Baseball (1994–2010)
3 user 1 critic

A National Heirloom 

The 1920s begin with America trying to recover from World War I and baseball trying to recover from the scandal of the 1919 World Series.


Ken Burns

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Episode credited cast:
Grover Cleveland Alexander Grover Cleveland Alexander ... Himself (archive footage)
Roger Angell Roger Angell ... Himself
Adam Arkin ... Various (voice)
Red Barber Red Barber ... Himself
Mike Barnicle Mike Barnicle ... Various (voice)
Philip Bosco ... Various (voice)
Keith Carradine ... Various (voice)
John Chancellor ... Narrator (voice)
Ty Cobb Ty Cobb ... Himself (archive footage)
Bob Costas ... Himself
Robert W. Creamer Robert W. Creamer ... Himself (as Robert Creamer)
John Cusack ... Various (voice)
Ossie Davis ... Various (voice)
Loren Dean ... Various (voice)
Gerald Early ... Himself


Baseball in the 1920's can be described in two words: Babe Ruth. George Herman "Babe" Ruth dominated the game in almost every respect. An accomplished pitcher, he was also the greatest batter the game had seen up to that time eventually moving to the outfield so he could play every day. Ruth spent most of his youth in a reformatory, his parents having had him declared incorrigible. He shone in the school's baseball team and was signed by the minor league Baltimore Orioles but was soon sold to the Boston Red Sox. It was a black day when they traded him to the New York Yankees and they would not play in a world series again for 25 years. Babe's conduct both on and off the field became a major issue and he was suspended at one point for 39 games by the Commissioner for refusing a direct order to stop barnstorming in the off season. His off field behavior offended a great many people but he was oblivious to it all. Christy Mathewson, to many the greatest pitcher of his generation, died ... Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

21 September 1994 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


Mood Indigo
Written by Irving Mills, Barney Bigard & Duke Ellington
"The Mooche"
Written by Duke Ellington
Published by Mills Music Inc. and Famous Music
Performed by Duke Ellington, courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

It's All About Ruth!
23 January 2015 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

There were some other issues portrayed in this episode. The Washington Senators winning for the only time ever. The rise of Lou Gehrig and other Yankees. It tells of the cantankerous Kenesaw Mountain Landis and his humorless bullying (which was really necessary after 1919). It showed the frustration of the black players and the story of their league which was nearly usurped by white tycoons. But this is really the story of Babe Ruth and his affect on a game that was in trouble. Ruth who was an accident waiting to happen came in as what would have been one of our greatest pitchers, traded from Baltimore to the Red Sox then sold along with other great players to the Yankees (so the Red Sox boss could invest in Broadway shows). Ruth had incredible ups and downs but was "the" household word in America. Compare his celebrity and influence to that of the politicians of the time, and see who held forth the best. He was a man of amazing power who pushed the limits of excess, eating six hot dogs at a time and drinking as much soda, running around with women while his wife was holed up in a country home and he lived in a 13 room apartment in the city. Anyway, his legacy is Yankee Stadium and a revitalization of the national pastime. A very good episode with some really nice video.

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