Back in the ’70s, an independent minor-league baseball team popped up on the scene in the Pacific Northwest. It just so happens that the team was owned by a man name Bing Russell, who happens to also be the father of Hollywood superstar Kurt Russell. The team was a strange mix of oddballs and men who loved to play baseball, a team that connected well with the fans, and a team that Major League Baseball hated and wanted to see fail.
The story of this team, the Mavericks, will come to life in the Netflix documentary movie “Battered Batards of Baseball.” The movie, which just released its official trailer, will premiere on Netflix in July 2014 and tell the story of the team that tried to change the face of baseball. With that documentary coming, here is a look at the best sports documentaries ever made.
The crème of the crop of sports documentaries is Steve James’ “Hoop Dreams.” The movie follows two inner city basketball stars as they try to make it from the streets to the NBA. The basketball players are William Gates and Arthur Agee and the movie is not about making it to the top of the sport, but about the struggles of race and class separation. Not only is it one of the best sports documentaries, but it is one of the best documentaries ever made regardless of genre.
“Beyond the Mat”
Sure, a lot of people don’t consider professional wrestling to be a sport, but after watching “Beyond the Mat,” people would be hard pressed not to appreciate what wrestlers put themselves through. The film follows legend Terry Funk, hardcore star Mick Foley and disgraced star Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Watching Funk, as he is barely able to get out of bed, and Foley, as he shows what he puts his body through, proves this is not just a “fake” show. Watching Roberts as he collapses over and over to drug abuse shows what the sport can do to a person’s mind.
“When We Were Kings”
To the boxing ring, “When We Were Kings” focuses on the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” fight between Muhammad Ali and the champion at that time, George Foreman. For newer boxing fans, this documentary takes fans into a strange situation where Muhammad Ali is the underdog and the now jovial Foreman was an antagonistic villain as the champion. With some great interviews, vintage footage and some fantastic music, this ranks up there as one of the best documentaries about a specific sporting event in history.