April 21, during the first month of the 1989 baseball season, movie goers first heard “If you build it, he will come” and watched Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Cosner) plow under acres of his thriving corn crop to build a baseball field.Crazy? That’s what neighbors and extended family called him. But soon the field was full of ghostly ball players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago Black Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series.
For some of us, Field of Dreams is much more than another baseball movie. It’s a conjurer of memories. Hot, dusty days on rough, homegrown fields playing a game with friends and neighborhood enemies. Having “a catch” with gone, but never forgotten fathers.
As the story unfolds, Kinsella seeks out Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones) a reclusive author and peace activist. They attend a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, share visions and travel to heartland America’s Chisolm, Minnesota and learn about Archibald “Moonlight” Graham (Burt Lancaster). Archie, frustrated that he never got an at-bat in the majors became the towns beloved doctor and eccentric.
While on their way back to Iowa, Kinsella and Mann pick up a hitchhiker, the young, naive Archie Graham, traveling the country looking for towns that have a local baseball team.Graham joins the baseball players until a medical emergency and his compassionate instincts cause him to leave the field, never able to return
Field of Dreams (6/9) Movie CLIP – Doc Saves Karin (1989) HD
Bankruptcy and foreclosure face the beleagured farm family and Kinsella has to make a decision whether to sell, or see this through.Mann finally puts into words the essence of the hopeful story.
“People will come, Ray.
They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up
your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at
your door as innocent as children, longing for the past.”
Field of Dreams (5/9) Movie CLIP – People Will Come (1989) HD
“The one constant through
all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army
of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased
again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part
of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be
again. Ohhhhhhhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”
In the end, Kinsella meets the ghost of his long dead father.
Field of Dreams (8/9) Movie CLIP – Ray Meets His Father (1989) HD
My first visit was with a dear friend, Bishop Keith Ackerman. Father/Bishop was my priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal, a small Arlington, Texas church before he became a renowned leader in the international church.The second visit was even more special. My son Nick and I spent a week traveling through Missouri, Illinois and Iowa, watching major league games in St. Louis and Chicago, and minor league games in all the small towns. On the actual Field of Dreams we played a pick-up game of baseball with visitors from Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. Afterwards, we melted into the cornfield beyond center field, just like the ghost players and Terrence Mann in the movie.
Nick and I still talk about that time together.
A Catch With Dad – Field of Dreams (9/9) Movie CLIP (1989) HD
Field of Dreams ends with Kinsella having “a catch” with his father while hundreds of cars converge on the field. “He” came, and “people” came.Last year I lost my dad. He loved baseball, especially his Detroit
Tigers. When the Texas Rangers made
it to the World Series in 2010, Nick and I got him an official World Series cap. He
was buried with that cap.
Baseball’s popularity may have waned some in the face of fast-paced sports like football, basketball and soccer. But America’s pastime has never really diminished.
My dad and I didn’t agree on many things, but baseball was something that brought us closer. A common ground where we could agree and disagree, talking about teams and players and the hope of their futures.
Baseball is a game that’s meant to bring people together. Friends in a hot and dusty sandlot. Boys and young men in the heat of friendly battle. Fathers and sons.