By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Feb 24, 2015 at 5:30 AM

The Oscars have come and gone, paying annual tribute to what some people think were the best movies, actors, sound designers and other Hollywood types.

We can have our own Oscar ceremony right here, however, and limit it to sports movies.

Here are what I think are the 14 best sports movies of all time:

14. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)

This was one of Robert DiNiro’s early movies and helped him achieve his wide acclaim. He plays a major league catcher who has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The only person he tells is his best friend, a star pitcher who is holding out. The pitcher agrees to sign a new contract on the condition that Bruce, the catcher, also signs a contract -- that the two of them are a package deal. It’s a wonderful and warm story.

13. The Hurricane (1999)

This is the story of Reuben "Hurricane Carter, a promising middleweight who was convicted of a triple murder in New Jersey. He spent 20 years in jail before it was proven that he was not the killer and released from jail. Denzel Washington is breathtaking as Carter in a story where racism is the true culprit.

12. Tin Cup (1996)

The golf dramedy with Kevin Costner continuing his run of strong performances in sports movies. He plays Roy McAvoy, a former prodigy reduced to running a ramshackle driving range. He finds himself in the U. S. Open and could play safe to tie for the lead. But he goes for it, again, and again and again, finally making a 12 on the last ball in his bag. His holding out his hand asking for a new ball while his caddie tears up is one of the priceless scenes in all of the sports movies ever made.

11. Pride of the Yankees (1942)

This is the story of Lou Gehrig’s life from the streets of New York through his career with Yankees. It’s most memorable for the farewell speech delivered by Gary Cooper. Gehrig was diagnosed with ALS and had his career cut short. When you hear him way … "the luckiest man, man, man …) with that echo, tears are guaranteed.

10. Rudy (1994)

"Rudy" is the story of an everyman in love with all things Notre Dame and who saw his most fervent dream come true when the varsity players lobbied for him to play in the final game, the only time he ever got on the field. Former Green Bay Packers Coach Dan Devine was the Irish coach in that final game. The movie is another in a long line of underdog comes out on top, a popular theme in sports movies.

9. Hoosiers (1986)

This basketball film is the favorite of millions of people. It’s the story of the tiny Indiana high school team that, against all odds, goes to the big town and wins the state tournament. Outstanding performances from Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper. There has always been speculation that the story is based on the high school career of Larry Bird although there is no evidence. It’s still another one of those bone chilling hero movies.

8. Bull Durham (1988)

Another spectacular sports movie starring Costner as a grizzled minor league catcher. It’s most famous for the scene in the bus when Costner and the rookie pitcher, Tim Robbins, are riding together. Robbins strums his guitar, singing the Otis Redding hit "Try a Little Tenderness." But Robbins sings, "oh she may get wooly, women do get wooly, because of all the stress." Costner’s reaction is priceless.

7. Breaking Away (1979)

This is perhaps the most heart warming of the outcasts-become-stars genre. The sport is bicycle racing and the difference between the haves and the have nots is stark. You just know the kids are going to get their victory, but even so it is incredibly fun to watch.

6. Rocky (1976)

The underdog movie that all others are measured against. Sylvester Stallone is the down and out enforcer who gets his shot at the big time in one of the most realistic fictional boxing matches ever filmed. It is a great movie that spawned a lot of not-as-good sequels from "Rocky II" to "Rocky the Grandpa."

5. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

This is a rare sports movie with a woman at the heart of it. Hillary Swank plays a boxer, and the movie is about as depressing as it can be with its depiction of the seamy side of women's boxing.

4. Field of Dreams (1984)

This is a movie that has given us a line that has been uttered millions of times: "If you build it they will come." It’s another in the long line of Costner movies but he’s not an athlete this time, but a farmer who is convinced it’s his destiny to build a beautiful field in the middle of the corn.

3. The Natural (1984)

This movie is based on a wonderful book by Bernard Malamud and is a rare film that is the equal to the movie. Robert Redford turns in a huge performance and the movie is full of sports, bright lights and dark moments. Not much else to ask for.

2. North Dallas Forty (1976)

This is about as realistic a football movie you’ll ever see. The opening scene with Nick Nolte trying to recover from a game is spectacular. The story of the Dallas Cowboys is painfully accurate.

1. Raging Bull (1980)

Two immense talents, DeNiro and director Martin Scorsese, combine in the thrilling story of boxer Jake LaMotta. From the highly choreographed boxing scenes to the horrible downfall of the boxer, the film has everything a movie goer wants and is one of the greatest films ever made.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.