Baseball (1994–2010)
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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?


Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Written by Jack Norworth and Albert von Tilzer
Courtesy of Broadway Music, Inc.
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User Reviews

The One and Only Babe
13 June 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Baseball: Inning Four 'A National Heirloom' (1994)

**** (out of 4)

The fourth episode in Ken Burns series takes a look at the years between 1920 and 1929. As usual, narration, photos and video help show what was going on in the sport during this period and we get stories about such things including Ray Chapman's death when he was hit in the head by a ball, the Negro Leagues continuing to grow, the sport writers, the radio broadcasts, building Yankee Stadium, Walter Johnson winning a World Series, the death of Christy Mathewson, Murderers Row and Ty Cobb's retirement. We also look at players like Rube Foster, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gerrig but the majority of the running time is given to Babe Ruth. Overall this is another terrific episode that baseball fans should love and even those not too familiar with the sport should enjoy because it's simply so well made and entertaining. The majority of the running time is devoted to Ruth, which is quite understandable considering all the ways he changed the sport. We hear about his troubled upbringing, the personal details of his horrid and tragic marriage as well as the countless issues that he ran into with managers, fans, the commissioner and umpires. Then, of course, there are the countless home runs, popularity and everything else that the man did. As with the previous films, this one here features all sorts of terrific photos but more importantly is all the video footage. Considering a lot more stuff was being filmed during this decade it makes sense that we get more video footage so getting to see some of these legendary players in motion was great fun to see.

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