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Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns 1 Season

Available on Prime
Season 1
Available on Prime
4.7 out of 5 stars (1,526) IMDb 9.2/10

In PBS' BASEBALL, join Ken Burns for the classic baseball stories from the Great Depression to the present.

Starring:
John Chancellor, Daniel Okrent

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Season 1
1. Our Game

In New York City, in the 1840s, people need a diversion from the "railroad pace" at which they work and live. They find it in a game of questionable origins.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 1 hour, 53 minutes Release date: September 18, 1994
2. Something Like a War

In 1894, a sportwriter named Byron Bancroft "Ban" Johnson takes over a struggling minor league - the Western League - and turns it into a financial success.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes Release date: September 19, 1994
3. The Faith of 5 Million People

Before and after World War I, a steady stream of immigrants lands on the shores of America. They want instantly to become American. To pursue the American dream. To play the American game.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 1 hour, 57 minutes Release date: September 20, 1994
4. 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.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 1 hour, 54 minutes Release date: September 21, 1994
5. Shadow Ball

Throughout America, and even on the baseball diamonds in New York's Central Park, thousands of homeless people build shantytowns called "Hoovervilles." More than ever, America needs heroes. And even as it struggles to make it through the Depression, baseball provides them.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes Release date: September 22, 1994
6. The National Pastime

In Europe, in the Pacific, on the homefront, both African-Americans and whites fight to make the world safe for democracy. When the world ends, Major League Baseball becomes, in fact, what it has always claimed to be: the national pastime.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 2 hours, 28 minutes Release date: September 25, 1994
7. The Capitol of Baseball

Americans are on the move. Moving to the suburbs. Moving across the country. They are, it seems, restless. Of course, if you're a baseball fan in New York, you don't want to move. You're in baseball heaven.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 2 hours, 11 minutes Release date: September 26, 1994
8. A Whole New Ball Game

The 1960s are a turbulent decade for America. There are race riots, anti-war protests, hippies, Woodstock. It is also a turbulent decade for baseball, as one by one its "sacred" institutions fall.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 1 hour, 54 minutes Release date: September 27, 1994
9. Home

America and the world are seeing more changes then at any time in history. And so is baseball.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 2 hours, 25 minutes Release date: September 28, 1994
10. The Tenth Inning - Top of the Tenth

In an age of globalization and deregulation, a cataclysmic strike over money and power brings baseball to the brink. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, players on every team must make life altering decisions about how far they are willing to go to succeed.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 1 hour, 56 minutes Release date: September 28, 2010
11. The Tenth Inning - Bottom of the Tenth

As the new millenium dawns, Baseball is more popular and profitable than ever, but suspicions and revelations about performance enhancing drugs keep surfacing, calling the integrity of the game itself into question.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 2 hours, 4 minutes Release date: September 29, 2010

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Terry Wagner on July 19, 2010
Format: DVD
I've watched the first 9 innings numerous times and this series is by far my favorite sports documentary. If your a baseball fan and have never watched this it is an absolute must watch it will give you a whole new perspsective on the game especially if you are younger like me (25).

Just an FYI the 2010 box set comes with the 10th inning. I don't know why Amazon has them available as a "frequently bought together" combo order but I just wanted to give you guys the heads up just buy this box set and you'll get all 10 innings plus the bonus features which include 2.5 hours of deleted scenes and additional interviews. Check the PBS site for a picture of the box set and it clearly states it includes the 10th inning and the run time and disc count are identical to what's on here.
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Format: DVD
Contained in these ten DVD's are just about every historical moment in baseball.

Inning 1 Baseball from its inception in the 1840's to the 1900's This explores baseballs roots from Abner Doubleday to the beginnings of what we know as modern day baseball.

Inning 2 1900 to 1910. The beginning of the World Series. Great footage and photos of old parks and players.

