Swing for the Fences

Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig in "Pride of the Yankees"

Few movies have the suspense and thrills of Thursday night's NLCS game between the Phillies and the Dodgers. But for sports fans who crave celluloid pennant races and World Series to fill up the time between actual pennant races and World Series games, may we suggest:

* Alibi Ike (1935) Rubber-faced Joe E. Brown as a rookie hurler for the Chicago Cubs who always has an excuse when he messes up. From the Ring Lardner story.

* Damn Yankees (1958) Aging baseball fan sells his soul to get a decent slugger (Tab Hunter) for the Washington Senators. Gwen Verdon as the Devil's Candy.

* Eight Men Out (1988) John Sayles' absorbing period piece about the 1919 Chicago White Sox team whose members throw the Series stars John Cusack, Charlie Sheen and D.B. Sweeney.

* Fever Pitch (2005) Appealing rom-com starring Jimmy Fallon as a Boston Red Sox diehard and Drew Barrymore as his baseball-averse sweetheart, set during the Sox 2004 miracle season.

* It Happens Every Spring (1949) Charmer starring Ray Milland as a professor -turned-pitcher, creator of a chemical that makes baseballs repel bats.

* A League of Their Own (1992) Penny Marshall's vibrant account of the All-Girls Baseball Leagues stars Geena Davis and Lori Petty as catcher-and-pitcher sisters who face each other in the League World Series.

* The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (2000) Aviva Kempner's terrific documentary out the Hall of Famer who led the Detroit Tigers to multiple World Series while fighting anti-Semitism.

* The Natural (1984) Based on Bernard Malamud's allegorical novel, the film stars Robert Redford as a disappeared baseball legend who returns as the chivalrous slugger of the New York Knights who face the Phillies in the pennant race and the Pirates in the Series.

* Pride of the Yankees (1942) Terrific biopic starring Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig, the Yankees Iron Man who, despite a bad medical prognosis, felt he was the luckiest man in the world. Dare you not to cry.

Your favorites? What am I missing?