Polo Grounds documentary

Here’s a delightful little documentary about the Polo Grounds.  I’ve always loved the metaphor of a baseball stadium as a church or cathedral.  I feel the same way about Kauffman Stadium every time I attend a Royals game.

It’s always a shame when stadiums like this get torn down.  I understand that progress sometimes dictates the need for such things, but so much history gets lost in the process, too.


Lost Baseball Teams

While this is far from a comprehensive collection of “lost” teams in baseball history, this short clip provides an interesting look at the St. Louis Browns, Boston Braves, and Philadelphia Athletics.  Being the number two team in your own city is never an easy position to overcome.


SportsCentury: Joe DiMaggio

Here’s a documentary on Joe DiMaggio by ESPN that aired in 1999 as part of the SportsCentury series.  It’s obviously an abbreviated documentary, not going into a lot of depth, but it is still certainly worth a watch.


Mickey Mantle: The Definitive Story

I can’t help but chuckle inwardly a little bit whenever a documentary or book declares itself “definitive” or something similar (really, can any biographical account ever truly be  definitive?).  Nevertheless, this documentary on Mickey Mantle is a good one, and a person can get a good solid overview of his life and career from it.

Even better, if you find yourself unable to get your hands on a copy, you can watch the film through YouTube.


Pride and Perseverance

This weekend I watched a short documentary produced by Major League Baseball,  Pride and Perseverance: The Story of the Negro Leagues.  While the time period covered in the documentary spans from Moses Fleetwood Walker playing major league ball in the 1880s on up to the induction of Negro League players into the Baseball Hall of Fame starting in 1971, the documentary focuses primarily on the story of the Negro Leagues.Pride and Perseverance

Dave Winfield narrates the documentary, and it includes footage from Negro League games, as well as some Major League games.  It also features interviews with Negro Leagues players, including Buck O’Neil, Bob Mitchell, Willie Mays, John “Mule” Miles, Cool Papa Bell, and Ted Radcliffe.  The interviews highlight just how good many Negro Leagues players really were, especially compared to white Major Leaguers, and it’s a lot of fun to see how much these guys light up when they talk about the level of talent.

The documentary touches on the racial struggles faced by black players.  For example, many players accepted the fact that they would have to go around to the backs of restaurants to get food, and it was not uncommon to sleep on the bus because the hotels in a given town would not give them rooms.  Nevertheless, the players talk about how much fun they had traveling and playing ball.  The eventual recruitment of Jackie Robinson by Branch Rickey to break the color barrier, of course, receives due attention.

Overall, Pride and Perseverance is a fantastic overview of the history of the Negro Leagues.  For a documentary that runs less than an hour long, it manages to cram a lot of interesting information into the film.  It’s definitely worth checking out.

 

 


Nokona baseball gloves

This little documentary is less than seven minutes long, and it is a fun watch.  Not only do you learn some things about Nokona baseball gloves, you get to watch the process of a ball glove getting made.  And I love the fact that the work shirts worn by Nokona employees are baseball jerseys.


“The Beaning”: Horror Short Documentary

Over the weekend, I watched the latest movie iteration of It, and it prompted my curiosity to do a search of the phrase “baseball horror.”  I didn’t actually expect to find much, but much to my surprise, I found this little documentary (if you can call it that) that ALTER released earlier this year.

To be honest, I cannot say that I’m a particularly big fan of this short little spoof, though it does put forth a weirdly interesting theory.  The video proposes that the death of Ray Chapman as a result of being beaned in the head by Carl Mays was actually a form of occult human sacrifice.  The payoff of the sacrifice?  The rise of the New York Yankees as a baseball empire.

While I do agree with the video’s assertion that baseball can be a form of religion for some folks, the whole occult/human sacrifice bit seems a bit far-fetched to me.  But, here, you can judge for yourself.