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Johnny Salo and the Great Footrace Across America
On March 31, 1929, seventy-seven men began an epic 3,554-mile footrace across America that pushed their bodies to the breaking point. Nicknamed the “Bunion Derby” by the press, this was the second and last of two trans-America footraces held in the late 1920s. The men averaged forty-six gut-busting miles a day during seventy-eight days of nonstop racing that took them from New York City to Los Angeles. Among this group, two brilliant runners, Johnny Salo of Passaic, New Jersey, and Pete Gavuzzi of England, emerged to battle for the $25,000 first prize along the mostly unpaved roads of 1929 America, with each man pushing the other to go faster as the lead switched back and forth between them. To pay the prize money, race director Charley Pyle cobbled together a traveling vaudeville company, complete with dancing debutantes, an all-girl band wearing pilot outfits, and blackface comedians, all housed under the massive show tent that Pyle hoped would pack in audiences. Kastner’s engrossing account, often told from the perspective of the participants, evokes the remarkable physical challenge the runners experienced and clearly bolsters the argument that the last Bunion Derby was the greatest long-distance footrace of all time.
The 1972 Munich Olympics—remembered almost exclusively for the devastating terrorist attack on the Israeli team—were intended to showcase the New Germany and replace lingering memories of the Third Reich. That hope was all but obliterated in the early hours of September 5, when gun-wielding Palestinians murdered 11 members of the Israeli team. In the first cultural and political history of the Munich Olympics, Kay Schiller and Christopher Young set these Games into both the context of 1972 and the history of the modern Olympiad. Delving into newly available documents, Schiller and Young chronicle the impact of the Munich Games on West German society.
The Story of the Rivalries, Traditions, and Scandals of the First Two Decades of the Atlantic Coast Conference
Walker focuses on the evolution of basketball programs in the ACC in its first 20 years. The continuing theme of the work is how schools tried to maintain a proper balance between academic and athletic achievements. Walker explores how conference administrators, university presidents, chancellors, faculty, coaches, and athletic directors influenced and shaped the athletic program while facing issues such as creation of standards for recruiting players and how best to offer athletes a legitimate chance of earning a degree. The book covers the ACC from its formation in 1953 to the 1972, when the U. of South Carolina left the conference in a dispute over minimum SAT scores for incoming athletes. Walker uses ACC basketball as a way to look inside our culture, situating it in postwar South during a time of racial stress, economic growth, and social change. He shows how basketball and the ACC were deeply influenced by civil rights and the struggle for racial justice. Throughout, he also chronicles on-the-court action, telling stories that recreate for the reader the brilliance and foibles of the coaches, the artistry of the players, the unforgettable games, the tense rivalries, the intense, sometimes wacky, fans, and traditions both new and old that have defined ACC basketball over the years.
The Story of “The Horse”
The Life behind the Baseball Legend
This engaging study examines sports as both a symbol of American culture and a formative force that shapes American values. Leverett T. Smith Jr. uses "high" culture, in the form of literature and criticism, to analyze the popular culture of baseball and professional football. He explores the history of baseball through three important events: the fixing of the 1919 World Series, the appointment of Judge Landis as commissioner of baseball with dictatorial powers, and the emergence of Babe Ruth as the "new" kind of ball player. He also looks at literary works dealing with leisure and sports, including those of Thoreau, Twain, Frost, Lardner, and Hemingway. Finally he documents the emergence of professional football as the national game through the history and writings of former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, who emerges as both a critic of the business-oriented society and a canny businessman and manager of men himself.
First paperback edition
Sport and Society in the Age of Negro League Baseball
One of the best-known teams in the old Negro Leagues, the Elite Giants of Baltimore featured some of the outstanding African American players of the day. Sociologist and baseball writer Bob Luke narrates the untold story of the team and its interaction with the city and its people during the long years of segregation. To convey a sense of the action on the field and the major events in the team’s history, Luke highlights important games, relives the standout performances of individual players, and discusses key decisions made by management. He introduces the team’s eventual major league stars: Roy Campanella, who went on to a ten-year Hall of Fame career with the Brooklyn Dodgers; Joe Black, the first African American pitcher to win a World Series game; and James “Junior” Gilliam, a player and coach with the Dodgers for twenty-five years. Luke also describes the often contentious relationship between the team and major league baseball before, during, and after the major leagues were integrated. The Elite Giants did more than provide entertainment for Baltimore’s black residents; the team and its star players broke the color barrier in the major leagues, giving hope to an African American community still oppressed by Jim Crow. In recounting the history of the Elite Giants, Luke reveals how the team, its personalities, and its fans raised public awareness of the larger issues faced by blacks in segregation-era Baltimore. Based on interviews with former players and Baltimore residents, articles from the black press of the time, and archival documents, and illustrated with previously unpublished photographs, The Baltimore Elite Giants recounts a barrier-breaking team’s successes, failures, and eventual demise.
Syd Pollock and His Great Black Teams
Presenting views from a variety of sport and history experts, Baseball in America and America in Baseball captures the breadth and unsuspected variety of our national fascination and identification with America’s Game. Chapters cover such well-known figures as Ty Cobb and lesser-known topics like the “invisible” baseball played by Japanese Americans during the 1930s and 1940s. A study of baseball in rural California from the Gold Rush to the turn of the twentieth century provides an interesting glimpse at how the game evolved from its earliest beginnings to something most modern observers would find familiar. Chapters on the Negro League’s Baltimore Black Sox, financial profits of major league teams from 1900 to 1956, and American aspirations to a baseball-led cultural hegemony during the first half of the twentieth century round out this superb collection of sport history scholarship. Baseball in America and America in Baseball belongs on the bookshelf of any avid student of the game and its history. It also provides interesting glimpses into the sociology of sport in America.
The National Pastime during the Civil War
During the Civil War, Americans from homefront to battlefront played baseball as never before. While soldiers slaughtered each other over the country's fate, players and fans struggled over the form of the national pastime. George Kirsch gives us a color commentary of the growth and transformation of baseball during the Civil War. He shows that the game was a vital part of the lives of many a soldier and civilian--and that baseball's popularity had everything to do with surging American nationalism.
By 1860, baseball was poised to emerge as the American sport. Clubs in northeastern and a few southern cities played various forms of the game. Newspapers published statistics, and governing bodies set rules. But the Civil War years proved crucial in securing the game's place in the American heart. Soldiers with bats in their rucksacks spread baseball to training camps, war prisons, and even front lines. As nationalist fervor heightened, baseball became patriotic. Fans honored it with the title of national pastime. War metaphors were commonplace in sports reporting, and charity games were scheduled. Decades later, Union general Abner Doubleday would be credited (wrongly) with baseball's invention. The Civil War period also saw key developments in the sport itself, including the spread of the New York-style of play, the advent of revised pitching rules, and the growth of commercialism.
Kirsch recounts vivid stories of great players and describes soldiers playing ball to relieve boredom. He introduces entrepreneurs who preached the gospel of baseball, boosted female attendance, and found new ways to make money. We witness bitterly contested championships that enthralled whole cities. We watch African Americans embracing baseball despite official exclusion. And we see legends spring from the pens of early sportswriters.
Rich with anecdotes and surprising facts, this narrative of baseball's coming-of-age reveals the remarkable extent to which America's national pastime is bound up with the country's defining event.