To warm up baseball fans for the March 31 start of Major League Baseball’s regular season, the University of Georgia’s George Foster Peabody Awards and Peabody Award Collection will present three baseball-themed documentaries that have won the coveted award. The films will all be screened Wednesdays in March at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Library, 300 Hull St. The film screenings are free and open to the public.
“When It Was a Game” will be shown on March 6. A 1991 Peabody winner from HBO Sports and Black Canyon Productions, the film is a remembrance of professional baseball in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s assembled largely from footage shot by players as home movies.
“The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg” will be shown March 13. The film looks at baseball’s first Jewish star in the 1930s— a time when anti-Semitism flared in the U.S. and raged in Europe. Playing for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg won the American League’s Most Valuable Player award twice and came within two home runs of tying Babe Ruth’s single-season record in 1938. A 2001 Peabody winner, the film by Aviva Kempner includes rare footage and excerpts from a 1984 interview by Dick Schaap with the original “Hammerin’ Hank” himself.
“Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream” will be shown March 20. Aaron played 23 seasons with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves. Filmmaker Mike Tollin’s 1995 documentary focuses particularly on Aaron’s grace, dignity and focus in the face of hate mail and even death threats as he closed in on Babe Ruth’s all-time career home run record of 714 in 1974.
The films are all part of the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, one of the largest broadcasting archives in the country, with over 250,000 titles preserved in film, audio and videotape and other recording formats. The only public archive in Georgia devoted solely to the preservation of audiovisual materials, the Brown Media Archives holds programs dating from the 1920s to the present day.
For more information, see http://www.libs.uga.edu/media/index.html or visit the exhibit space in the Russell Special Collections Building.