“Ball Talk: Baseball’s Voices of Summer”
I was recently sent a free copy of Kevin Bender’s DVD, “Ball Talk: Baseball’s Voices of Summer,” a 1989 documentary hosted by Larry King that “celebrates Hall of Fame-honored baseball announcing pioneers Mel Allen, Red Barber, Jack Brickhouse, Jack Buck, Curt Gowdy and Ernie Harwell…”
I watched it on Saturday and it’s fantastic!Â The film footage from games past is amazing, and I especially enjoyed listening to Harwell and Barber recount how they were upstaged by Russ Hodges’ classic “The Giants win the pennant!Â The Giants win the pennant!…” call in the 1951 Dodgers-Giants playoff.Â According to Harwell, “Mrs. Harwell and I were the only ones who knew I was on television that day.”
The announcers also discuss calling Bill Bevens’ near no-hitter in the ’47 World Series, Willie Mays’ catch in the ’54 Series, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the ’56 Series, and Ernie Banks’ 500th home run, among many other things.
According to the press release: “The 1989 documentary has been called ‘a gem,’ ‘one of the best sports nostalgia films ever made,’ and ‘a baseball serenade.’Â It’s re-release coincides with the 30th anniversary of Barber and Allen’s recognition by the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum as the first recipients of the Ford C. Frick Award in 1978, an award honoring baseball announcers.Â Each of the broadcasters featured in Ball Talk is a recipient…The 50-minute documentary features the six announcers reminiscing about the greatest games they broadcast and the greatest men they saw play.Â It includes rare archival footage of their radio and TV broadcasts and film and TV footage of some of baseball’s most memorable moments.”
Among the highlights are:
- Dodgers broadcaster Red Barber explaining that he “had to examine himself” and struggled with how to report Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier in 1947.
- Mel Allen recalling how he felt about hanging out with Babe Ruth: “I couldn’t believe it, I’d get in Babe’s Cadillac…I’m sitting next to Babe Ruth.Â I felt like I was seven years old again.”
- Jack Brickhouse describing how Ernie Banks impacted the life of an eight-year-old fan.
- Jack Buck admitting that he cried in every National League ballpark the year Stan Musial retired.
- Curt Gowdy discussing Ted Williams’ final major league at-bat.
- Ernie Harwell waxing nostalgic about Al Kaline: “Al Kaline’s the best ballplayer I’ve seen in a Tiger uniform, no question about it.”
This was a real joy to watch, so much so that I’m looking forward to watching it again!
To order this wonderful documentary, visit www.balltalkdvd.com.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of the DVD being reviewed, but received no payment or other consideration for this review.