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Arts & Culture

Baseball: The National Pastime

Jackie Robinson slides home for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Florentine Films & WETA Washington, DC
Jackie Robinson slides home for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Airs Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

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.

The sixth “inning” of Ken Burns’s landmark 1994 film "Baseball" leads off with the baseball season of 1941, one of the most exciting of all time. Joe DiMaggio hits in 56 straight games, the longest hitting streak in history. Ted Williams becomes the last man to hit .400. The Brooklyn Dodgers win their first pennant in 20 years. Then the war intervenes and baseball’s best players become soldiers. On their return, the game — and the entire country — are changed forever: Branch Rickey integrates baseball on April 15, 1947, when Jackie Robinson takes the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Baseball finally becomes what it had always claimed to be: America’s national pastime.

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.

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

Upcoming Episode:

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

Preview: The Tenth Inning