Customer Reviews

26
4.3 out of 5 stars
Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story
Price:$14.99 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

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.

Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, the film is an easy recommendation to people with an interest in Jewish history and/or baseball enthusiasts. However, any sport's fan or documentary lover will likely appreciate the polish and emotion of this fascinating tale. Highlighting the enduring appeal of our national pastime, "Jews and Baseball" might give you a different perspective about how a game can help to change society and popular opinion. Check it out. KGHarris, 3/11.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2011
Verified Purchase
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
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. Greenberg nearly matched Babe Ruth's and Lou Gehrig's hitting records; indeed, he may well have surpassed them but for the fact that Greenberg's career was interrupted by World War II. He had truncated 1940 and 1945 seasons and did not play at all in 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1944. A focus of much verbal abuse by hayseed fans and players, Greenberg let his bat do most of his talking. He saw every hit he got as a swat at Hitler. But he never let his bat talk on Yom Kippur.

Greenberg's career is the fulcrum of the film. Prior to Hank Greenberg, an athletic Jew was seen both as a person who perforce had to hide his identity in order to play, as well as being a freak of nature. After Greenberg, players named Al Rosen, Cal Abrams, Moe Berg and Sandy Koufax began to fill out Major League rosters.

The Brooklyn Dodgers' signing of Jackie Robinson in 1947 is examined from a Jewish perspective by a rabbi who is also a rabid fan.

The Dodgers' Sandy Koufax, the second Jewish Hall-of-Famer and possibly the greatest pitcher of all time, is portrayed as the spiritual successor to Greenberg and as the player whose career normatized the presence of Jewish players on the field. Those who have come after Koufax, like Shawn Green and Kevin Youkilis, still see themselves as representatives of the American Jewish community, but they are no longer subject, as Greenberg was, to ethnic abuse. Nor are they seen as oddities. Many fans are unaware that they are Jewish. They simply are talented Major Leaguers. And that is as it should be.

The Extras focus almost exclusively on Sandy Koufax, a shy man who has been coaxed before the cameras for this DVD. There is also lounge singer Sophie Millman's jazzy rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." Her silky voice is offset by some minor but noticeable lapses in timing. She sings like Koufax pitched as a rookie.

A fun documentary, this is a must-have not just for those of us who are Jewish, but for all baseball fans.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2011
Verified Purchase
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!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2011
Verified Purchase
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
Interesting and informative documentary about jews and baseball. I gave it to my husband and we both enjoyed watching it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2011
Verified Purchase
Thought it was very thorough and interesting. Plan to give to my children so they can be proud of what our sports teammates accomplished. It was a film that did hold my interest and will show to other friends and famiy.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2011
Verified Purchase
The producer and director of this movie did a great job in presenting a sensitive and unique history of "Americas Sport". I loved it!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2013
Verified Purchase
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. I highly recommend this DVD.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed


Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame
Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame by Franklin Foer (Hardcover - October 30, 2012)
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.