Billy Crystal as Himself (voice)

Episodes 9

September 18, 1994

A look at the origins of baseball in the 1840s taking the story up to 1900. Burns refutes the myth that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown and traces its roots instead to the earliest days of the nation — there are records of a game called “Base” played at Valley Forge.

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September 19, 1994

Viewer are taken through 1910 and introduced to some of the game's most celebrated and colorful characters, including Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. Included is the story of the formation of the American League and its integration with the National League, culminating in the establishment of the World Series.

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Examine the century's second decade, which was dominated by the Black Sox scandal. George Herman “Babe” Ruth makes his first major league appearance (as a member of the Boston Red Sox) and a wave of immigration helps fill the stands with new fans, eager to “become American” by learning America's game.

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September 21, 1994

This episode concentrates on Babe Ruth, whose phenomenal performance thrilled the nation throughout the 1920s and rescued the game from the scandal of the previous decade.

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September 22, 1994

The story of the Negro Leagues in the 1930s. “Shadow Ball” refers to a common pre-game feature in which the players staged a mock game with an imaginary ball. Though unintended, the pantomime was an apt metaphor for the exclusion of blacks from major league play at that time.

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September 25, 1994

This episode covers the 1940s and includes Joe DiMaggio's celebrated hitting streak, the awe-inspiring performance of Ted Williams and what Burns calls “baseball's finest moment” — the debut of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

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September 26, 1994

Viewers are taken through the 1950s when New York City had three successful baseball teams and dominated the World Series. By the end of the decade, the Giants and Dodgers had left New York, a signal that the old game was changed forever.

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September 27, 1994

The field is moved to the 1960s. This episode traces the emergence of television, the expansion to new cities and the building of anonymous multipurpose stadiums that robbed the game of its intimacy and some of its urban following.

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September 28, 1994

The final episode looks at baseball from the 1970s to the present, including the establishment of the free agent system, the rise in player salaries, the continued expansion, the dilution of talent, the ongoing battles between labor and management and the scandals.

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