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


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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