ESPN Films latest 30 for 30 documentary short “Deerfoot of the Diamond” debuts September 27 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. In late 2021, Cleveland’s baseball team was reborn as the Guardians. The documentary, directed by Lance Edmands, chronicles the saga of that name change, which has its roots in a forgotten legend named Louis Sockalexis, and the tragedy that enveloped his story more than a century ago. The film will be made available on ESPN+ immediately after its premiere, along with the rest of the 30 for 30 library.
After the 2021 season, a new name came to Major League Baseball. To the delight of many, and the consternation of others, Cleveland’s ballclub was now known as the Guardians. The story of the team’s long journey to its new nickname is a tale that encompasses heroism, tragedy, racism, and the complexities of history over more than a century of time. “Deerfoot of the Diamond” juxtaposes a poignant telling of the tragic story of Sockalexis with a revealing history of the controversy over the Indians name, which stretched for decades in Cleveland and beyond, leading up to the ultimate renaming of the franchise before the 2022 season.
“To me, the little-known story of Louis Sockalexis is as fascinating as it is timely,” said Edmands. “Although his phenomenal rookie season was over 100 years ago, he made an outsized impact on baseball and American culture at large. In 2021, the Cleveland team played its final season as the Indians, a name inspired by Sockalexis. But with the change to the Guardians, would he become just a quirky historical footnote, or worse yet, entirely forgotten? Our goal with the film was to preserve his legacy and connect him to the present by telling his tragic story from a new perspective.”
The documentary, which premieres at the Camden International Film Festival September 18, utilizes artful recreation and transcripts of interviews with Sockalexis to tell the story of his legacy. Advance press screeners, additional information, including film clips and director statements and bios, are available upon request. Follow 30 for 30 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About ESPN Films
ESPN Films has been an industry leader in documentary filmmaking since its inception in March 2008, producing more than 100 documentaries that have showcased some of the most compelling stories in sports. The high quality of storytelling, highlighted by the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series and the Academy-Award winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” has led to record viewership as well as multiple honors and critical acclaim. Additional projects from ESPN Films over the years have included 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX, SEC Storied and Emmy award-winning docu-series “The Last Dance.” ESPN+ is the exclusive home for the entire 30 for 30 library.