Ferris and his best friend, Cam, heckle the opponents and embrace old baseball rituals while playing hooky from school.
Anger Management didn't win any Oscars, and for good reason: It's a comedy full of cheap laughs and driven by the star power of its starring cast. But Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson did make for a hilarious pair, and their tense relationship climaxed at a scene at Yankee Stadium, where Sandler is forced to be brave and try to win back his girlfriend in front of a captive audience:
Woman Of The Year
This 1942 film has one of the most quietly humorous baseball-centric moments of any of the films on this list. In the movie, A sportswriter played by Spencer Tracy brings female columnist, played by Katharine Hepburn, to a setting that operates exclusively as a boy's club: Press row of a baseball game.
In the scene, other reporters don't mince words about what an infringement her presence is upon all things decent and holy. One man describes it as the worst thing he's seen "since the Black Sox scandal." And her oversized hat, which blocks reporters' views of the field, doesn't win her any favors.
Oh, there's no baseball scene in Blues Brothers,, you say? Maybe that's true. What you might not realize is that, in the movie, the Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi duo list their home address as 1060 W. Addison.
Perhaps you're familiar. That's the address for Wrigley Field.
Good Will Hunting
Perhaps no baseball reference in a movie is so emotionally gripping and awe-inspiring. Will Hunting's visit to his therapist, played by Robin Williams, centers around Williams retelling the story of one of the greatest Red Sox games ever played, and how he had tickets to go -- but passed.
The story is best retold by Williams, who mixes comedy and drama in one of the best performances of his career.
Back to the Future 2
Who can forget when Back to the Future 2 predicted the Cubs winning the 2015 World Series? After all the hype this received last year during Chicago's playoff appearance, no one. Sadly, the prophecy did not come true.
One of the finer details in the movie's scene, though: The newspaper reports the Cubs sweeping in five, suggesting MLB has moved to a nine-game series format.
Dazed and Confused
But one of the movie's best surviving connections to baseball isn't the Little League game itself -- it's the similarities many people have noticed between one of the game's pitchers and Major League Baseball's Tim Lincecum. No, Lincecum doesn't play the boy in the film, but plenty of people have been fooled.
Another Robin Williams appearance, and this one doesn't disappoint, either. Baseball is a running motif throughout the movie, which begins with an adult version of Peter Pan missing his son's baseball game. Baseball comes to symbolize Peter Pan's relationship with his son, Jack.
When Captain Hook kidnaps Jack to lure Pan back to Neverland, he makes every effort to become a new father figure to Jack, and to make him turn against his father. During a baseball game played by the Pirates, Pan watches as a cheering section holds up signs urging Jack to hit a home run -- only they get the words out of order and remind him that home is somewhere far away.
Who is the better right-fielder, Roberto Clemente or Hank Aaron? Billy Crystal and the rest of the cast engage this debate while on a cattle drive.
Fun fact: Billy Crystal is a well-known Yankees fan, but he wears a Mets hat in the movie. For years, no one knew why the decision was made. Finally, in 2010, Crystal gave MLB.com some answers: For one, he's playing a character, not himself. For another, the decision was made as a thank-you to the Mets organization for their financial support of a charitable event Crystal had hosted along with Robin Williams and Whoopie Goldberg.
And, as Crystal notes, there is a point in the movie where he discusses going to the ballpark to see Yankees great Mickey Mantle.
Granted, any Richard Linklater-directed film is going to have high odds of a baseball scene. Boyhood is no different: During the 12 years of childhood the movie covers, one touching moment comes when the father, played by Ethan Hawke, takes his kid to a Houston Astros game.
The celebration they share together is one that Astros fans haven't felt for a long time.
This is why we can't have nice things: At a fancy dinner, Al Capone (played by Robert DeNiro) stands up and gives a speech about his love for baseball, and the importance of teamwork to be successful. He's also, ominously, wielding a baseball bat. So it's shocking, but not surprising, when he wraps up the speech by violently breaking the skull of one of the members of his gang.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, wants to watch the 1963 World Series. Nurse Ratched doesn't let them turn it on. Let to his own devices, Nicholson takes the broadcast into his own hands: With the rest of the mental ward watching with rapt attention, he stands up and invents his own play-by-play of the game:
"Koufax kicks. He delivers. It's up the middle. It's a base hit. Richardson's rounding first! He's going for second! The ball's in to deep right-center! Davis, over in the corner, cuts the ball off! Here comes the throw ..."
Nicholson and our collective love for baseball, both at their best.
Leslie Nielsen works as the home-plate umpire while trying to unravel an assassination plot against Queen Elizabeth. His performance is enough to make you overlook the Mariners-Angels game being played at Dodger Stadium.