Inning 3 1910 TO 1920. Covers Babe Ruth, the Black sox, Grover Cleveland Alexander and more. Footage of Fenway being built

Inning 4 1920 to 1930 Really the beginnings of the Yankee dynasty but the Cardinals rule the National league with the famed gas house gang.

Inning 5 1930 to 1940. More footage of all the great stars of the day, Ruth, DiMaggio, Williams and more.

Inning 6 1940 to 1950. The effects of war on the American pastime. The splendid splinter goes to war, he comes back and picks up where he left off.

Inning 7 1950 to 1960. The Yankee dynasty continues. Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, The shot heard around the world, Don Larson's perfect game. The Giants and Dodgers pick and leave.

Inning 8 1960 to 1970. The Los Angeles Angels are born, The Kansas City A's become the Oakland A's, The Royals and Mets are born. The Padres are born and move into a small stadium outside of San Diego. And then there was the Seattle Pilots. Those amazin Mets win the World series. Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax get agents but are unsuccessful in changing baseballs anti trust act and re sign with the Dodgers. Maris passes the Babe with an asterisk.

Inning 9 1970 to 1994. Curt Flood loses his war against baseball but the players eventually win. The players union gets stronger. The Reds come to power. The A's win a couple world series.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Every spring I watch Ken Burns' celebrated documentary "Baseball" on the weekend of Opening Day. Even if I am not sitting glued to the tube while it is on, listening to John Chancellor tell the story of the game is an enjoyable experience. Each "inning" takes on a specific focus, providing a defining element in the way Ty Cobb played the game, the Black Sox Scandal, the way Babe Ruth played the game, the struggle of the Negro Leagues, the dominance of New York temas in the Fifties, the creation of Free Agency, etc. Concise profiles of many of the game's greatest players and managers are spread throughout the nine volumes. More importantly, virtually every great moment in the history of the sport is to be found, not to mention some wonderful old-fashioned baseball songs.
Clearly, the climax of the documentary comes in Inning 6, "The National Pastime," when Jackie Robinson starts playing for the Dodgers. The series begins with a prologue on Ebbets Field and Robinson is laid to rest in the final episode. While the focus is on the Major Leagues throughout, Burns always checks back in with what is happening with the black players and the Negro Leagues, building towards Robinson breaking the color barrier. I think it is fair to say the documentary loses some steam after that point, but then that is the point where the series gets to players and moments that overlap our own lifetime. Once we get to colored images from television there is a different feel to "Baseball" from the black & white images to which we have become accustomed.
Also, the more you know about the history of baseball the more you will see the glaring omissions.
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Format: DVD
I think this was a good documentary that would be more accurately titled: "A New York Baseball Fan Attempts to Make a Comprehensive Documentary About Baseball." I fully appreciate the greatness and importance of New York baseball, but after awhile the bias became noticeable to the point of absurdity. Some stray observations:

-Practically every one of the regular talking heads was an avowed fan of one of the NY teams (Doris Kearns-Goodwin, Billy Crystal, Bob Costas, Steven Jay Gould, Roger Angell, Mario Cuomo, Robert Creamer). In other words, any time a personal emotional attachment was highlighted it was directed at either the Yankees, Dodgers or Giants. So far as I can tell not once in the whole series was someone allowed to gush about the Cubs or the Cardinals or the Indians or the White Sox or the Pirates or the Athletics. Very narrow minded.

-The Sixth Inning was particularly egregious. It didn't just focus mostly on the three New York teams- it focused exclusively on the three New York teams. I get that they were great, but did the 1950s really have no other good teams or great players? No mention of those Braves teams? No Go-Go Sox? No hint that baseball was played outside NY for an entire decade? Really?

-As others have mentioned, in discussing the 1960 World Series, the narrative is framed exclusively from the Yankee perspective. Burns apparently could not dig up a single Pirates fan to talk about how it was the greatest moment of his/her whole life. Instead, the replay of Mazeroski's home run is followed by the endless lamentations of the NY talking heads. Super annoying and not a little bit offensive.

-The same thing happens in the 10th inning.
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