KLRU-Q takes you out to the ballgame with documentaries focusing on America’s past time from Jan. 15th to March 25th. Ken Burns’ Baseball airs at 8 pm each Sunday and other documentaries air as noted following Ken Burns’ Baseball airings.
January 15th – Ken Burns’ Baseball “Our Game”
The first inning tells the story of baseball’s rise, in only one generation, from a gentleman’s hobby to a national sport played and watched by millions. Viewers meet the first baseball magnate, Albert Goodwill Spalding; explore the game’s first gambling scandal; see the first attempts by women to play the game in the 1860’s; witness the first attempt by ball players to unionize; and learn how the first black professionals were hounded out of the game in the “Jim Crow” 1880’s.
January 22nd – Ken Burns’ Baseball “Something Like A War”
The second inning introduces some of the most extraordinary individuals ever to play the game: Ty Cobb, the volatile, brilliant outfielder who may have been the greatest ball player of all time, but who was “possessed by the furies”; Walter Johnson, the modest farm boy with a fast ball so intimidating batters sometimes left the batter’s box after only two strikes; Christy Mathewson, a college-educated pitcher so virtuous he was worshipped by schoolchildren as “the Christian gentleman”; and John McGraw, the brawling, unstoppable manager of the New York Giants who “took kids out of the coal mines and the wheat fields and made them walk and talk and chatter and play ball with the look of eagles.”
January 29th – Ken Burns’ Baseball “The Faith of 50 Million People”
The Black Sox scandal, which is at the center of the third inning, reveals how eight members of the Chicago White Sox including the incomparable shoeless Joe Jackson, “Played with the faith of 50 million people,” as F. Scott Fitzgerald later wrote, by taking money from gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series.
February 5th – Ken Burns’ Baseball “A National Heirloom”
Babe Ruth, the Baltimore saloon-keeper’s son who became the best-known and best-loved athlete in American history, and who was described by sportswriter Jimmy Cannon as a “National Heirloom,” is the focus of the fourth inning. This inning details how Ruth’s phenomenal performance thrilled the nation throughout the 1920s and rescued the game from the scandal that threatened to destroy it.
Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story Feb. 5th at 10 pm
Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, Jews and Baseball: An American Love Storyexplores the connection between Jewish Americans and America’s national pastime. The feature- length documentary tells a story of immigration, assimilation, bigotry, heroism, the passing on of traditions and the shattering of stereotypes. Interviews feature fans, writers, executives and players, including Al Rosen, Kevin Youkilis, Shawn Green, Norm Sherry, Ron Blomberg, Bob Feller, Yogi Berra and legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. Jews and Baseball: An American Love StoryL interweaves powerful personal and historical stories with an extraordinary collection of rare archival footage and photos, and a musical score ranging from Benny Goodman to Yo-Yo Ma to Rush.
February 12th – Ken Burns’ Baseball “Shadow Ball”
The fifth “inning” of Ken Burns’s film BASEBALL looks at baseball’s desperate attempts to survive the Great Depression and Babe Ruth’s fading career, while a new generation of stars, including Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, is on the rise. It also presents the parallel world of the Negro Leagues, which thrived in the shadow of the Major Leagues. The inning culminates with the greatest showdown in the history of the Negro Leagues: Satchel Paige, arguably the best pitcher ever, against Josh Gibson, “the black Babe Ruth,” in the Negro League World Series.
February 19th – Ken Burns’ Baseball “The National Pastime”
The sixth “inning” leads off with the baseball season of 1941, one of the most exciting of all time. Joe DiMaggio hits in 56 straight games, the longest hitting streak in history. Ted Williams becomes the last man to hit .400. The Brooklyn Dodgers win their first pennant in 20 years. Then the war intervenes and baseball’s best players become soldiers. On their return, the game – and the entire country — are changed forever: Branch Rickey integrates baseball on April 15, 1947, when Jackie Robinson takes the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Baseball finally becomes what it had always claimed to be: America’s national pastime.
February 26th – Ken Burns’ Baseball “The Capital of Baseball”
In the seventh “inning” rare newsreel film and interviews celebrate the glorious heyday of New York City baseball with some of its most memorable moments: the “shot heard round the world,” Bobby Thomson’s home run off Ralph Branca in 1951; Willie Mays’ incredible catch in the 1954 World Series; and Don Larsen’s perfect game. The highlight of the episode is 1955, when the Brooklyn Dodgers, sparked by Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, finally win their first World Series, only to be moved by their owner to a new city 3,000 miles away: Los Angeles.
1955 World Series: 7 Days of Fall, Feb. 26th at 10:15 pm
The 1955 World Series – Seven Days of Fall’ about the 1955 Brooklyn Dodger/New York Yankee World Series is based upon the poem, entitled “1955”, by James T. Crawford. In unprecedented style, the presentation uniquely blends the normal documentary elements of archival film footage, still images, narration, player and fan interviews, period music, and recital of the poem to recount this timeless story 50 years later. It’s a program about dedication, teamwork, belief in one self and commitment to achievement against all odds; the story of the Brooklyn Dodger’s only World Championship after 65 years of futility, and of the team’s unique connection with the community that so closely identified with it. ‘1955’ is more then a sports story, but a time capsule of a period in American history like no other. Or as, the documentary’s epilogue states: To believe was to achieve … back in 1955″.