12th Annual Film Festival

Friday, September 22, 2017 - 9:00am to Sunday, September 24, 2017 - 5:00am

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will recognize the twin traditions of baseball and film when, for the 12th consecutive year, it hosts the Baseball Film Festival in Cooperstown, Sept. 22-24.

Films can be of any length and genre, but must have been released within the last five years and feature baseball as a primary or secondary theme.

Tickets for each screening are free but must be reserved. Participants in the Museum’s Membership Program can reserve tickets starting Sept. 11 by calling 607-547-0397. Any remaining tickets will be made available to the general public starting Sept. 18.

Films will be shown during several blocks throughout the weekend in the Museum’s Bullpen Theater. A complete list of the films to be screened during the weekend are listed below.

Friday, September 22

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Feature Film

7:00 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Million Dollar Arm (124 mins, Rated PG)
In a last-ditch effort to save his career, sports agent J.B. Bernstein plans to find baseball's next star pitcher. He heads to India to find a cricket player whom he can nurture into a major league star. With the help of a scout, J.B. finds teens Dinesh and Rinku, who haven't a clue about baseball but throw powerful pitches. As the boys adjust to American life, J.B. learns valuable lessons about teamwork and family.

Saturday, September 23

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Session 1

9:30 a.m., Bullpen Theater

Have Melleta Will Travel (15 mins)
Join filmmaker and Cuban baseball fan Phil Selig as he explores Cuba's passion with its national game. Venturing to Cuba for the first time in 2012 as a casual fan he never imagined he might be witnessing a cultural revolution. Cuban ballplayer Alexander Malleta (pronounced similarly to the Spanish term for suitcase, ma-leh-tah) and his subsequent loan-out to the Canadian team, the Ottawa Champions, bookended Phil’s experiences. This short film touches on his experiences, gives a brief recent history of Cuban baseball and its impact in the baseball world, and sheds some light into the greater Cuban psyche as well.

A Long Way From Home (42 mins)
It took more than one man to desegregate baseball, it took a generation. Years after Jackie Robinson’s courageous stand against racism, African American, Afro-Caribbean, and Latino players were still taking the field as “firsts” in minor league towns like Daytona, Little Rock, Charleston, and Macon, but without fanfare, without protection, and without the promise of a chance at the major leagues. A Long Way from Home tells the story of those black and Latino players who worked to bring down the color barrier across the minor league circuits in the 1950s and well into the 1960s. They confronted a culture of segregation that was unfamiliar to many of them; they braved the hostility of fans, reporters, and even teammates; they were held to standards that white players were not. Featuring interviews with Jim “Mudcat" Grant, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Perez, Bobby Tolan, Jimmy Wynn, Enos Cabell, Cookie Rojas, J.R. Richard, Orlando Peña, and Grover “Deacon” Jones.


Session 2

11:00 a.m., Bullpen Theater

Jackie Robinson: A Lion in Winter (9 mins)
Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Rapoport conducted one of the last interviews Jackie Robinson would give before his passing in the fall of 1972. Ron shares the story behind this extraordinary interview and Jackie’s thoughts on baseball, race, and his place in history.

Crime of the Big Leagues (11 mins)
As virtually everyone knows, Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, and broke the color ban in baseball. But few Americans know that Lester Rodney -- the sports editor of the Daily Worker, New York's Communist Party newspaper, who prepared the ground, repeatedly calling the ban "un-American" and "the Crime of the Big Leagues." For over ten years, Lester Rodney’s columns put unrelenting pressure on baseball’s establishment. Who would have thought that a communist writer would become the loudest voice in the fight to desegregate America’s national pastime?

Jim ‘Mudcat’ Grant: Raceball on the Inside Corner (40 mins)
A visit with Jim “Mudcat” Grant is like a visit with baseball history. His roommate was Larry Doby. His teammates included Roberto Clemente. “Mudcat” shares his journey from growing up in the Jim Crow South in the 1930s to a championship career that spanned the 1950s to the 1970s. The first African-American to win 20 games in the American League, Mudcat overcame overt racism in the professional ranks to become one of the finest pitchers of his era.


Session 3

12:30 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Doug McWilliams: A Man With An Eye For Baseball (32 mins)
Meet Doug McWilliams, photographer. If you had Topps baseball cards from 1973-1994, you’ve held Doug’s work in your hands. A master lens-man and baseball historian documenting the game since the early 1950s, Doug’s work is featured in the Hall of Fame’s extensive photo archive. In this episode of The Sweet Spot: A Treasury of Baseball Stories, Doug takes us behind the scenes of the wondrous slabs of cardboard that have long served as a passport to the country of baseball.


Session 4

2:15 p.m., Bullpen Theater

One more game for you, Mom (10 mins)
Almost every family has been affected by cancer. For Wendy, Terry and Ryan Powell facing this storm together has inspired millions to this day. "One More Game For You, Mom" is the remarkable true story of Baltimore Orioles scout, Ryan Powell who came out of retirement for one last game for his Mother, Wendy Powell fighting a rare brain cancer. Through the "National Pastime", the Powell family fought this battle beating incredible odds only to be described by their doctors as a true miracle. Their inspirational story that was chronicled by ESPN's David Lloyd and produced by Jenna Contreras in the spring of 2016 continues to unite millions of people in the wake. What better way to bring families together in their biggest fights than to use the "National Pastime" as a compass.

The Perfect Moment (18 mins)
The most touching moment of the 2016 Cincinnati Reds season came when Michael Lorenzen hit his first major league home run - a three-run shot against the Los Angeles Dodgers - in his first appearance back with the team after his father's passing. Michael Lorenzen's story is one of loss and hope, pain and forgiveness, father and son. From ESPN's E:60.

