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Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story (2011)

Sandy Koufax , Ron Howard , Peter Miller  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story + The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball's Chosen Players + American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball
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Product Details

  • Actors: Sandy Koufax, Ron Howard, Larry King, Shawn Green, Kevin Youklis
  • Directors: Peter Miller
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: April 19, 2011
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004HJ0ZTQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,316 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Baseball is seen as the quintessentially American sport with good reason. Emerging by the mid-nineteenth century as the nation's most popular game, baseball provided each new wave of immigrants with an avenue into American culture.

JEWS AND BASEBALL traces the Jewish involvement in the history of the sport from the game's earliest days, through the tumultuous war years to today's All-Star games. By analyzing various stages in this history, including how the legendary Sandy Koufax pioneered rights for players and Hank Greenberg's support of Jackie Robinson, the film demonstrates how Jews shaped baseball, and baseball shaped them.

Narrated by two-time Academy Award® winner Dustin Hoffman, this lively and thorough account of Jewish America's love affair with baseball sheds new light on America's national pastime

Includes interviews with former player Al Rosen, sports historian Maury Allen, celebrity enthusiasts Larry King and Ron Howard, and all-stars Shawn Green and Kevin Youkilis, as well as a rare interview with baseball legend Sandy Koufax.

Bonus Features: Deleted Scenes, Including Exclusive Never-Before-Seen Interview with Sandy Koufax; Sophie Milman Sings Take Me Out To the Ball Game

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
While the film "Jews and Baseball" would, at first glance, seem to target a very specific demographic--it has surprisingly widespread appeal. This entertaining sports documentary charts the progression of Jewish baseball players through the decades and it's clear that the filmmakers have a true love of the game! Assembling sports figures, their heirs and relatives, historians, Jewish authorities, and celebrity fans (Ron Howard, Larry King)--the film has a pleasing sense of completeness in showcasing how vital the national pastime was in integrating the Jewish culture into mainstream America. Fighting prejudice and ignorance, early Jewish stars of the game helped pave the way for future trailblazers such as Jackie Robinson. Today, players are not defined by these cultural and religious signifiers, they are judged on how well they field the ball--and that's certainly a move in the right direction.

The film is structured along a chronological timeline and features just about every Jewish player you would expect. In the earliest days, it even incorporates fun facts like the creators of the song "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" were Jewish. The documentary spends the most time with two of the sport's biggest legends--Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax. Greenberg is easily the film's most fascinating and pivotal character, and his story is impressive and inspiring. The impact of World War II and the rise of Hitler is especially poignant in the historical accounting of a player trying to balance career with social pressures and religious obligations. While Greenberg broke down barriers, much later Koufax pushes firmly into mainstream acceptance. The other contributors to the film are too countless to enumerate, but these two are definitely highlighted in detail.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen on PBS, 3/20/11 March 21, 2011
I saw this on the PBS channel last night, 3/20/11, as part of the channel's fund raising efforts,and it was excellent! The footage of the games, the interviews with key players as well as fans like Ron Howard, were very well done and gave you an insight into the by-gone days of America's favorite pastime. An interesting account of how Jewish players were perceived in those days, something I was not aware of, and how they kept their dignity throughout it all. A touching story of how Hank Greenberg befriended Jackie Robinson and encouraged him to dismiss jeers from the crowd and stay in the game... Jackie Robinson called Hank a class act. Nice to see a NEW documentary on baseball. I was very impressed.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
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I am neither a great baseball fan nor am I an observant Jew. However, Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story is so well told, so equisitely well put together....and so beautifully narrated by Dustin Hoffman that it had me wondering where the time went. Amy Linton's brilliant editing , the choices of images ( how did they find these ? ) and music compliments the absorbingly paced stories and interviews . The Result: A thoroughly enjoyable visual and auditory treat..... reinforcing the very best of the American Dream.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "In The Big Inning . . ." April 29, 2011
By Konrei
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JEWS AND BASEBALL: AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY is not only a documentary about Jews and baseball, it's about our national pastime generally, and how Jewish-Americans helped make it a sport for ALL Americans. Indeed, the music for "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" was written by a Jewish composer. The film briefly discusses Jewish baseball magnates like Bud Selig, Fred Wilpon, and others, but most of this documentary is concerned with on-field exploits.

There has always been a certain low humor about Jews in sports. The film opens with a scene from the movie AIRPLANE, in which Julie Hagerty is handing a passenger 'light reading,' a leaflet on Great Jewish Sports Legends.

A joke I remember from Hebrew School tells us that baseball is the first thing mentioned in the Bible: "In the Big Inning God created the heaven and the earth." Exactly when and where God created baseball is not known, legends of Abner Doubleday and Cooperstown aside, but what is well known is that successive groups of immigrant fans and players adopted baseball as their sport and passport to Americanization.

Jews were part of baseball from the very outset of league professional play. L. Emanuel Pike of the Philadelphia Athletics was on the first salaried team in 1871, and may have been the first great home run hitter of the sport, hitting six a year for three straight years during the Dead Ball Era.

Between the 1870s and the 1930s, a workmanlike succession of Jewish players followed Pike. Most were named Cohen and most used pseudonyms. It was not until the 1930s that a Jewish superstar emerged---Hammerin' Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers who was to become the first Jewish player inducted into the Hall of Fame.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Film...Even if you don't like baseball! May 7, 2011
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A visually rich, lively, and informative documentary. Great interviews and fantastic historical footage. Poignant and also, very funny at points. I really loved this one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this film! MUST SEE! July 11, 2011
By Steven
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I absolutely loved this film. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves baseball and history. It's extremely well done ... informative and entertaining. The interviews with legends like Sandy Koufax are worth it alone. But this film provides so much more ... do yourself a favor and watch it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Prejudicial myths dispelled
This is a wonderful documentary. The star of David stitching on the cover picture is emblamatic of the way Jewish players were woven through the fabric of the sport. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Archer A. Jordan
5.0 out of 5 stars Strike Three-But I'm not out!
Got this as a gift for a family member's birthday as I knew he didn't have it-and he loves all things baseball! Hope he will enjoy it a lot ( and lend it to me after!)
Published 4 months ago by Evanna L. Dunlop
5.0 out of 5 stars film review
great film. Class enjoyed it. Used it to teach about Jews in baseball along with old cards and balls. Thanks!
Published 10 months ago by riette perlman
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
It was a very interesting book. It surprised me with some of the facts. Not too much else I can say.
Published 10 months ago by Larry Schwartz
4.0 out of 5 stars Beseball & Jews
Gave it to a recuperating friend and he loved it. He is a Jewish history buff and is stuck at home lately.
Published 10 months ago by Ed Sanderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Jew and Baseball
Following the style of Ken Burns magnificent "Baseball" series, this film zeroes is on the role of Jews in Major League Baseball. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Paul A. Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars Children of Israel that played baseball
Like Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns this tells the story of baseball for the Children of Israel. Somewhat suprising as I never thought anything about this. Read more
Published 13 months ago by ellison
5.0 out of 5 stars Great presentation, well done, engaging
This was an excellent movie that kept me engaged all the way through. It is an insightful presentation of the growth of baseball as an American institution, Jewish aside, and... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Paula in Texas
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL VIDEO
I saw this program on PBS TV, and liked it so much, I ordered the DVD. There is a bonus of viewing deleted sequences, and more extensive interviews about Sandy Koufax. Read more
Published 14 months ago by B.E.
1.0 out of 5 stars Problem
My problem is not with the product but with the company that sent it.

Let me state that the first part of the problem was my fault. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Lawrence Thaw
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