Shadow Ball on WXXI-TV

Shadow Ball on WXXI-TV

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 9:00pm
Jackie Robinson slides home

Credit: Florentine Films and WETA Washington, DC

Professional baseball during the Great Depression.

Shadow Ball, part of Ken Burns’ landmark 1994 film Baseball, looks at baseball’s desperate attempts to survive the Great Depression and Babe Ruth’s fading career, while a new generation of stars, including Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, is on the rise. Shadow Ball airs Wednesday, June 30 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT 21.1/cable 1011 and 11).

It also presents the parallel world of the Negro Leagues, which thrived in the shadow of the Major Leagues. The inning culminates with the greatest showdown in the history of the Negro Leagues: Satchel Paige, arguably the best pitcher ever, against Josh Gibson, “the black Babe Ruth,” in the Negro League World Series.

This episode airs as part of the lead-up to the September 2010 premiere of Burns and co-director Lynn Novick’s The Tenth Inning, a new two-part, four-hour documentary series that takes Baseball from the 1990s up to the present and explores the sport’s new Golden Age — an era of unprecedented home-run totals, popularity and prosperity — as well as some of baseball’s darkest hours — the steroid era.