The Best We've Got: The Carl Erskine Story
2022 | 88 min | Cast | Credits
Carl, Betty and Jimmy Erskine
Branch Rickey III
Director, Producer, Writer: Ted Green
Editor: Pete Saetre
Music: Dr. Tyron Cooper
Videographers: Andy Young, Vinnie Manganello
Narrator: Charley Steiner
Produced by Ted Green Films, Indiana Historical Society
Anderson’s Carl Erskine, 95, is the last man standing of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ fabled “Boys of Summer,” and does he have a story to tell. A story of the Golden Age of Baseball, playing in five Subway Series, setting the Series strikeout record, throwing two no-hitters, taking Pullmans from town to town with Pee Wee and Campy and Duke, pitching the Dodgers’ very first game in Los Angeles.
But that’s only the beginning. Carl played a seminal role in two of the great human-rights movements of the past century, first as a teammate and close friend of Jackie Robinson, then as a pioneer in the fight for people with special needs. Carl and his wife Betty raised their son Jimmy, who has Down syndrome, at home when there was no schooling or services. They started grass-roots programs, pushed for legislation that ultimately abolished prison-like institutions and is leading to full societal integration. Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver would fly Carl around the country to give his call to action: Holding his World Series ring in one hand and Jimmy’s Special Olympics gold medal in the other, Carl would ask the audience which was the greater achievement. Tears all around.
“Without the Carl Erskines of the world,” said Tim Shriver, Eunice’s son and the Chairperson of Special Olympics International, “we would never know the real power of sport.”