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03/18/2008 9:00 AM ET
Who's on first? Oscar, that's who
Many award-winning actors have stepped to the plate
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Geena Davis, who starred in "A League of Their Own," shows off her Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1989 for her role in "The Accidental Tourist." (Lennox McLendon/AP)
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When one thinks of leading men in baseball movies, Kevin Costner would probably get the lion's share of the MVP votes.

After all, the guy seared his presence into baseball history with iconic roles as a Minor League legend in "Bull Durham" and a farmer searching for truth in baseball in "Field of Dreams." And then, for good measure, he played an aging Detroit Tigers starter in "For Love of the Game" in 1999 and a retired baseball player in 2005's "The Upside of Anger."

But for all of Costner's success in Hollywood (he won Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for his "Dances With Wolves" in 1990), he's just one of many decorated leading men and women who have played the boys and girls of summer.

Here's a sweet 16 of other baseball-film thespians with Academy Award hardware to their credit:

Gary Cooper Sure, his swing wasn't exactly Gehrig-esque, or even Buddy Biancalana-esque, but having a true matinee idol in the lead role of a baseball legend in "The Pride of the Yankees" was a pretty good box office move. And Cooper was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, making him the only actor ever to receive such a nod for a role as a baseball player, although he lost out to James Cagney in "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Cooper did tally five Best Actor nominations in his career, however, winning for "Sergeant York" in 1941 and "High Noon" in 1952.

Robert De Niro You talkin' to me? When it comes to a role in one of the most underrated baseball dramas of all time, 1973's "Bang the Drum Slowly," yeah, we're talkin' to you. Bobby D. didn't get any Oscar love for that film, but he has had five Best Actor nominations in his long career, winning one ("Raging Bull," 1980). He also won Best Supporting Actor nomination for "The Godfather II" in 1974. And who can forget his sinister turn as the psycho fan in the 1996 baseball thriller "The Fan?" Not Wesley Snipes, that's for sure.

James Stewart Stewart played courageous one-legged pitcher Monty Stratton in 1949's "The Stratton Story" nine years after his one Oscar triumph for Best Actor ("The Philadelphia Story," 1940). Steward also was nominated for four other Best Actor Oscars.

Burt Lancaster Before he was winding down his grand career with an elegant turn as a former player, Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, in "Field of Dreams," Lancaster had secured four Best Actor nominations and won one Oscar for the lead role in "Elmer Gantry" in 1960.

Ray Milland Milland's only Academy Award nomination came in 1945, when he happened to win the Oscar for Best Actor for his legendary performance as an alcoholic in "The Lost Weekend." Four years later, Milland would star in a baseball film, "It Happens Every Spring," about a college professor who makes a shocking discovery that turns him into a World Series pitcher.

Tommy Lee Jones One of cinema's most stern authority figures, Jones has earned one Best Actor nomination and two Best Supporting Actor nominations. He took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for "The Fugitive" in 1993, a year before he gave a memorable performance as Ty Cobb in "Cobb."

Tim Robbins The man who brought that special something to the role of Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh in "Bull Durham" is a multi-talented movie man. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "Mystic River" in 2003 and was nominated for Best Director for "Dead Man Walking" in 1995.

Robert Redford Surprisingly, Redford, who dazzled the baseball world with his portrayal of Roy Hobbs in the 1984 classic "The Natural," has only been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor once, for "The Sting" in 1973. He has tabbed two Best Director and two Best Picture nominations - for "Ordinary People," 1980, and "Quiz Show," 1994 -- and took both Oscars for "Ordinary People."

Geena Davis She won Best Supporting Actress in 1988 for "The Accidental Tourist," was nominated for Best Actress in 1991 for "Thelma and Louise," and did a great job of playing baseball on screen as the venerable Dottie Hinson in "A League of Their Own."

Louis Gossett Jr. One year before Gossett walked away with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his turn as a drill sergeant in "An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)," he played the title role in the TV biopic, "Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige." He's also slated to play Negro Leagues legend Cool Papa Bell in the upcoming baseball movie "The Perfect Game" and will narrate a Negro Leagues documentary.

James Earl Jones Jones was nominated for Best Actor in 1970 for "The Great White Hope," but he's also done fine work in three memorable baseball movies. He played slugger Leon Carter -- patterned after Josh Gibson -- in 1976's "The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings," he was the surprisingly kind-hearted dog owner known as Mr. Mertle in "The Sandlot," and, of course, he was recluse writer Terence Mann in "Field of Dreams," in which he unleashed one of the great monologues in sports movie history. "People will come, Ray. People will most definitely come."

Jackie Earle Haley A teenage Haley was a bona fide Little League stud as Kelly Leak in the first three "Bad News Bears" movies, and after a 13-year layoff from Hollywood, he came back strong in 2006 to garner a Best Supporting Actor nomination for "Little Children."

Tom Berenger He struck fear in the hearts of viewers and picked up a Best Supporting Actor nomination to boot as the scarred, psychopathic Sergeant Barnes in Oliver Stone's 1987 Best Picture winner, "Platoon." But baseball fans know him as one man: Cleveland Indians veteran catcher Jake Taylor from the first two "Major League" movies.

David Strathairn One of Hollywood's best character actors stepped out for a fantastic lead role in George Clooney's 2006 Edward R. Murrow movie, "Good Night, and Good Luck," and Strathairn picked up a Best Actor nomination. Astute baseball movie watchers will remember his studious turn as Chicago Black Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte in 1988's "Eight Men Out."

Anthony Perkins Before he went "Psycho" as Norman Bates, Perkins tabbed a Best Supporting Actor nomination for "Friendly Persuasion" in 1956. His one stab at baseball glory on the silver screen came one year later when he played Jimmy Piersall in "Fear Strikes Out."

William Bendix Bendix got the honor of playing George Herman "Babe" Ruth in the 1948 film "The Babe Ruth Story." Six years earlier, he received his only Oscar nomination, a Best Supporting Actor nod for "Wake Island."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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