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Baseball on Trial

The Origin of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption

Nathaniel Grow

The controversial 1922 Federal Baseball Supreme Court ruling held that the "business of base ball" was not subject to the Sherman Antitrust Act because it did not constitute interstate commerce. In Baseball on Trial, legal scholar Nathaniel Grow defies conventional wisdom to explain why the unanimous Supreme Court opinion authored by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, which gave rise to Major League Baseball's exemption from antitrust law, was correct given the circumstances of the time.Currently a billion dollar enterprise, professional baseball teams crisscross the country while the games are broadcast via radio, television, and internet coast to coast. The sheer scope of this activity would seem to embody the phrase "interstate commerce." Yet baseball is the only professional sport--indeed the sole industry--in the United States that currently benefits from a judicially constructed antitrust immunity. How could this be?Drawing upon recently released documents from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Grow analyzes how the Supreme Court reached this seemingly peculiar result by tracing the Federal Baseball litigation from its roots in 1914 to its resolution in 1922, in the process uncovering significant new details about the proceedings. Grow observes that while interstate commerce was measured at the time by the exchange of tangible goods, baseball teams in the 1910s merely provided live entertainment to their fans, while radio was a fledgling technology that had little impact on the sport. The book ultimately concludes that, despite the frequent criticism of the opinion, the Supreme Court's decision was consistent with the conditions and legal climate of the early twentieth century.

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Baseball's Greatest Season, 1924

Reed Browning

With the possible exception of 2004 no season in the history of baseball has matched 1924 for escalating excitement and emotional investment by fans. It began with observers expecting yet another World Series between the Yankees and the Giants. It ended months later when the Washington Nationals (Senators), making their first Series appearance, grabbed the world championship by scoring the season-ending run on an improbable play in the bottom of the twelfth inning of the seventh game. On the eve of the return of major league baseball to Washington, D.C., Baseball's Greatest Season recovers the memory of the one and only time when the championship of the national pastime resided in the nation's capital.

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Baseball's Greatest Series

Yankees, Mariners, and the 1995 Matchup That Changed History

Chris Donnelly

Baseball's Greatest Series details what many believe to be the most exciting postseason series in baseball history: the 1995 Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners.

This division series was not simply about two teams playing five postseason games. It was about Ken Griffey Jr., Lou Piniella, Buck Showalter, Gene Michael, Jim Leyritz, Randy Johnson, Wade Boggs, Tony Fernandez, Pat Kelly, Dion James, Darryl Strawberryùand many others who changed the course of baseball history . . .
A team playing to keep baseball alive in the Pacific Northwest
A manager who was literally managing for his job
A New York sports icon who for one week reminded everybody of the dominating player he had been a decade earlier

Chris Donnelly's replay of this entire season reminds readers that it was a time when grown men cried their eyes out after defeat, and others, just a few hundred feet away, poured beer and champagne over one another while 57,000 people in Seattle's Kingdome celebrated. Five games they were. Five games that reminded people, after the devastating players' strike in 1994, how great a game baseball is because comebacks are always possible, no matter how great the obstacles may seem.

From Don Mattingly's only postseason home run, which caused a near riot, to Edgar Martinez's legendary eleventh inning series-clinching double, Donnelly chronicles the earlier struggles of both teams during the 1980s, their mid-1990s resurgence, all five heart-stopping games of the series, and the dramatic and long-lasting effects of Seattle's victory. Simply stated, Baseball's Greatest Series hits a home run.

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Baseball's Pivotal Era, 1945-1951

William Marshall

With personal interviews of players and owners and with over two decades of research in newspapers and archives, Bill Marshall tells of the players, the pennant races, and the officials who shaped one of the most memorable eras in sports and American history.

