- Bonus Documentary The Making of Baseball which includes: Charlie Rose interviews with Ken Burns, Bob Gibson, Yogi Berra, Bob Costas and more
- Over 25 hours on 10 DVDs
- Additional Interviews With Renowned Baseball Figures
- Key Baseball Statistics Through the 1999 Season
- Historical Baseball Timeline
- Interactive Trivia Quiz - 225 Trivia Questions
Baseball - A Film by Ken Burns
DVD | Box Set
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Ken Burns tops himself with this epic of American history, told in "nine innings," with a skilled narration by John Chancellor and the voices of Paul Newman, Jason Robards, Billy Crystal, and other stars. The series spans 150 years, starting with the myth-debunking tale of baseball's true beginnings -- when it was a game "one degree above mayhem." Then follow the growth of America's National Pastime through the decades of glory and record-setting achievements, as well as the scandals, the bigotry, and the big money. The series portrays the game as a mirror of America itself -- the passions, prejudices, and ambitions that have shape the country.
Ken Burns's Baseball works magnificently on DVD, if only for the reason that scene selection in such a massive documentary is essential for viewing and re-viewing your favorite sections. The DVD menus are purely functional, and the timelines and baseball stats will appeal primarily to diehard fans of the game. Clicking on the PBS logo will take you to the stats and bios of players, although the bios are minimal. Each of the first nine discs contains these as well as trivia questions. Get the question right, move on to the next question. Get it wrong and a snippet of the documentary plays, showing you the correct answer. The real appeal of the DVD set (other than, of course, the fabulous documentary itself) is the 10th, "extra inning" disc. This final disc contains the documentary The Making of Baseball, as well as team info (which, again, is pretty basic) and episodes of Charlie Rose's talk show, in which he interviews Ken Burns, Bob Gibson, Yogi Berra, Bob Costas, and Rachel Robinson (the widow of Jackie Robinson). --Jenny Brown
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Each of the series’ 10 episodes, called an “inning,” covers approximately one decade in the history of the game. In every episode, viewers are introduced to the people who had the greatest impact on the game during that era, as well as the greatest games, and the key events of the times.
“Baseball” pays particular attention to five of the oldest and most legendary major league teams: the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Red Sox. Throughout their long and storied past, each of these teams had its own set of peculiar triumphs, tragedies, and curses that have carried down to the present day.
“Baseball” isn’t just a sugarcoated showcase of past stars and glories. This series makes a sober and in-depth examination of many of the grittier and seamier aspects of the game. “Baseball” unflinchingly explores the Chicago Black Sox scandal of 1919; the so-called “gentlemen’s agreement” among team owners that prohibited African American baseball players from playing in the major leagues for over 60 years, resulting in the creation and development of the Negro Leagues; the long fight against the hated reserve clause that kept players bound to one team for life; and the use of performance enhancing drugs by players in the years of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
I think the best episode in the entire series is “Inning 6: The National Pastime (1940-1950.}” In this long and poignant episode, Burns tells in compelling detail of how the color barrier in Major League Baseball was finally broken. In 1946, Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to a minor league deal, thus defying the express will of team owners. Rickey explained to Robinson, in a long and profanity-laced diatribe, what he was likely to face in the way of abuse, both verbal and possibly even physical, from other racist players, managers, and fans. Robinson promised not to retaliate against all forms of racist abuse for three years. In April 1947, Robinson became the first African American to play major league baseball in over 60 years. He forever changed the game for the better, making it truly the “national pastime.”
I have owned a home video copy of “Baseball ever since it was first released on VHS tape in 1994. After I finally wore out my videotape set, I bought the remastered version of “Baseball” on DVD, a set that includes “The Tenth Inning.” “Baseball” is also available as a Prime selection on Amazon video. I think “Baseball” is the finest documentary ever produced about the game I love so much. Most highly recommended.