DVD Review: Baseball Legends

Baseball has always been a sport that created men that became myths because of their displays of power and personalities. Many played the game, but only a few became elevated to Gods with stats that are only matched by stories about those accomplishments. Baseball Legends brings together four hour long documentaries that give us a time when accomplishments were reduced to a few seconds on ESPN’s Sportscenter. The four subjects are amongst the finest enshrined at Cooperstown. Babe Ruth defined baseball. Lou Gehrig personified perseverance. Ted Williams elevated hitting. Hank Aaron marked the long ball.

American Hercules: Babe Ruth charts the course of the pudgy guy from Baltimore who turned one team into a dynasty while cursing another with his departure. While his name is synomous with hitting, Ruth broke in as a pitcher with the Boston Redsox. He would prove to be lethal with both his arm and bat helping the Sox win a few World Series titles. But then an idiot owner whose name will not be mentioned here, sold him to the New York Yankees in order to finance a Broadway musical. Ruth would turn the team in the Bronx into the Bombers. His story also ties into Iron Knight: Lou Gehrig. charts the course of an unexpected baseball star. While baseball is known for players skipping out of high school, Lou was an Ivy League student who didn’t have to travel far from Columbia’s campus to wear pinstripes. While people put to his streak of consecutive games played as the big accomplishment, Gehrig most amazing stat is how he nearly hit 500 home runs and 2,000 RBIs with Babe Ruth hitting before him. Even with all the individual honors and World Series titles, Gehrig’s career is often summed up with his moving speech when he had to quit the game after his ALS made it impossible. The memorable footage is here.

The Immortal Ted Williams paints a portrait of Ted Williams of a man who was obsessed by being the perfect hitter yet also loved fishing. Ted never won a World Series title. His Boston Redsox teams were marked my futility of being stuck behind legendary Yankee squads. Ted Williams’ career is marked by his twice departing to fight for the Marines. He was a jet pilot during World War II and the Korean War. Plenty of historians debate how Williams career numbers would have been improved if he had gotten out of his military duty. Could he have topped Ruth? One guy who did top Ruth in a few statistics arrives with The Hammer of Hank Aaron.
How did an unassuming player for the Milwaukee Braves broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record after the team moved to Atlanta. This stands out from the other documentaries since Hank sits down to be interviewed. They show the pressure of Aaron going after Ruth’s numbers. The passing home run is covered here. Aaron’s legend grows as the documentary progresses. He was more than just home runs.

Baseball Legends works for both the baseball fanatic and the new fan. The four legends presented on the collection transcend the game. These are the foundation players that anyone who wants to talk about the game must grasp.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The image quality and aspect ratio changes with the archival source material. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital. The new elements of the movies sound great. They’ve done quite a bit of work to upgrade the older video.

Making of American Hercules (8:14) deals with what went into finding the archival footage.

Hall for Heroes (5:11) about the opening class at Cooperstown.

History of the Fall Classic (10:02) puts the early World Series in context with Ruth’s accomplishments.

Inside the Moments (6:08) is the segment about Ruth hitting dingers.

Ted Williams 1966 Hall of Fame Induction (4:01) shows his speech is as efficient and concise as his swing.

1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park (3:32) was Ted’s last great time at Fenway. He does a lap around the park on a golf cart.

All Century Team (1:03) has him tip his hat from the stage.

Ted Williams Interview 1966 (6:05) has him reflect on being in the Hall of Fame.

Ted Williams on Hitting 1960 (11:09) are tips that can be used when playing cyber-baseball.

On Ted Williams includes interviews with Bobby Knight, Leigh Montville, Phil Cousineau and Ben Bradlee Jr.

Hank Aaron on Childhood Memories (3:12) deals with transforming rags into the game.

Hank Aaron on the 1969 All Star Game (2:38) documents how he injured himself.

Home Runs #714 & #715 with Curt Gowdy, Milo Hamiltona and Vin Scully making the calls.

Interviews with Joe Garagiola in 1974 allows two legends to chat.

Outtakes with Jonathan Eig, Phil Cousineau, Dan McCoy, Will Leitch and Harold Koplewicz on Lou Gehrig.

Players Recite Luckiest Man Speech (2:37) is a mix between Lou and players of today. It was used to promote the fight against ALS.

Lionsgate presents Baseball Legends. Starring: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron and Ted Williams. Running Time: 227 minutes. Released: October 13, 2015

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