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Special Olympics Indiana to host inspirational evening, special screening of Erskine documentary

Carl Erskine and Johnny Wilson
Posted at 7:44 PM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 19:44:49-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Since its premiere last August, "The Best We've Got: The Carl Erskine Story" continues to send ripples of inspiration throughout central Indiana.

Erskine’s remarkable story will be showcased Thursday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse alongside a program celebrating the athletes, coaches and volunteers of Special Olympics Indiana.

All Special Olympics honorees will receive a baseball-themed keepsake honoring the 1955 World Series pitcher. Additionally, everyone in attendance will receive a commemorative poster.

“The Best We’ve Got” documents the life of 96-year-old Carl Erskine. The film goes beyond Erskine’s professional baseball career. It depicts Erskine’s childhood in a racially fraught Anderson, Indiana, and his lifelong friendship with Johnny Wilson, who was Black. It was a friendship that spanned 80 years.

Green told WRTV’s Brad Brown that he made a deal with Erskine. Green would digitize his film collection with the understanding they could be used in the documentary.

“I thought there would be like 30,” Green said. “There were 300 reels of film dating back to the 1930s.”

Among those films were reels that featured Erskine and his son Jimmy Erskine, who was born with Down syndrome.

Erskine used his fame to raise awareness for the Special Olympics and those with intellectual disabilities.

“The Best We’ve Got: The Carl Erskine Story” can be seen at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Tickets are $4.17.

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