At the end of World War II, soldiers returning from overseas hungered to resume their love affair with baseball. Spectators still identified with players, whose salaries and off-season employment as postmen, plumbers, farmers, and insurance salesmen resembled their own. It was a time when kids played baseball on sandlots and in pastures, fans followed the game on the radio, and tickets were affordable. The outstanding play of Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Bob Feller, Don Newcombe, Warren Spahn, and many others dominated the field. But perhaps no performance was more important than that of Jackie Robinson, whose entrance into the game broke the color barrier, won him the respect of millions of Americans, and helped set the stage for the civil rights movement.

Baseball's Pivotal Era, 1945-1951 also records the attempt to organize the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Mexican League's success in luring players south of the border that led to a series of lawsuits that almost undermined baseball's reserve clause and antitrust exemption. The result was spring training pay, uniform contracts, minimum salary levels, player representation, and a pension plan--the very issues that would divide players and owners almost fifty years later.

During these years, the game was led by A.B. "Happy" Chandler, a hand-shaking, speech-making, singing Kentucky politician. Most owners thought he would be easily manipulated, unlike baseball's first commissioner, the autocratic Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis. Instead, Chandler's style led one owner to complain that he was the "player's commissioner, the fan's commissioner, the press and radio commissioner, everybody's commissioner but the men who pay him."

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Baseball's Power Shift

How the Players Union, the Fans, and the Media Changed American Sports Culture

Jon Krister Swanson

From Major League Baseball’s inception in the 1880s through World War II, team owners enjoyed monopolistic control of the industry. Despite the players’ desire to form a viable union, every attempt to do so failed. The labor consciousness of baseball players lagged behind that of workers in other industries, and the public was largely in the dark about labor practices in baseball. In the mid-1960s, star players Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale staged a joint holdout for multiyear contracts and much higher salaries. Their holdout quickly drew support from the public; for the first time, owners realized they could ill afford to alienate fans, their primary source of revenue.
 
Baseball’s Power Shift chronicles the growth and development of the union movement in Major League Baseball and the key role of the press and public opinion in the players’ successes and failures in labor-management relations. Swanson focuses on the most turbulent years, 1966 to 1981, which saw the birth of the Major League Baseball Players Association as well as three strikes, two lockouts, Curt Flood’s challenge to the reserve clause in the Supreme Court, and the emergence of full free agency. To defeat the owners, the players’ union needed support from the press, and perhaps more importantly, the public. With the public on their side, the players ushered in a new era in professional sports when salaries skyrocketed and fans began to care as much about the business dealings of their favorite team as they do about wins and losses.
 
Swanson shows how fans and the media became key players in baseball's labor wars and paved the way for the explosive growth in the American sports economy.
 


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Becoming Iron Men

The Stories of the 1963 Loyola Ramblers

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Before Big Blue

Sports at the University of Kentucky, 1880-1940

Gregory Kent Stanley

In the heart of the Bluegrass, basketball is king of collegiate athletics. But it wasn't always so. Before Big Blue chronicles the early history of organized sports at the University of Kentucky, from the tenuous beginnings under student leadership, through the early scandals, financial instability, and clashes with administration, to the Purge of 1938 that paved the way for basketball's ascendancy.

Once upon a time in Lexington, football ruled the athletic department. In the 1890s and 1900s the most intense competition was with crosstown rival Transylvania University. The annual Thanksgiving Day game was the biggest event of the season, and its gate receipts essentially funded the entire department. Among other highlights, Gregory Kent Stanley reveals the story behind the Wildcats' nickname, reports on the "greased pants game" against Mississippi State in 1914, and divulges the origins of the post-victory nightshirt parades through downtown.

When basketball finally arrived on campus, it was the women's team that was organized first. Its transfer out of the women's physical education department in 1903 led to a twenty-year turf war that was one of the period's most intense. Whether played by men or by women, however, basketball during the early years of the century was of minor consequence. The men's team played in a gym without facilities for spectators, most players were from the football team, and all the early coaches -- including Adolph Rupp -- assisted with the football program. Nevertheless, the early years showed signs of the success to come: the 9-0 team of 1912, which never trailed an opponent; the 1921 squad, losers of only one game and winners of the school's first tournament; and Rupp's winning percentage of.820 during the 1930s that saved his job during President McVey's massive reorganization of the athletic department.

