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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.




2010   1994  
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
John Chancellor John Chancellor ...  Narrator 9 episodes, 1994
Daniel Okrent ...  Himself 8 episodes, 1994-2010
Ossie Davis ...  Various / ... 7 episodes, 1994
Paul Roebling Paul Roebling ...  Various / ... 7 episodes, 1994
Studs Terkel ...  Himself / ... 7 episodes, 1994
Eli Wallach ...  Various / ... 7 episodes, 1994
John Thorn John Thorn ...  Himself 6 episodes, 1994-2010
George Will ...  Himself 6 episodes, 1994-2010
Adam Arkin ...  Various / ... 6 episodes, 1994
Charles McDowell Charles McDowell ...  Himself / ... 6 episodes, 1994
Buck O'Neil Buck O'Neil ...  Himself 6 episodes, 1994
George Plimpton ...  Himself / ... 6 episodes, 1994
Gerald Early ...  Himself 5 episodes, 1994-2010
Doris Kearns Goodwin ...  Herself 5 episodes, 1994-2010
Roger Angell Roger Angell ...  Himself 5 episodes, 1994
Keith Carradine ...  Various / ... 5 episodes, 1994
Shelby Foote ...  Himself 5 episodes, 1994
Garrison Keillor ...  Various / ... 5 episodes, 1994
Amy Madigan ...  Various / ... 5 episodes, 1994
Jason Robards ...  Various / ... 5 episodes, 1994
John Turturro ...  Himself / ... 5 episodes, 1994
Bob Costas ...  Himself 4 episodes, 1994-2010
Red Barber Red Barber ...  Himself 4 episodes, 1994
Philip Bosco ...  Various 4 episodes, 1994
Robert W. Creamer Robert W. Creamer ...  Himself 4 episodes, 1994
Mario Cuomo ...  Himself 4 episodes, 1994
Donald Hall Donald Hall ...  Himself 4 episodes, 1994
Arthur Miller ...  Various / ... 4 episodes, 1994
Gregory Peck ...  Various / ... 4 episodes, 1994
Vin Scully ...  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 <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>

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Release Date:

18 September 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Baseball See more »

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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 ...
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Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #8.84 (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Too Much Emphasis on Favorite Events
16 February 2007 | by DKosty123See all my reviews

For all his wizardry doing The Civil War, this Baseball one even though it is twice as long, puts too much emphasis on Ken Burns favorite moments of Baseball. A baseball fan appreciates this, but for a history student, this series does not satisfy you the way the Civil War Series did.

Burns does focus a lot of time on Jackie Robinson's breaking the color line in Baseball, which is a good thing. He actually spends more time on this one event, than anything else that ever happened in Baseball, & that is too much. What is missing because of this is a large amount of history.

Examples of this are plenty. Nowhere is mentioned the fact that new stadiums were built larger after Babe Ruth came along to try & stop Ruth from hitting more homers. That is exactly the opposite of where the new stadiums have been getting smaller to help the Bonds, McGuires, etc. break all time records.

The beginning of the game is a murky cloud at this point now that Abner Doubleday story has been totally discounted. Yet Doubleday is here but not any evidence of who really invented the game. Then a lot of little things are missed along the way. Very little time is given to the "spit ball" & how it historically effected the game.

Very little time is spent on the dead ball either. The change in lowering the pitching mound in the mid 1960's is not evaluated. Equipment changes are paid only slight attention.

One of the greatest events in Baseball in the 1950's is totally missed, the 12 perfect innings thrown by Harvey Haddix of the Pirates. This has never been done either before or since, & yet did not make the cut to get mentioned in this series?

I am not an expert on Baseball, yet if I can see stuff missing, I am sure the purist of the sport had to be very disappointed. Actually, after visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame, & the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Football has done a better job noting it's history than Baseball has.

In fact, Pro Football broke the color line with 5 Professionally paid Black Pro Football Players before World War 1, years before Jackie Robinson. Maybe we need a series on Pro Football too, only someone who can focus on the entire history of the sport. Ken Burns failed to do that with this Baseball series.


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