JEWS AND BASEBALL: AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY
- Updated: July 27, 2010
NARRATED BY DUSTIN HOFFMAN
New Documentary Features Major Sandy Koufax Interview;
Recollections from Ron Howard, Larry King, Bob Feller,
Official Press Release
New York — “Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story,” a major new documentary release from Clear Lake Historical Productions, is now being released into the market with screenings at film festivals worldwide, and as the title promises, documenting the impact of Jewish players on America’s national pastime, together with the impact of America’s national pastime on American Jews.
From the first – Lipman Pike – and on through Moe Berg, Hank Greenberg, Al Rosen, Sandy Koufax, Shawn Green and Kevin Youkilis, the film records the contributions of Jewish players and the recollections of Jewish fans, spanning the history of the game. Major League Baseball has had top tier Jewish players, almost uninterrupted from its very beginnings, and through vintage newsreels, archival and new interviews, the story is woven together in a 91-minute presentation narrated by Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman.
The film is directed by Peter Miller, and produced by Miller and Will Hechter. Pulitzer Prize-winner Ira Berkow wrote the script. Amy Linton edits.
A highlight of the film is a rare interview with the Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, who agreed to sit down with the producers to talk about his remarkable career. Koufax discusses his experiences with missing a World Series game for a Jewish holiday, and of pitching a perfect game, one of his four no-hitters. “I went out every day to pitch a perfect game”, he said. “A first walk you are going to pitch a no-hitter, the first hit you are going to pitch a one-hitter. Your goals are to be as good as you can be and you give up your goals very grudgingly and if you’ve given up nine hits, it’s going to be a nine-hitter, there’s not going to be a 10th one.”
Director Ron Howard, a young Dodger fan when Koufax pitched, talks about rooting for Sandy as a youngster, and about his shock and embarrassment when he discovered that he was making more money as “Opie” on the Andy Griffith Show, than Koufax was pitching for the Dodgers.
The film includes recollections from Hank Greenberg (vintage) and his son Steve, Al Rosen, as well as from CNN’s Larry King, author Roger Kahn, Commissioner Bud Selig, Players Association’s Marvin Miller, former Montreal Expos owner Charles Bronfman, the Mets’ Fred Wilpon, players Yogi Berra, Bob Feller, Norm Sherry, Ron Blomberg, Shawn Green, Kevin Youkilis, and a delightful opening scene in which actor Dennis Leary, a guest in the Red Sox broadcast booth, discovers that Youkilis is Jewish.
Among the discoveries for audiences: the co-author of Take Me Out to the Ballgame was Jewish (and the song is performed over closing credits by jazz artist Sophie Milman); Washington’s Buddy Myer was a Jewish batting champion, and the New York Giants were frequented by Jewish talent (including Andy Cohen, Sid Gordon, Harry Danning and Phil Weintraub).
Moe Berg’s spy adventures, while undercover as a ballplayer, are revealed; the question of whether not pitching to Greenberg as he threatened to break Babe Ruth’s home run record involved anti-Semitism, and Al Rosen’s realization that sometimes you had to fight emerge. Selig ponders out loud what his predecessors would have thought of a Jew becoming commissioner.
A coda to the production is the tale of Adam Greenberg, who, as a Chicago Cub in 2005, saw one pitch, and was hit in the head with it. He continues his attempt to return to the majors: “You don’t have to be taught to never give up,” he says, which could apply to many in the film.
“Jews in Baseball: An American Love Story,” is distributed by 7th Art Releasing.
About 7th Art Releasing
Specializing in Jewish Films, 7th Art has released numerous notable Jewish titles, including PHOGRAPHER, THE NAZI OFFICER’S WIFE, and the Academy Award-winning, THE LONG WAY HOME. 7th Art is an independent full service distributor, producer, sales agent, and specialized releasing and marketing company that continues to distribute unique, award-winning documentaries and fiction films since 1994. In the 15 years since its inception, the company has handled over 250 films and counting. 7th Art’s films have received many awards, including both Academy Award nominations and Oscars.
Seventh Art Releasing