WATERTOWN, NY (May 5, 2023) – It’s baseball season! And, WPBS is bringing back the story of America’s national pastime – the most watched documentary series in PBS history, Ken Burn’s BASEBALL – Sunday afternoons at 12:00 pm, beginning May 7th on WPBS-TV.
SUNDAY, MAY 7th, 2023
12:00 pm – 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.
SUNDAY, MAY 14th, 2023
12:00 pm – 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.”
SUNDAY, MAY 21st, 2023
12:00 pm – 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.
SUNDAY, MAY 28th, 2023
12:00 pm – Baseball | A National Heirloom The 1920s begin with America trying to recover from World War I and baseball trying to recover from the scandal of the 1919 World Series. Inning four, A National Heirloom, concentrates on Babe Ruth, whose phenomenal performance thrilled the nation throughout the 1920s and rescued the game from the scandal of the previous decade.
SUNDAY, JUNE 4th, 2023
12:00 pm – Baseball | Shadow Ball The fifth inning 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.
SUNDAY, JUNE 11th, 2023
12:00 pm – 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.
SUNDAY, JUNE 18th, 2023
12:00 pm – 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.
SUNDAY, JUNE 25th, 2023
12:00 pm – Baseball | A Whole New Ball Game The eighth inning, which takes place against the backdrop of the turbulent 1960s, opens with the improbable last-inning home run by the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski that wins the 1960 World Series and signals the beginning of the end of the Yankee dynasty. Roger Maris breaks Babe Ruth’s record by hitting 61 home runs in the 1961 season. Sandy Koufax, the shy untouchable pitcher, dominates most of the decade and then leaves the game at the height of his power because of the threat of crippling arthritis.
SUNDAY, JULY 2nd, 2023
12:00 pm – Baseball | Home In an age of globalization and deregulation, a cataclysmic strike over money and power brings baseball to the brink. Inning nine, Home, looks at baseball from the 1970s to the 1990s, including the establishment of the free agent system, the rise in player salaries, the continued expansion, the dilution of talent, the ongoing battles between labor and management and the scandals.
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