When It Was a Game

If you’re a baseball fan who is already dreading the long, cold off-season, this celebration of the game’s golden age should help tide you over until spring. Unlike most such compilations, however, this one isn’t culled from newsreels; it consists entirely of home movies shot by players and fans. Originally compiled for HBO, When it was a Game features newly discovered footage from 1934 to ’57, with special attention paid to legendary teams like the St. Louis Cardinals’ ”Gashouse Gang,” Hall of Fame sluggers like Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio, and such great, vanished ballparks as Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds. Don’t expect the usual heroic plays and historic moments. Do look for a completely different perspective-one that evokes those earlier, simpler seasons before free agency, the DH, and AstroTurf. The filmmakers’ nostalgia for that faded era is heartfelt, and infectious. A-

When It Was a Game
  • Movie