Directed by Craig Davidson
Island of Baseball tells the story of the golden age of Cuban baseball prior to the Cuban revolution, and the story of a century of Cuban baseball and how baseball built a bridge between the U.S. and Cuba. It uncovers the lost history of the U.S. Negro Leagues role in shaping Cuban baseball, and reveals a time before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball when the greatest Black American baseball stars went to Cuba to play integrated baseball in the Cuban national league. Cuban baseball scholars Felix Julio and Roberto Echevarria are joined in recounting this history by cultural figures like the Buena Vista Social Club’s Omara Portuondo and famed Tropicana choreographer Santiago Alfonso, and baseball greats Luis Tiant Jr. and Tommy Lasorda. On the 100th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Negro Leagues in 1920, the time has come to tell this story.
Craig Davidson is an acclaimed documentarian and baseball historian. Building on a fascination that began in childhood, he continues to dream of baseball and document its central role in American culture. He played, watched or wrote about Little League, aspired to make it in the minors. pitched with the St. Louis Cardinals during Spring Training and played alongside Governor Mario Cuomo during the Democratic National Convention. He has also covered numerous Hall of Fame inductions and uses baseball and its history as a way to chronicle the changing pageant of American life. Davidson’s first documentary, the award winning “THERE WAS ALWAYS SUN SHINING SOMEPLACE: Life in the Negro Baseball Leagues”, won critical acclaim in the national press. Narrated by James Earl Jones, it became the definitive film about the Negro League experience and was featured at the Smithsonian Institution, National Baseball’s Hall of Fame and broadcast nationally as a prime-time feature for the PBS.