America’s pastime on the silver screen: Baseball movies good and bad

Robert Redford

Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs in ‘The Natural’

As fall turns toward winter I always start watching more movies, both at theaters and at home. At the same time, I’m in withdrawal since there’s no baseball to watch and the Giants’ off-season looks to be pretty quiet, so I started recalling my favorite baseball movies…especially since I’ll probably be watching many of these yet again in the coming weeks as I await the start of spring training.

I’ve seen dozens of lists of top 10 baseball movies and top 10 sports movies over the years, and usually have disagreed with them (as you no doubt will with mine – and you can vote on your favorite below)…but I don’t think I’ve ever actually done one. My list stretches to 15, but who’s counting? Continue reading

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Remembering Jackie’s big brother, Olympian Mack Robinson

Mack Robinson

Mack Robinson

As this year’s Olympic Games commence in London, I couldn’t help but remember learning about an Olympic sprinter from the 1930s named Mack Robinson.

In today’s world of multi-million dollar contracts, appearance fees, and endorsements, it’s easy to forget what many world-class athletes had to endure, even at the peak of their careers, not so very long ago.  Where today’s Olympic track & field stars can become mega-celebrities like Bruce Jenner or Carl Lewis, for an African-American track star in the 1930s, there were no riches or lasting fame.

According to Matthew “Mack” Robinson, running came “naturally.” From 1936 through 1938, few people in the entire world could run faster or jump farther.  One of the greatest track and field athletes of his time, Robinson’s accomplishments have been somewhat obscured by those of Jesse Owens and Mack’s own younger brother, baseball legend Jackie Robinson. Continue reading