Today is the 102nd anniversary of the pitch that killed Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman, who remains the only Major League Baseball player to be killed by a pitch.
Chapman's death is pegged as ground zero for an ensuing century-plus-long rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Guardians, (formerly the Indians), in a documentary called War on the Diamond, to be released this fall.
The trailer, below, just dropped on YouTube.
Directed and produced by filmmaker Andy Billman (who helmed the “Believeland” ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, among other things), the doc is based on Mike Sowell’s 2015 book on the Chapman incident, "The Pitch That Killed."
Lovers of Cleveland baseball will be delighted to see that a laundry list of local celebs, politicians and former ballplayers appear as talking heads, including many of the beloved stars of the 90s Tribe rosters. (Plus the ever quotable baseball fanatic, Sen. Sherrod Brown.) The film traces the arc of the rivalry, which it acknowledges was often asymmetrical, from 1920 to the present day.
It includes, it's worth mentioning, footage from and commentary on the infamous 2007 "bug game."
Can't deny the pleasures of a good local documentary, so put Nov. 15 on your calendars. That's when War on the Diamond will debut on Amazon and the various streaming services. Until then, the trailer (and Sowell's book, if you haven't already read it), will have to do.
Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...