A documentary about black baseball players in the Negro Leagues, narrated by James Earl Jones. The program opens with Chet Brewer, a Negro League pitcher, offering an anecdote that will inform the entire documentary. Jones discusses the early days of black professional baseball, highlighted by brief details on the career of Moses Fleetwood Walker, a player from the 1800s. Judy Johnson talks about the forming of the Negro National League in 1920, as well as playing in the first Negro League World Series. Jones talks about the creation of the East/West Classic -- the Negro League all-star game -- as clips show its importance as an event in black society. Johnson also talks about playing a team of white major leaguers. Bob Feller, a former major league pitcher, recalls squaring off versus Negro League legend Leroy "Satchell" Paige. Brewer, Buck Leonard, and Ted Page discuss the hardships faced by Negro Leaguers on the road: cramming into "black only" hotel rooms, riding broken-down buses, and being turned away from most restaurants. Leonard also discusses the most notable Negro Leaguers of the time: Paige, James "Cool Papa" Bell, and "the black Babe Ruth," Josh Gibson. Archival interviews show the three men talking. Jones talks about the frequent practice of Negro Leaguers spending their winters playing baseball in such countries as the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba, and Mexico. Brewer talks about the post-World War II push for racial integration into the majors, and the "right choice" of Jackie Robinson as the first black in the majors. The documentary ends with footage of Paige, Leonard, Bell, and Johnson's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 2001/2002.


  • DATE: October 3, 1983 Monday 10:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:58:22
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:74819
  • GENRE: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: African Americans (See also: Blacks); African-American Collection - Sports; Baseball - Negro Leagues; Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV, 1983


  • Craig Davidson … Producer, Director, Writer
  • Donn Rogosin … Writer
  • James Earl Jones … Narrator
  • Bell, James (See also: Bell, Cool Papa)
  • Chet Brewer
  • Bob Feller
  • Josh Gibson
  • Judy Johnson
  • Buck Leonard
  • Ted Page
  • Paige, Leroy (See also: Paige, Satchell)
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Ruth, Babe (George Herman Ruth)
  • Moses Fleetwood Walker
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