Jon and special guest Perry Barber celebrated women in the national pastime in style on March 10, 2019, at the San Francisco Public Library. Perry Barber has been umpiring for nearly 40 years and is a true baseball pioneer.

She’s umpired around the world and is a tireless advocate for women to participate in our national pastime. Before strapping on the umpire’s mask, Perry had a successful career as a singer-songwriter in NYC, opening for the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Hall & Oates.

Jon called on Perry’s musical background, and the two of them donned acoustic guitars to perform Perry’s stellar arrangement of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for voice and guitar. You can watch their performance here: Jon & Perry perform “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”

Jon screened three films from “The Sweet Spot,” featuring stories of fandom and impacting the landscape of baseball in spite of crippling gender discrimination. The post-screening Q&A session with Jon and Perry got lively when Tom O’Doul, Lefty O’Doul’s cousin, asked her to demonstrate how she rings up called third strikes. In an instant, Tom, Perry, and attendee Charles Fracchia, Jr. assumed the position of batter, catcher, and umpire. As the third strike whizzed past Tom, Perry rang him up with a flourish!

Other baseball pioneers in attendance included Rachelle “Rocky” Henley, a member of the inaugural Colorado Silver Bullets Baseball Team (1994) and author/political scientist Jennifer Ring. Rocky (L) is pictured with Jon and Perry in the photo above.

The post-event party was held at the marvelous new baseball-themed restaurant, The Pine Tar Grill, which is festooned in San Francisco Giants artifacts, memorabilia, and equipment.

Provocative “Raceball: Race & the National Pastime” Bows in San Francisco


Jon presented a trio of films from “The Sweet Spot” catalog to honor Black History Month on February 10, 2019.

The local audience was treated to a PowerPoint presentation prior to the screening, which provided historical context for the event. It also honored the recent passing of former Bay Area resident Frank Robinson, one of the greatest to play the game, and the first African-American to manage a Major League baseball team.

The films covered stories about one of the last interviews Jackie Robinson gave before his passing in 1972 and a profile in courage of Jim “Mudcat” Grant, the first African-American to win 20 games in the American League.


Walt Disney. Ray Bradbury. Pixar. Virtual reality. “Backdraft.” Babe Ruth. “Mudcat” Grant. Racing cars. George Lucas. The world’s most recorded guitarist, Tommy Tedesco.

Somehow, I experienced all of that (and more) in my long career as a producer in the entertainment industry. You can watch some of those highlights in my new demo reel covering over 20 years in just 2.5 minutes!

Jon’s 2019 Demo Reel

“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]

Jon’s film, “Shutout!” featured on ESPNW.com!

Writer Charlie Vascellaro wrote this fine article about the “Shutout: The Battle American Women Wage to Play Baseball” screening at the Hall of Fame,

using the film as a means to explore the issue of gender discrimination in our national pastime.

Click link below to view!


Jon with pioneering female baseball players (L-R) Rachelle Henley, Alex Oglesby and Ila Borders. (Photo by Karl Mondon)

Jon’s film, “Shutout!” to screen at the Baseball Hall of Fame Sept. 22!

Shutout! The Battle American Women Wage to Play Baseball has been selected for screening at

the 13th annual Baseball Film Festival on 9/22 at 7pm in the Bullpen Theater.

Shutout! explores the social, political, and cultural factors that led to the systematic exclusion of

American girls and women from the game, celebrates those who’ve succeeded in the face of such

challenges and considers the path forward to make baseball available to everyone.

Jon’s presents at the Hall of Fame and the NINE Conference!

Jon presented his latest academic paper, “Swing and Miss: How MLB Teams Fail Creating an Engaging Fan Experience and How to Fix It,” at both the NINE Spring Training Conference and the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture. He recently presented it to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ executive management as well!