Before Big Blue tells a story both unique and universal. As the first comprehensive history of the rise of intercollegiate athletics at UK, it makes a valuable contribution to the growing literature of sports history.

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Before the Curse

The Chicago Cubs' Glory Years, 1870-1945

Before the Curse: The Chicago Cubs' Glory Years, 1870-1945 brings to life the early history of this much beloved and often heartbreaking baseball club. Originally called the Chicago White Stockings, the team immediately established itself as a powerhouse, winning the newly formed National League's inaugural pennant in 1876, repeating the feat in 1880 and 1881, and commanding the league in the decades to come. The legendary days of the Cubs are recaptured here in more than two dozen vintage newspaper accounts and historical essays on the teams and the fans who loved them. The great games, pennant races, and series are all here, including the 1906 World Series between the Cubs and Chicago White Sox. Of course, Before the Curse remembers the Hall of Fame players--Grover Cleveland Alexander, Gabby Hartnett, Rogers Hornsby, Hack Wilson--who delighted Cubs fans with their play on the field and their antics elsewhere._x000B__x000B_Through engaging introductions to each article, Randy Roberts and Carson Cunningham demonstrate how changes in ownership affected the success of the team, who the teams' major players were both on and off the field, and how regular fans, owners, players, journalists, and Chicagoans of the past talked and wrote about baseball.

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Before the Ivy

The Cubs' Golden Age in Pre-Wrigley Chicago

Laurent Pernot

All Cub fans know from heartbreak and curse-toting goats. Fewer know that, prior to moving to the north side in 1916, the team fielded powerhouse nines that regularly claimed the pennant. Before the Ivy offers a grandstand seat to a golden age: - BEHOLD the 1871 team as it plays for the title in nine different borrowed uniforms after losing everything in the Great Chicago Fire - ATTEND West Side Grounds at Polk and Wolcott with its barbershop quartet - MARVEL as superstar Cap Anson hits .399, makes extra cash running a ballpark ice rink, and strikes out as an elected official - WONDER at experiments with square bats and corked balls, the scandal of Sunday games and pre-game booze-ups, the brazen spitters and park dimensions changed to foil Ty Cobb - RAZZ Charles Comiskey as he adopts a Cubs hand-me-down moniker for his team's name - THRILL to the poetic double-play combo of Tinker, Evers, and Chance even as they throw tantrums at umpires and punches at each other - CHEER as Merkle's Boner and the Cubs' ensuing theatrics send the team to the 1908 World Series Rich with Hall of Fame personalities and oddball stories, Before the Ivy opens a door to Chicago's own field of dreams and serves as every Cub fan's guide to a time when thoughts of "next year" filled rival teams with dread.

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Beyond Home Plate

Jackie Robinson on Life After Baseball

by Michael Long

When he first took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Jackie Robinson broke a color barrier that reached back sixty years to the very origins of American baseball. He would go on to play in six World Series and help the Dodgers win the 1955 World Championship. But Robinson was much more than just a baseball player. This book collects columns which Robinson wrote primarily for the New York Post and the New York Amsterdam News, as well as including excerpts of letters between Robinson and politicians such as Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy. These writings portray Robinson as a deeply passionate, intelligent, and eloquent man with strongly-held convictions about the Civil Rights Movement and the political decisions which shaped America in the 1960s and ‘70s. He was also a devoted husband and father conflicted by his ability to provide the best for his children and his desire to keep them grounded in the struggles facing all African Americans at the time. Each column is preceded by a brief contextualizing introduction by Long, and Robinson’s columns are broken into three themes: “On Baseball and Golf,” “On Family and Friends,” and “On Civil Rights.” The brevity of the columns and Robinson’s vivid imagery and compelling voice make this an absorbing and often very moving read.

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