I’ve been greatly enjoying Ken Burns’s documentary Baseball. This documentary has been extremely entertaining. Here are some things I have learned through watching this film.
Buck O’Neil is One of the Classiest People to Ever Play the Game
I’ve greatly enjoyed every single minute of interviews with Buck O’Neil. He is the most interviewed person in regards to the Negro Baseball League. He was an extremely charitable and winsome person. It is worth watching the documentary just to hear this man’s stories. It is a real shame that men like him, Paige Satchel, and Josh Gibson were not allowed to post their career numbers in the MLB. Baseball would have been much richer if it were integrated from the beginning.
Shelby Foote is a Great Storyteller
Shelby Foote was an extremely well-known (and well-respected) Civil War scholar. He was also a huge baseball fan. He has an old Southern gentleman’s way of speaking. He told a great story about meeting Babe Ruth as a child, and he told it in such a way that I felt like I was sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch instead of a loveseat in a two-bedroom apartment at midnight holding a baby.
Field of Dreams was Too Kind to Shoeless Joe Jackson
Shoeless Joe Jackson wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box. He also had a very productive series batting-wise in the 1919 World Series. But he did accept money to throw the series, and it affected his fielding. He confessed to his crime, and his own wife turned him in. Sure he was underpaid and well-loved, but there was no excuse for throwing the World Series.
Christy Mathewson was a casualty of WWI
He wasn’t killed during the war, but exposure to poisonous gas during the war ended his career, and eventually led to his death.
Babe Ruth was a Terrible Person
Babe Ruth may have been the most dominant player to ever play the game, but he was so lecherously unfaithful that his wife had a nervous breakdown. The media ignored his debauchery, because he was such a beloved player. Granted, he did a lot of great things for kids, but overall, I was surprised by the level of his immorality.
Louis Armstrong Owned a Baseball Team
Carl Hubbell Developed an Arm Deformity by Throwing a Screwball
Carl Hubbell was a two-time MVP screwball pitcher.
A Japanese Pitcher Struck Out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx in an Exhibition Game in Japan
Eiji Sawamura gave up a lone home run against a collection of MLB All-Stars. He struck out Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, and others. He was killed in WWII.
I heartily recommend this documentary. It is incredibly informative and entertaining. Ken Burns masterfully combines great storytelling/storytellers with photos, videos, and music from each era. If you like baseball and you like history, you have to watch this.
Until later friends…