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100 Years in the making the Major League Baseball All-Century Team was an all-time roster chosen from the more than 15,000 men who played Major League Baseball in the 20th Century. A blue ribbon panel of experts narrowed the candidates to 100 stellar players. This list was then presented for the final voting and determination of the 30 greatest players: the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Created by Major League Baseball Productions, this DVD presents these 30 legendary players who set the standard for baseball brilliance across every era of modern baseball. With rare archival footage, exclusive interviews, and compelling stories, the Major League Baseball All-Century Team program honors the greatness of these all-time heroes through the awe-filled words of teammates, opponents, and even their own recollections. Baseball Fantasy intersects with baseball heaven at the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Rated NR

Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Dolby Stereo 2.0
Not Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime:70 min.
Price: $9.95
Release Date: 8/25/2009

• Four Bonus Featurettes
• Trailers


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Major League Baseball: All Century Team (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 6, 2009)

More than any other sport, baseball opens itself up to “best of all-time” arguments because the players span eras in a more acceptable manner. While many football and hockey all-stars of the past would find it difficult to compete in the modern era, baseball seems to have changed less. Even with the hyper-muscular steroid era, you still get the impression a Lou Gehrig or a Willie Mays would kick butt and take names today.

We take a look at experts’ picks for the best players of the 20th century in Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Back in 1999, a panel looked at the 14,000-plus Major Leaguers of the 20th century and whittled them down to 100. The program looks at 30 of those all-stars.

Narrated by Bob Costas, Team goes position by position to examine the 100 players selected. Along the way, we get comments from Elias Sports Bureau Official Statistician-MLB Steve Hirdt, Total Baseball author John Thorn, Past Time: Baseball As History author Jules Tygiel, Jackie Robinson’s daughter Sharon, MLB official historian Jerome Holtzman, Total Sports senior editor Kenneth Shouler, Honus Wagner biographer Dennis DeValeria, Baseball Hall of Fame curator Ted Spencer, writer Leonard Koppett, commissioner Bud Selig, Babe Ruth’s daughter Julia, Ty Cobb historian Wesley Fricks, Ty Cobb’s batboy Jimmy Lanier, broadcasters Rick Rizzs and Dave Niehaus, coaches Bobby Valentine, Mike Easler, Earl Weaver, Davey Johnson, Sparky Anderson, Tony Larussa, Leo Durocher, and Lou Piniella, and players Carmen Hill, Tommy Henrich, Mel Harder, Al Milnar, Ralph Kiner, Cal Ripken, Jr., Willie Mays, Tony Gwynn, Hank Aaron, Don Zimmer, Buck O’Neil, Tommy Lasorda, Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Robin Yount, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, Alan Trammell, Stan Musial, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Mike Piazza, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Mel Stottlemyer, Boog Powell, Dave Winfield, Ray Fosse, Nolan Ryan, Don Baylor, Joe Torre, Juan Marichal, Lou Brock, Ron Fairly, Tim McCarver, Art Howe, Tony Perez, Bob Gibson, Roger Clemens, Bernie Williams, Jesse Barfield, Bob Feller, Robin Roberts, Warren Spahn, Jim Kaat, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Steve Garvey, Joe Black, Yogi Berra, Ted Williams, Hank Greenberg, Elrod Hendricks, Willie Stargell, Orlando Cepeda, Al Downing, Tommy Davis, Tom Seaver, Larry Dierker, Dusty Baker, Earl Williams, Barry Bonds, Phil Rizzuto, Harmon Killebrew, Al Kaline, Mickey Mantle, Joe Garagiola, Ken Griffey, Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Fred Lynn.

Produced 10 years ago, Team shows some signs of age, mostly because of all the steroid revelations that have come to light since then. Of course, that information doesn’t change the team as selected in 1999, but a 2009 assessment of the 20th century’s greatest players would almost certainly lose Mark McGwire – a player who may not ever make the Hall of Fame – and might drop Roger Clemens. It remains to be seen how much of a mark the steroids era will leave, but I do believe a 2009 assessment of the 20th century’s best would create reassessments.

The documentary also seems dated due to the various records that’ve been broken in the last 10 years. It’s a bit off-putting to watch the show and hear speculation about the demise of Hank Aaron’s career home run record since it fell a few years ago. It’s also a little depressing to watch people talk about how they thought Ken Griffey, Jr., would be the one to do it. One of the few players of his era not affected by steroids accusations, Junior remains a sure-thing Hall of Famer, but injuries drastically affected his output over the last decade.

