If you search hard enough, everything in the world has a Westport connection.
Even Satchel Paige.
Tomorrow at 7 p.m., Craig “Doc” Davidson — who in 1970 was thrown off the Staples baseball team for long hair — will show his new documentary, “Pitching Man,” at the Westport Library. A celebration of the legendary Negro League pitcher who became a Major League rookie at 42, the film’s never-before-seen images add power to an already compelling story.
Included too is an interview Doc did with Paige shortly before his death in 1982.
“Pitching Man” builds on Doc’s previous effort, “There Was Always Sun Shining Someplace.” That video — narrated by James Earl Jones — is a broader look at baseball before Jackie Robinson. It has become a staple of PBS fundraising. Doc jokes, “I never made it into the Hall of Fame. But my film did.”
Making his films, Doc grew impressed with the perserverance of Negro League players, against tremendous obstacles. He also learned that, rare for the era, Paige made money. During World War II he was the highest paid player in the country — black or white.
This film’s audience, Doc says, is “baseball lovers; anyone who adores history, and kids and parents.” Because baseball is, Doc notes, “the great melting pot,” those numbers are huge. When he told a few Westport Little League dads about tomorrow’s showing, one said, “Great! My son loves Satchel Paige.”
The library will provide free peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Take that, Citi Field!