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Baseball: Shadow Ball

Airs Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Baseball legend Babe Ruth at bat.

This summer, PBS will re-broadcast three episodes of Ken Burns’s landmark 1994 series "Baseball." Join Burns for the classic baseball stories from the Great Depression through the 1950s, from Joe DiMaggio and Satchel Paige to Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson, to Willie Mays and Don Larsen.

Ted Williams at bat
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Above: Ted Williams at bat

The fifth “inning” of Ken Burns’s landmark 1994 film "Baseball" looks at baseball’s desperate attempts to survive the Great Depression and Babe Ruth’s fading career, while a new generation of stars, including Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, is on the rise.

It also presents the parallel world of the Negro Leagues, which thrived in the shadow of the Major Leagues. The inning culminates with the greatest showdown in the history of the Negro Leagues: Satchel Paige, arguably the best pitcher ever, against Josh Gibson, “the black Babe Ruth,” in the Negro League World Series.

Satchel Paige, arguably the best pitcher ever, played baseball in the Negro Leagues.
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Above: Satchel Paige, arguably the best pitcher ever, played baseball in the Negro Leagues.

This episode airs as part of the lead-up to the September 2010 premiere of Burns and co-director Lynn Novick’s "The Tenth Inning," a new two-part, four-hour documentary series that takes "Baseball" from the 1990s up to the present and explores the sport’s new Golden Age — an era of unprecedented home-run totals, popularity and prosperity — as well as some of baseball’s darkest hours — the steroid era. Part 5 of 9.

Well — it's our game; that's the chief fact in connection with it; America's game; it has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere; it belongs as much to our institutions; fits into them as significantly as our Constitution's laws; is just as important in the sum total of our historic life. — Walt Whitman

Think you know a lot about the game? Take the baseball quiz and find out.

Upcoming Episodes:

"Baseball: The National Pastime" airs Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 9 p.m.

"Baseball: The Capital of Baseball" airs Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 9 p.m.

Video

Ken Burns' speech on Buck O'Neil Day

Above: Beautiful speech from Filmaker and Historian Ken Burns, who along with The Negro League and the Sarasota REDS commemorate APRIL 14th as BUCK O'NEIL DAY on a beautiful Spring Day in Sarasota, Florida.

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