While the vintage of the program has these negative connotations, it also acts as a positive in one way: at least we get then-current comments from a slew of players no longer with us. We’ve lost many of the older players over the last 10 years, so it’s good that the program captured them in time.

It’s too bad we don’t get to hear more from them, though. Team acts as a rapid-fire “greatest hits” reel and little more. We see some interesting footage and hear comments from a very impressive roster of participants, but with barely two minutes available per player, the show lacks insight. I’d love to get a much longer documentary that digs into each player in a more dynamic, complete manner. You could give me hours of this stuff and I’d watch every minute of it; 70 minutes is just too little time to tell us more than the absolute basics.

I’d also be curious to know how the show’s producers chose these particular 30 players out of the 100 on the All-Century Team. Did they get the most votes at their positions? It clearly wasn’t random, but it does create some food for thought, especially since we can debate whether some of the players best represent their positions.

Overall, All-Century Team is a breezy and entertaining look at great baseball players, but it proves frustrating. The show’s brevity makes it less informative than I’d like, and it could clearly use an update. I realize that for better or for worse, the program represents the team selected in 1999, and that won’t change, but some new information and editing would make it more watchable now.

The DVD Grades: Picture D+/ Audio C/ Bonus D+

Major League Baseball All-Century Team appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Because Feats compiled material from such a wide variety of sources, it was virtually inevitable that the quality would be erratic, and the result was pretty blah.

As expected, the various archival clips could be rough in terms of marks and other source flaws, and videotaped bits tended to be somewhat fuzzy and murky. However, I expected these issues and didn’t think they were extreme. The older shots had their problems but remained acceptable given their origins.

The modern shots were more of a disappointment since I didn’t expect them to be so ugly. Those clips offered soft definition, muddy colors and a mix of jaggies. The whole package tended to be bland, but the murkiness of the interviews was especially prominent since they should’ve looked better. Overall, this was a consistently flat presentation.

As for the Dolby Stereo 2.0 soundtrack of All-Century Team, it was ordinary but satisfactory. In terms of speech and effects, the mix usually remained focused on the front center channel. However, it opened up music to a decent degree. The virtually constant score provided nice stereo imaging.

Audio quality appeared fine. Of course, the occasional archival elements were erratic and sounded pretty scratchy, but the new interviews came across as warm and distinct. A few lines were slightly edgy, but they usually seemed natural and they always lacked problems related to intelligibility. The music appeared reasonably bright and dynamic, and the effects displayed decent accuracy given that they came from archival clips. This was an acceptable soundtrack for this kind of show.

In terms of extras, we get four additional featurettes. We find “Top 100 Players (10:17), “Fenway Park Ceremony” (4:03), “Turner Field Ceremony” (2:28) and “Turner Field Pre-Ceremony” (4:15). “Top 100” simply provides a music video of sorts in which we see photos and clips of the full 100 player 20th century team. No narration accompanies it, and it repeats the 30 in the main program, of course. It’s a good way to capture the entire chart, though it’s too bad there’s not a documentary that gives all 100 players their due; the other 70 deserve better than this quick synopsis.

The other three clips show various ceremonies created to honor the All-Century Team. “Fenway” shows the 1999 All-Star Game, while the two “Turner” snippets take us to the 1999 World Series and lets us see another effort to honor the players. I especially like the “Pre-Ceremony” piece, since it presents the players in mess formal moments. All are nice to have as extras.

I suspected that this was a straight port of an identically titled DVD from 2000, but after I found a review for the latter, I wasn’t so sure. The main documentary and the supplements I listed appeared on both, but the review I located claimed that 110 minutes of extra footage about the players showed up buried in the chapter menu. I don’t know if this is accurate or a mistake, but I can’t find these materials in the new DVD.

I like the idea behind the All-Century Team documentary but don’t feel wild about the execution. The show spotlights a list of legendary baseball players and gives us basics about them, but it lacks the depth to really educate us. The DVD comes with unappealing picture quality, average sound, and a small collection of supplements. With a list price under $10, baseball fans may want to have this just to hear recollections of a stellar list of ballplayers, but it’s a disappointing documentary.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.75 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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