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Charles M. Conlon's famous picture of Ty Cobb stealing third base during the 1909 season.
Charles M. Conlon / Public domain
Charles M. Conlon's famous picture of Ty Cobb stealing third base during the 1909 season.

Encore Wednesday, July 19 - Aug. 23, 2023 on KPBS 2 / Stream now with KPBS Passport!

The story of Baseball is the story of America. It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. BASEBALL, Ken Burns' epic 18-1/2 hour miniseries about America's favorite pastime, premiered on PBS in September 1994.

Ken Burns: Baseball PREVIEW



Inning One, “Our Game,” Wednesday, July 19 at 9 p.m. and Monday, July 24 at 11 a.m. on KPBS 2 - This episode looks at the origins of baseball in the 1840s and takes the story up to 1900. Burns refutes the myth that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown and traces its roots instead to the earliest days of the nation — there are records of a game called "Base" played at Valley Forge.

Inning Two, “Something Like a War,” Thursday, July 20 at 8 p.m. and Tuesday, July 25 at 11 a.m. on KPBS 2 - This episode takes viewers through 1910 and introduces some of the game's most celebrated and colorful characters, including Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.

Inning Three, “The Faith of Fifty Million People,” Wednesday, July 26 at 11 a.m. and Wednesday, July 26 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 - This episode examines the century's second decade, which was dominated by the Black Sox scandal. George Herman "Babe" Ruth makes his first major league appearance (as a member of the Boston Red Sox) and a wave of immigration helps fill the stands with new fans, eager to "become American" by learning America's game.

Inning Four, “A National Heirloom,” Thursday, July 27 at 11 a.m. and Thursday, July 27 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 -
This episode concentrates on Babe Ruth, whose phenomenal performance thrilled the nation throughout the 1920s and rescued the game from the scandal of the previous decade.

Inning Five, “Shadow Ball,” Monday, July 31 at 11 a.m. and Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 - This episode tells the story of the Negro Leagues in the 1930s. The title refers to a common pre-game feature in which the players staged a mock game with an imaginary ball. Though unintended, the pantomime was an apt metaphor for the exclusion of blacks from major league play at that time.


Inning Six, “The National Pastime,” Thursday, Aug. 3 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 - This episode covers the 1940s and includes Joe DiMaggio's celebrated hitting streak, the awe-inspiring performance of Ted Williams and what Burns calls "baseball's finest moment" — the debut of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

Inning Seven, “The Capital of Baseball,” Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 - takes viewers through the 1950s when New York City had three successful baseball teams and dominated the World Series. By the end of the decade, the Giants and Dodgers had left New York, a signal that the old game was changed forever.

Inning Eight, “A Whole New Ball Game,” Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 - This episode moves the field to the 1960s. This episode traces the emergence of television, the expansion to new cities and the building of anonymous multipurpose stadiums that robbed the game of its intimacy and some of its urban following.

Inning Nine, “Home,” Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 - This episode looks at baseball from the 1970s to the present, including the establishment of the free agent system, the rise in player salaries, the continued expansion, the dilution of talent, the ongoing battles between labor and management and the scandals.

BASEBALL: A Film by Ken Burns--"That Man Miller"

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