Anderson native Carl Erskine is the subject of a new documentary that highlights not only the baseball legend’s career but also his embrace of the virtues of diversity and inclusion long before they became part of the American consciousness. Erskine is the last surviving member of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ famous “Boys of Summer,” which also included Jackie Robinson, and went on to become a champion of human rights.
Filmmaker Ted Green discussed Erskine’s impact on people with special needs in an interview with Inside INdiana Sports host Bill Benner.
“Indiana has gone from arguably the single worst state in the union in the treatment and acceptance of people with special needs to today, arguably the very best,” said Green. “The people who would know, they go all the way back with Special Olympics Indiana, they go all the way back with the Arc of Indiana say the number one reason for that worst to first turn around is Carl Erskine, and that is what we’re going to bring out in this film.”
Erskine, whose son was born with Down Syndrome, has been involved with Special Olympics Indiana for decades. The organization is a partner on the film, which also has an educational component.
“We call it EPIC – The Erskine Personal Impact Curriculum. We are offering these materials free to every school in the state,” said Green. “We’ve already taken orders for more than 70,000 books that we have created about Carl Erskine to teach his values of humility [and]of servant leadership. And you know, it’s hard to imagine anybody better to learn about or learn from than Carl Erskine.”
The documentary, titled “The Best We’ve Got: The Carl Erskine Story,” will premier August 11 at the Paramount Theatre in Anderson, which also has a special connection to Erskine.
“This is the same theater where Carl would sit up in the balcony with his best friend, Johnny Wilson, because Johnny Wilson as an African American wasn’t allowed to sit down in the main floor, and this is the 1930s. Here we are [in] 2022; the premiere sold out more than a month in advance,” said Green.
An encore screening of the film will take place at the Paramount on August 13. Another screening will take place August 18 at Newfields in Indianapolis.
You can learn more about the film by clicking here.