Camden Yards isn't the only place in town to witness the...

Q&A

June 30, 1994

Camden Yards isn't the only place in town to witness the drama of baseball. There's always the movie theater. Over the years, baseball has been a theme or backdrop for hundreds of motion pictures, all carefully cataloged in a new book, "Great Baseball Films: From 'Right Off The Bat' to 'A League of Their Own.' "

The book traces the history of baseball on film, from silent movies through recent box-office hits. Author Rob Edelman spoke recently with The Sun's Mark Hyman.

Q: How many baseball movies are there?

A: A few hundred, including both features and one- and two-reelers going back to the late 19th century.

Q: What's the earliest film in your book?

A: "The Ballgame," 1898. It's made up of shots of an amateur team from New Jersey.

Q: Your favorite?

A: The all-time best baseball film is "Bull Durham." Ron Shelton, the producer and director, is a former minor-leaguer and understands the struggles. I also love "Field of Dreams." At the end of the film, the lead character plays catch with his father as a young man.

Q: The worst?

A: One of the worst is "The Babe Ruth Story," 1948. The people who made it had no understanding of baseball or of Babe Ruth.

Q: Any films of interest to Baltimore fans?

A: "The Battling Orioles," 1924. It's about the old Orioles of the last century, a knockabout team known for aggressive play. In the movie, they're elderly men, living in a senior citizens hotel. Unfortunately, there are just a handful of prints. I don't even think the Library of Congress has one.

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