"Moneyball," the big screen's latest baseball offering, opens today and, by many accounts, it's a home run.
Starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, the film is based on Michael Lewis' book about how Oakland Athletics' general manager, Billy Beane, played by Pitt, took a roster of rejects and the second-lowest payroll in the majors all the way to the playoffs.
Hill plays a Yale numbers cruncher who convinces Beane that the best way to evaluate players is not by how many runs they drive in but how many times they can get on base -- the logic being that the more players on base, the more runs scored, the more games won.
With screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who won the Oscar for "The Social Network," collaborating with equally acclaimed Steven Zaillian ("Schindler's List"), and "Capote" director Bennett Miller at the helm, the film could join other great baseball movies of the past.
Pitt, who doubles as executive producer of the film, could join an all-star team of great performances in baseball movies. Click through to see the others.
|Robert Redford, "The Natural"|
In "A River Runs Through It," Pitt channeled a young Robert Redford.
In "The Natural," Redford was still in his prime as golden boy of baseball, Roy Hobbs, who is corrupted but given a second chance with an assist from Glenn Close.
Who can forget the lights exploding at Wrigley Field when Hobbs delivered his home run?
|Kevin Costner, "Bull Durham"|
As Crash Davis, a grizzled veteran catcher, Kevin Costner mentored Tim Robbins' "Nuke" Laloosh and wooed Susan Sarandon's Annie Savoy in "Bull Durham," voted the No. 1 sports movie by Sports Illustrated.
In real life, Sarandon fell for Robbins, but women all over swooned for Costner.
|Charlie Sheen, "Major League"|
As Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn, Charlie Sheen did not have to reach far.
Sheen clearly has the "wild thing" part down. He's also a fan of the game: He had a gospel rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" performed at his wedding to Denise Richards and has some real skills. Sheen played shortstop and pitched for Santa Monica High School and was offered a baseball scholarship to the University of Kansas.
He turned it down but in "Eight Men Out," "Major League" and "Major League II," he got to act out his dream on the big screen.
|Ray Liotta, "Field of Dreams"|
Kevin Costner returned to the big screen for another baseball movie, but this time he cleared the field - the corn field, to be exact - for an otherworldly baseball team lead by Ray Liotta as the ghost of disgraced ballplayer Shoeless Joe Jackson.
The 1989 film earned three Oscar nods, including one for Best Picture.
|Jackie Earle Haley, "Bad News Bears"|
When a washed-up ex-minor leaguer played by Walter Matthau is recruited to coach a bunch of misfits, including a young Tatum O'Neal, he seeks out the best athlete in town.
Played by Jackie Earle Haley, Kelly Leak is a Harley-riding, cigarette-smoking, loansharking bad boy.
After being absent from the screen for more than a decade, Haley would re-emerge with a role as a paroled sex offender in "Little Children" that would earn him an Academy Award nomination. Up next is a role in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln."