My good friend, Jack Epstein (editor at the SF Chronicle) told me the amazing story of 92 year old Lester Rodney, who had been instrumental in desegregating baseball in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Jack had just written about him in the Chronicle. 

Rodney was the sports writer for the Daily Worker (NY City's Communist Party newspaper) fighting for social and racial justice in Depression era America. 

I was amazed.  I thought I knew my baseball (including Negro League) history but had never heard of this guy.  I asked Jack if I could meet Lester, with the hope of interviewing him for a possible feature documentary. 

But at 92, was he up for this?  I got my wish, met and filmed him at AT&T Park (with the help of the SF Giants and volunteer film crew). We taped for over 3 hours! He was energetic, funny and had an incredible story to tell.  

Unfortunately, we never got the funds to produce the feature documentary.  
The fascinating 3 hour interview was sadly put into storage.
That was 12 years ago.

Lester passed away in 2009 at age 98.

Last year, we met with the Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro League Museum.  He was giving a talk to middle schoolers here in the SF Bay Area.  We told him we had a fabulous 3 hour interview with Lester Rodney.  Was he interested in acquiring it for the museum?  His eyes lit up.  “I sure would!” he said.

We then decided to produce a short documentary using the interview and Lester's own writing as the spine.  With amazing volunteer efforts from Michael Pickman, Roger Krakow, the staff at Rough House Editorial, Ray and Amy Rodney, Marty Lurie, Vida Blue, Malcom Payne, Sirius Sound, Bill Zarchy, Jane Hall, the SF Giants, and the SF film community, “CRIME OF THE BIG LEAGUES” was finally produced.

It has since been recognized by ten international film festivals and lives in the Negro League Museum in Kansas City.  

We are beyond thrilled that it has been accepted into the 12th annual NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL of FAME FILM FESTIVAL in Cooperstown NY, Sept. 22-24. 

Lester Rodney FINALLY gets the recognition in the National Baseball Hall of Fame he has always deserved.