A People's History of Baseball
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Illinois Press
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Many thanks to everybody at the University of Illinois Press who shepherded A People’s History of Baseball to daylight: my editor Bill Regier, senior editor Tad Ringo, and everyone else who went above and beyond to make my book the best it could be. I would also like to thank the two...
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What is baseball? At first blush this appears to be a straightforward question. And in many ways it is. Baseball is a game. Nevertheless, the question persists: what is it, really? Football is a game, but it is not baseball. Neither are basketball and hockey. Putting aside the differences among balls,...
1 A Game of Their Own
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Practically from the inception of the game, baseball and America have been, in a symbolic sense, virtually synonymous. On December 5, 1856, the New York Mercury became the first newspaper to declare the fledgling sport to be our “national pastime;”1 four years later nationally renowned lithographers...
2 The Sovereign Nation of Baseball
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Having achieved the status they so longed for, the baseball “magnates” relished every opportunity afforded them to demonstrate the superiority of their game and, as a natural extension, themselves. As they were to discover, once they finally kicked the door down and established their game...
3 Rickey, Race, and "All Deliberate Speed"
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By the middle of the twentieth century, club owners were quite comfortable with their exalted status within American society. Presiding over America’s game, they had become accustomed to being treated like royalty wherever they went: they were the well-regarded protectors of what had...
4 Tearing Down the Walls
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The civil rights movement on the left provided perhaps the most obvious, but by no means only, test of the owners’ status and independence. On the right, the owners were increasingly pressured as well, as, in the midst of the post–World War II boom, challengers from all over the political spectrum...
5 "Wait 'Til Next Year" and the Denial of History
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The collective ethos represented by groups such as the Players Association, among others, may have been gaining popular support by the mid to late 1960s but it was threatened from the outset by another American ethos, one that had more deeply entrenched roots dating back well into the...
6 The Storytellers
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The stories of baseball would, of course, not amount to much if not for the storytellers. Through them, the baseball creed, the elevated national status of baseball, the tale of Branch Rickey and the desegregation of the game, the power and benevolence of the owners, and the uniquely American...
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Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2012