“Diamond Dames” event at the San Francisco Public Library

Diamond Dames is a celebration of women in the national pastime featuring a trio of original documentaries presented by award-winning filmmaker Jon Leonoudakis.

Women have always played a role in baseball, as far back as 1866, when Vassar College women formed teams, to the 1940s with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (aka “A League of Their Own”), to the US Women’s National Baseball Team winning gold in the Women’s Baseball World Cup in 2006.

The films are selections from Jon’s groundbreaking Amazon Prime TV series, The Sweet Spot, which explores the existential side of baseball. Themes of fandom, gender, and love of the game paint a complicated portrait between American women and the male-dominated game of baseball.

Emma Amaya: Our Lady of Chavez Ravine (2016). Emma is an immigrant from Honduras who moved to Los Angeles in time to fall in love with Fernando Valenzuela and Dodger baseball in the early 1980s. Almost 40 years later, Emma is a vital presence at Dodger Stadium, counting ushers, executives, and players as friends and family. (13 minutes)

Maybelle Blair & Shirley Burkovich: The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (2016): Shirley Burkovich was just 16 when she played her first game of professional baseball in 1949, and pitcher Maybelle Blair was paid more than her father for throwing a baseball. They share memories from their playing days in “a league of their own” and perspective on the modern game. (10 minutes)

Perry Barber: The Lady is an Ump! (2016): She started as a singer-songwriter opening for the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Hall & Oates but traded her guitar for a chest protector and a mask. Forty years later, Perry Barber has circled the globe calling ‘em as she sees ‘em. (18 minutes)

The screening will be followed by Q&A and a book signing session with Jon and Perry, the latter of whom is featured in Jon’s 2018 book, Baseball Pioneers.

The Diamond Dames event will take place at the San Francisco Public Library’s Latino Room, 100 Larkin Street at 1:00 p.m., Sunday, March 10.

“Raceball” Film Event Comes to San Francisco Library for Black History Month

January 4, 2019


A white catcher sabotaging a black pitcher, telling the opposing hitter what pitch to expect. Ted Williams standing up to racism in Louisiana. Almost 60 years before Colin Kaepernick, a black baseball player protested during the national anthem.

Native San Franciscan and award-winning documentary filmmaker Jon Leonoudakis will present these stories and more in his Raceball: Race & the National Pastime program at the San Francisco main library for Black History Month.

The films are from Leonoudakis’s TV series on Amazon and Vimeo On Demand, The Sweet Spot: A Treasury of Baseball Stories. The series offers a new look at America’s oldest game, exploring the existential side of the national pastime. The program features two American treasures: Jim “Mudcat” Grant and Jackie Robinson. “Mudcat” is first African-American to win 20 games in the American League and the first to start a game for the American League in a World Series.

Raceball on the Inside Corner chronicles Mudcat’s journey facing racism in the Major Leagues, flecked with stories of friendships with Martin Luther King, Ted Williams, and Larry Doby. Breakfast with JFK recounts Mudcat’s surprise meeting with President John F. Kennedy during a mid-season road trip in 1961 to discuss race in America.

Jackie Robinson: A Lion in Winter presents journalist Ron Rapoport’s story about one of the last interviews Jackie would give months before passing in 1972. Ron shares insight into a complex and heroic man who challenged racial intolerance and blazed a trail that helped change America.

The program will feature Q&A with the filmmaker as well as a book signing of Leonoudakis’s Baseball Pioneers, which features Mudcat Grant, women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and others. The event is free and open to the public.

San Francisco Public Library, February 10, 1:00 pm, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA.

CONTACT: Jon Leonoudakis, 818-903-5919, or [email protected]

Jon’s 2019 Screenings in San Francisco and L.A.

Jon will be presenting screenings of his films for Black History Month (“Raceball”) and Women’s History Month (“Diamond Dames”) in February and March, and another in October for the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake.

The “Raceball” program features Jon’s films about Jackie Robinson and Jim “Mudcat” Grant. “Diamond Dames” presents films about players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, Dodgers superfan Emma Amaya, and female pro umpire Perry Barber.

In October, Jon returns to the Koret Auditorium in San Francisco to present ‘The Day the World Series Stopped” about the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and baseball’s Fall Classic.

All screenings will feature a Q&A and book signing with Jon, along with special guests Perry Barber and Emma Amaya at selected screenings for Women’s History Month.

“Raceball” screening schedule:

Feb. 10, 2019 – 1:00pm
San Francisco Main Library
Koret Auditorium
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA

Feb. 11, 2019 – 6:00 pm
East Palo Alto Library
2415 University Ave
East Palo Alto, CA 94303

Feb. 13, 2019, 6:30 pm
Foster City Library
1000 E Hillsdale Blvd
Foster City, CA 94404

“Diamond Dames” screening schedule:

March 10, 2019 – 1pm
San Francisco Main Library
Latino Room
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA

  • with Perry Barber

March 21, 2019 – 6:30pm
Whittier Library
Whittwood Branch
10537 Santa Gertrudes Ave.
Whittier, CA

  • with Perry Barber and Emma Amaya


“The Day the World Series Stopped” schedule:

October 19, 2019 – 1:00 pm
San Francisco Main Library
Koret Auditorium
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA

See attached press releases for “Raceball” and “Diamond Dames” for more program information.

Contact: [email protected]