Baseball (1994)

TV Mini-Series  |  TV-PG  |   |  Documentary, History, Sport
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A documentary on the history of the sport with major topics including Afro-American players, player/team owner relations and the resilience of the game.

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2010   1994  
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
John Chancellor ...
 Narrator (9 episodes, 1994)
 Himself (8 episodes, 1994-2010)
 Various / ... (7 episodes, 1994)
Paul Roebling ...
 Various / ... (7 episodes, 1994)
 Himself / ... (7 episodes, 1994)
 Various / ... (7 episodes, 1994)
John Thorn ...
 Himself (6 episodes, 1994-2010)
George Will ...
 Himself (6 episodes, 1994-2010)
 Various / ... (6 episodes, 1994)
Charles McDowell ...
 Himself / ... (6 episodes, 1994)
Buck O'Neil ...
 Himself (6 episodes, 1994)
 Himself / ... (6 episodes, 1994)
 Himself (5 episodes, 1994-2010)
 Herself (5 episodes, 1994-2010)
Roger Angell ...
 Himself (5 episodes, 1994)
 Various / ... (5 episodes, 1994)
 Himself (5 episodes, 1994)
 Various / ... (5 episodes, 1994)
 Various / ... (5 episodes, 1994)
 Various / ... (5 episodes, 1994)
 Himself / ... (5 episodes, 1994)
 Himself (4 episodes, 1994-2010)
Red Barber ...
 Himself (4 episodes, 1994)
 Various (4 episodes, 1994)
Robert W. Creamer ...
 Himself (4 episodes, 1994)
Mario Cuomo ...
 Himself (4 episodes, 1994)
Donald Hall ...
 Himself (4 episodes, 1994)
 Various / ... (4 episodes, 1994)
 Various / ... (4 episodes, 1994)
 Himself (archive footage) (4 episodes, 1994)
 Himself (4 episodes, 1994)


Ken Burns relates the history of baseball in a fashion similar to that of his Civil War mini series. Old-time photos and illustrations depict the games early years, while newsreels and video clips highlight more recent developments. Players and participants speak in their own words, and sports writers and broadcasters offer commentary on the sport and events they witnessed. Written by Eric Sorensen <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

18 September 1994 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


When discussing Yogi Berra's many interesting quotes, a friend of Yogi's is alleged to have said, "Hey, Yogi, what do you know?" Yogi allegedly replied, "I don't even suspect anything." This exchange is actually taken from an exchange Charles Chaplin had in a Parisienne café in Monsieur Verdoux (1947). See more »


Narrator: It is played everywhere. In parks and playgrounds and prison yards. In back alleys and farmers' fields. By small children and old men. Raw amateurs and millionaire professionals. It is a leisurely game that demands blinding speed. The only game in which the defense has the ball. It follows the seasons, beginning each year with the fond expectancy of springtime, and ending with the hard facts of autumn. It is a haunted game, in which every player is measured against the ghosts of all who have ...
See more »


Features Battleground (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

A good watch... but maybe not a true 'history'
20 April 2006 | by (Detroit, Michigan) – See all my reviews

I wouldn't necessarily call this a great documentary, at least not as a view of baseball overall.

There is far too much concentration on New York and Boston during eras that warranted much more mention of Cubs, Athletics, Tigers, Cardinals and so on.

Burns also seems to get lost at times on the racial segregation issue, almost to the point of contradicting his own narration and inferring that baseball was somehow more racist than the country in general at the time. I am not trying to discount the plight of African-American ballplayers over the years, I just think Burns emphasized it to the point of distraction at times. Large chunks of the series revolve around nothing else but New York, Boston and segregation. Also, negative aspects about New York teams and players are glossed over. I don't recall any mention of lagging attendance as a defense for the Dodgers exodus to Los Angeles or the Giants to San Fran. Mention is made of Mickey Mantle constantly playing with pain. The fact that he brought much of that on himself by constantly abusing his body with carousing and alcohol is basically glossed over. I also don't recall the Yankees horrible history of introducing black players being included as the flip side of the Jackie Robinson story in Brooklyn.

With the exception of the dominant Yankee/Dodger teams of the 50's, the series is much more East Coast-centric than it need be. The fact that 1970 til present (well, 1994) was compacted into one volume is also a bit annoying. (As if anything in the post expansion era isn't 'romantic' enough for Burns' efforts.) The talking heads can also be a problem at times. I consider myself to be a sucker for the occasional 'tug at the heartstrings' poetic waxing, but some these people are too overblown. I found myself wincing on more than one occasion at the pretentiousness of some of the comments. The most interesting dichotomy of the series is seen by looking at the historical versus the modern talking head. The majority of the narrator driven historical readings emphasis baseball as a wonderful boys game played by men. It's only the modern day talking heads that manage to pervert it into some beautiful, unicorn, fluffy bunny, poetry-in-motion, analogy for the human condition slop.

I know it seems as if I'm slamming the series, but I really did enjoy it overall. I just don't think it's anything approaching a perfect documentary. You'll get the feelings that the game rarely left New York until the Giants and Dodgers did and that it existed purely as a vehicle to oppress the black man. Still, It's an entertaining watch and worthy of the time investment for casual baseball fans and history buffs alike.


9 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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