Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams

“Build it and he will come”

Baseball is sometimes described as a game of ghosts, with players competing not only against their peers, but also the records belonging to the hallowed heroes of yesteryear. In 1989, a group of these apparitions appeared at a corn field in Iowa, ready to take on Kevin Costner in the sentimental sports film, Field of Dreams.

Ray Kinsella lives on an Iowa corn farm with his wife Annie and daughter Karin. One night, a ghostly voice instructs him “if you build it, he will come.” With his wife’s skeptical blessing, he clears away enough corn to construct a regulation-sized baseball diamond.

After weeks of waiting for something to happen, a confused man in a baseball uniform walks out of the cornfield. To the amazement of Ray and Annie, the man introduces himself as the legendary Shoeless Joe Jackson, a player involved in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal, and the idol of Ray’s deceased father. He asks if he can invite some friends to play and Ray agrees.

The ghostly voice isn’t quite done yet though. He instructs Ray to hunt down someone named Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones) in Boston and take the reclusive author to a game at Fenway Park. Reluctantly, Mann agrees and during the game, Ray hears another instruction to “Go the distance.” Afterwards, both men are astonished to see statistics appear on the scoreboard for a 1922 player named Archibald “Moonlight” Graham (played by Burt Lancaster in his final film role).

The pair seek out the man, only to learn that he became a succesful doctor after his baseball career ended, and eventually passed away of old age. Later, Ray takes a walk by himself and soon realizes he is in 1972. He meets the doctor and invites him to his magical baseball field, but Graham declines the offer.

As Ray and Mann are leaving, they pick up a young hitchhiker along the way, who shocks them when he identifies himself as Moonlight Graham. They take him back to the corn field, only to find that there are enough ghosts to field two teams now and play a game. But Ray has another ghost waiting in the wings, one eager to ease his pain from many years ago.

Field of Dreams was more sentimental than sports oriented and that didn’t hurt it at the box office any. The film also garnered three Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay. The actual baseball field in the film was built near Dyersville, Iowa and is still there, where it now serves as a tourist attraction. To date, Shoeless Joe has yet to make another appearance.

If you were a fan of this endearing 80s baseball film, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your Field of Dreams thoughts with us in our comments section below.

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