Baseball pioneer Emmett Ashford’s life story finally being told through CALLED UP documentary
When the subject of the black pioneers in Major League Baseball comes into discussion, the first name that comes to mind is Jackie Robinson. However, when it comes to the game’s first on-field black decision maker, all fingers point to umpire Emmett Ashford.
After toiling in the minor leagues for 15 long years, Emmett Ashford finally got his break by being called up to the Major Leagues in 1966 as the game’s first black umpire in the American League. Ironically, prior to his very first Major League assignemnt in Washington D.C., he was denied access into the stadium because the security guards didn’t believe that a black man would possibly be assigned to umpire a Major League game.
CALLED UP is the film about Emmett Ashford’s long journey to the Major Leagues, told by some of baseball’s most celebrated figures. The one-hour documentary is being targeted for PBS broadcast, and produced by the filmmaking team of Raymond Bell and Doug Harris.
“This is the first documentary ever produced about an umpire, and from the vast amount of research we’ve conducted, this is truly going to be a story that we can all learn from,” says filmmaker Doug Harris.