Aviva offers two presentations for SABR 48 Convention in Pittsburgh, PA

SABR 48 National Convention
June 20-24, 2018
Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh
600 Commonwealth Place Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Aviva Kempner will be participating in two presentations
at the SABR 48 National Convention.

“Collusion and Collision: Hank Greenberg in Pittsburgh in 1947”


“Moe Berg: All-Star Espionage?” Work-in-progress screening.

Learn more about the convention here


“Collusion and Collision: Hank Greenberg in Pittsburgh in 1947”

When: Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 1:15 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. Where: Grand Ballroom 1
With: John Thorn, Official Sports Historian and Bijan C. Bayne, Sports Historian

aboutpic1For decades, an unspoken “gentlemen’s agreement” kept professional baseball segregated. Hank Greenberg, in the final year of his career, showed solidarity with African-American players and helped signify necessary change. This discussion will put the gentlemen’s agreement in the context of other open secrets between team owners and elaborate why Greenberg was in a unique position to empathize with marginalized athletes. In 1947, Tigers team owner Walter Briggs colluded with other team owners to exile Greenberg to the National League. Greenberg was disillusioned enough to quit the game that he loved, but the Pittsburgh Pirates’ owners enticed him to return. They installed a new bullpen, nicknamed “Greenberg Gardens,” in Forbes Field to make it easier for him to hit home runs and offered him the first ever $100,000 baseball contract. Greenberg, as a Jew who suffered anti-Semitic insults from fans and rival players, was in a unique position to relate to the young Jackie Robinson in May of 1947 when the Brooklyn Dodgers played the Pirates. During the game, Robinson and Greenberg collided at first base. Greenberg checked that Robinson was not hurt and offered the rookie player encouragement. Footage will contextualize this discussion of business practices and racism of the time, as well as shifting norms. Kempner, Thorn and Bayne will also examine contemporary ownership and racism in baseball.

Aviva Kempner makes award-winning documentaries about underknown Jewish heroes. Kempner is finishing a documentary on Moe Berg, the catcher who spied for the U.S. during World War Two. She made Rosenwald, a documentary about Chicago philanthropist Julius Rosenwald’s partnership with Booker T. Washington in building 5,000 schools for African Americans in the Jim Crow South; Yoo-Ho Mrs. Goldberg, about Gertrude Berg, who created the first television sitcom; and the Emmy nominated and Peabody awarded The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, about the Hall Famer slugger who faced anti-Semitism during the ’30s. She also produced the Partisans of Vilna, about Jews fighting the Nazis.

John Thorn <https://ourgame.mlblogs.com> is the Official Historian of Major League Baseball and the author of many baseball books.

Bijan C. Bayne is a sports historian who has researched, written for, and been interviewed in various films and television shows. He appears in the 2017 movie The First to Do It. In April 2014, he appeared on TV One’s Unsung Hollywood’s episode “The Harlem Globetrotters.” The same year, he was interviewed and featured in Brian Culkin’s documentary The Mission. In 2015, Bayne co-wrote, directed, and helped cast the pilot for the reality series Team of Dreams. In August 2009, he served as moderator for the Filmmakers’ Panel at the seventh annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival(on the topic “Black Film in The Age of Obama”). He has written and presented extensively on Black baseball, and the Latin American contribution to the game.

“Moe Berg: All-Star Espionage?”

When: Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 6:40 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Where: Grand Ballroom 2

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 1.51.31 PM
Moe Berg, Photo: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Filmmaker Aviva Kempner will show a 24-minute work in progress clip, entitled “Moe Berg: All-Star Espionage?”, that highlights Berg’s first trip to Japan with Herb Hunter, Lefty O’Doul and Ted Lyons to teach baseball seminars at Japanese universities and later his return to Japan in 1934 for an exhibition tour with All-Star players Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Gomez. The completed full-length documentary film will be ready in 2019.

Leave a Reply