Homer at the Bat (9 mins)
25 years after its debut, ESPN takes an inside look at The Simpsons episode, "Homer at the Bat", which featured major league voiceovers from Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs, and Jose Canseco. From ESPN's E:60.

The Simpsons: Homer at the Bat (23 mins)
Mr. Burns bets $1 million that his softball team can beat a competing plant's softball team. In order to do so, he replaces the regular softball team with professional baseball players, giving them jobs at the plant so it won’t appear to be actual cheating. As a result, Mr. Burns receives a new security guard (Roger Clemens), a new janitor (Wade Boggs), a lunchroom cashier (Ken Griffey, Jr.), and a variety of new employees, like Steve Sax, Don Mattingly, Ozzie Smith, Darryl Strawberry, José Canseco, and Mike Scioscia.


Session 5

4:00 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Small Ball (3 mins)
A humorous essay looking back at the spectacle of little league told from the perspective of a Little League parent. Small Ball is taken from excerpts of the book Little League Confidential written by humorist Bill Geist and narrated by the iconic voice of Rob Reiner.

The Ripple Effect: Marino Rivera to Aaron Judge (4 mins)
At each year's MLB trade deadline organizations swap players in hopes of building a championship caliber team. Some trades have an immediate impact while other's take longer to bear their fruits. The Ripple Effect traces the New York Yankees “trade tree” spanning nearly 30 years linking Mariano River to the honorable Aaron Judge.

Rickey Goes North (4 mins)
Rickey Henderson has always had a flair for the dramatic on the field. The same can be said for his off-the-field happenings at the 1993 trade deadline. Rickey Goes North tells the unlikely story of how the “man of steal” ended up in a Blue Jays uniform and may have played a bigger part in their World Series win than anyone realized.

Cody Bellinger: Williamsport to the Bigs (5 mins)
Los Angeles Dodgers rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger has taken the major leagues by storm, putting the Dodgers into World Series contention. But this wouldn’t be Bellinger’s first World Series appearance; Cody led his 2007 Little League all-star team from Chandler, Arizona all the way to Williamsport. Cody Bellinger: Williamsport To The Bigs tracks Cody’s path to the show and illustrates that World Series’ appearances are a Bellinger family tradition.

The Man in Orange (7 mins)
Laurence Leavy may be a successful lawyer by trade, but today he’s known to sports fans coast to coast by another name entirely; Marlins Man. The colloquial moniker has stuck and turned him into one of baseball’s most celebrated fans because of the iconic bright orange Miami Marlins jersey he wears to hundreds of high profile sporting events every year.

Zack Hample vs The World (13 mins)
Zack Hample isn’t a professional baseball player, but for over 25 years he’s been racking up stats as if he was one. The self-described “tenth fielder” has attended thousands of Major League Baseball games at every stadium in the big leagues and has caught some of the biggest home runs in recent memory. Zack Hample vs. The World chronicles Hample’s story as the game’s most infamous ballhawk and follows him as he pushes towards his astounding 10,000th lifetime baseball.


Session 6

5:00 p.m., Bullpen Theater

The Forgotten Birds: Seven Straighters (40 mins)
Before the St Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954, there were other teams who carried the Orioles name. The minor league Orioles played in Baltimore from 1903 through 1953 and had some of the best teams and fans; they led the International League in attendance for more than 25 years. But something special happened from 1919 through 1925. Jack Dunn put together what many Historians claim was the best minor league team ever! They were the first team to win 100 games in the International League, and the city where Babe Ruth started his professional career in 1914.


Session 7

8:00 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Reign Men (51 mins)
Reign Men is the behind the scenes story on the Cubs historic win in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians. The documentary, told from the Cubs players themselves, focuses solely on Game 7 and all of the twists and turns of a game unlike anything ever before it. On their way back from a 3-1 series deficit, the Cubs were just 4 outs away from capturing their first World Series title in 108 years. However, a storyline that even Hollywood couldn’t script took center stage as the game’s most dominant closer, Aroldis Chapman allowed a game tying home run in the 8th inning to unlikely hero Rajai Davis, sending Cleveland into delirium. Enter Mother Nature. A rain delay, better yet, a rain timeout lasting 17 minutes allowed the Cubs to regroup and one of the most storied team meetings in sports history to take place. What looked like another case of ‘wait til next year’, turned into the Cubs celebrating something many believed would never happen….a World Series title.

Sunday, September 24

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Session 8

10:00 a.m., Bullpen Theater

Baltimore Baseball Before the Birds (84 mins)
Emerging from the riot torn 1850's, the Excelsior Base Ball Club established their first formal diamond in Druid Hill Park. The 1870's ushered in the early Major Leagues with the Lord Baltimores, though outside forces would conspire to destroy the team, and throw the town into a six year baseball depression. In 1880, a new club formed featuring Hall of Famer Dan Brouthers and Hugh "One-Arm" Daily, but it wouldn't be until a series of massive festivals, including the Oriole Celebration, put the city back on the map just in time for the formation of the American Association in 1882.


Session 9

11:45 a.m., Bullpen Theater

Town Teams: Bigger than Baseball (43 mins)
Town Teams: Bigger than Baseball, is a documentary short that shines the spotlight on the game in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It examines why amateur and semi-pro baseball exploded in popularity. The film explains how baseball became the “social media” of its time, connecting people through athletic competition. But it grew to become much bigger than baseball, as towns across the state competed for highways, county seats, and economic development.


Festival Wrap-Up

1:00 PM, Bullpen Theater