Baseball (1994– )
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Something Like a War 

In 1894, a sportwriter named Byron Bancroft "Ban" Johnson takes over a struggling minor league - the Western League - and turns it into a financial success.



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Episode credited cast:
Roger Angell ...
Various (voice)
Various (voice)
Thomas Boswell ...
Various (voice)
John Chancellor ...
Narrator (voice)
Ty Cobb ...
Himself (archive footage)
Various (voice)
Various (voice)
Stephen Jay Gould ...
Donald Hall ...
John Hartford ...
Various (voice)
Various (voice)


This second episode in the series covers the years 1900-10. The new century was a time of great change in the United States and around the world. Baseball was in decline generally but the creation of the American League by Bam Johnson in 1896 presents the first real competition to the older and well-established National League. The new league was an immediate success and established themselves in cities that had been abandoned by the National League. The National League owners did their best to obstruct the upstarts but in the end had to admit that their play was on a par with the older established circuit. This led to the first World Series in 1903 between the Boston Pilgrims and the Pittsburgh Pirates, which Boston won (there was no World Series in 1904 because of NY Giants manager John McGraw's antipathy towards Johnson and the American League, a decision that cost the players dearly). The stars of the day shone: Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Christie Mathewson and many others. African ... Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

19 September 1994 (USA)  »

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Excellent Second Episode
6 June 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Baseball: Second Inning 'Something Like a War' (1994)

**** (out of 4)

The second episode in the terrific Ken Burns' documentary series takes a look at the sport from 1900 to 1910. In this episode we cover subjects such as the formation of the American League, various race issues, the hot dog being introduced to stadiums, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, the first World Series and we also get a closer look at players such as Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson and the infamous Fred Merkle and his now notorious play in a game between the Giants and cubs. It really goes without saying but Burns' has done another terrific job with this episode and once again we're given some terrific stories about the period, the ways baseball was changing and of course there are some wonderful photos showing off the stadiums and people of the day. Some of my favorite moments were the stories involving how fights were constantly breaking out in the stands and how many times the fans would simply get on the field to fight with the players. There are some amazing photos of hundreds if not thousands of people on the field, interrupting the game just so they could fight with each other or the players. One of the best stories comes in the Fred Merkle case where he missed second base and the home team Giants thought they had won and with all the fans on the field, a couple of the Cubs players had to beat up some fans in order to get the baseball back so they could touch the base and get the runner out. All of the stuff dealing with Wagner and Cobb were fascinating as well. Another great job done.

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