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Home Run

The Definitive History of Baseball's Ultimate Weapon

Vincent, David

The home run is indeed baseball's ultimate weapon. It can change a game in a heartbeat, making a tight game into a blowout or a seemingly easy win into a nail-biter. Homers are majestic, powerful, and awe inspiring. And sluggers are the sport's biggest stars, from the days of Babe Ruth through Barry Bonds.

David Vincent, called The Sultan of Swat Stats by ESPN, delves into the long history of the home run with great detail and color. He starts when the rules of the game were highly unstable and sometimes the definition of a home run could change in a park from year to year; follows through the Deadball Era, when the home run was rare; explores the explosion Babe Ruth brought to baseball in the 1920s; discusses how both world wars affected homer statistics; looks at great home run races such as Maris versus Mantle in 1961; assesses the effects of the juiced ball, juiced players, thin air, and smaller ballparks; and so much more.

If there is something to know about home run history, look to David Vincent for the answer-Major League Baseball does. With Home Run: The Definitive History of Baseball's Ultimate Weapon, now you can know it too. A 1990s Nike commercial proclaimed that chicks dig the long ball. In this thorough and colorful look at baseball's ultimate weapon, David Vincent shows you why.

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Hounds in the Morning

Sundry Sports of Merry England

edited by Carl B. Cone

Across the rolling countryside of Regency England sound the call of the horn and the chorus of hounds, as huntsmen, hounds, and horses tear across fields and leap fencerows in ardent pursuit of Reynard.

In a field outside London, two brawny men strip to the waist and prepare to batter each other to a pulp for the pleasure of the Fancy -- the hundreds of boxing fans who have ridden from all over England to see and bet on the illegal match.

And through the streets of a country town, the lads rough-and-tumble in a wildly joyous game of football, while the populace cheers and the shopkeepers board up their windows.

Such were the sights and sounds of the sporting life of England a hundred and fifty years ago. This sparkling collection of articles from the Sporting Magazine, dating from 1792 to 1836, attests to the vigor and variety of English sports in that era. The equestrian sports of fox and stag hunting, thoroughbred racing, and coaching were largely the passion of the landed classes, while all ranks of the populace relished bloody contests that set man against man or animal against animal -- boxing, cock fighting, bull baiting, rat killing. Throughout the land, team sports such as football and cricket, along with such individual activities as pedestrianism, shooting, archery, and skating, allowed men and women of all walks of life to test their muscles, their endurance, and their nerve.

All these people and events filled the pages of the Sporting Magazine, the first periodical devoted exclusively to sports. Carl Cone provides a historical framework for these lively accounts by the first sport journalists. In addition, more than fifty engravings from the heyday of sporting art illustrate the exuberance of the time.

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Houston Cougars in the 1960s

Death Threats, the Veer Offense, and the Game of the Century

Robert D. Jacobus

On January 20, 1968, the University of Houston Cougars upset the UCLA Bruins, ending a 47-game winning streak. Billed as the “Game of the Century,” the defeat of the UCLA hoopsters was witnessed by 52,693 fans and a national television audience—the first-ever regular-season game broadcast nationally.
But the game would never have happened if Houston coach Guy Lewis had not recruited two young black men from Louisiana in 1964: Don Chaney and Elvin Hayes. Despite facing hostility both at home and on the road, Chaney and Hayes led the Cougars basketball team to 32 straight victories.
Similarly in Cougar football, coach Bill Yeoman recruited Warren McVea in 1964, and by 1967 McVea had helped the Houston gridiron program lead the nation in total offense.
Houston Cougars in the 1960s features the first-person accounts of the players, the coaches, and others involved in the integration of collegiate athletics in Houston, telling the gripping story of the visionary coaches, the courageous athletes, and the committed supporters who blazed a trail not only for athletic success but also for racial equality in 1960s Houston.

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The Ice Bucket Challenge

Pete Frates and the Fight against ALS

Casey Sherman

While everyone knows of the Ice Bucket Challenge, the viral craze that swept the nation in summer 2014, too few know the truly inspirational story behind it. Pete Frates was a man at war with his own body. A man whose love for others was unshakable. A man who refused to fight alone, and in so doing mobilized a global army to combat one of the most devastating diseases on earth: ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. When disease crippled Frates, the former Boston College baseball star turned tragedy into inspiration. Pete’s story is a testament to the power of love, the steadfastness of family, the generosity of strangers, and the compassion of crowds.

Half of the authors’ proceeds will go to the Frates family.

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If You Were Only White

The Life of Leroy "Satchel" Paige

Donald Spivey

       
               “If You Were Only White” explores the legacy of one of the most exceptional athletes ever—an entertainer extraordinaire, a daring showman and crowd-pleaser, a wizard with a baseball whose artistry and antics on the mound brought fans out in the thousands to ballparks across the country. Leroy “Satchel” Paige was arguably one of the world’s greatest pitchers and a premier star of Negro Leagues Baseball. But in this biography Donald Spivey reveals Paige to have been much more than just a blazing fastball pitcher.

 

            Spivey follows Paige from his birth in Alabama in 1906 to his death in Kansas City in 1982, detailing the challenges Paige faced battling the color line in America and recounting his tests and triumphs in baseball. He also opens up Paige’s private life during and after his playing days, introducing readers to the man who extended his social, cultural, and political reach beyond the limitations associated with his humble background and upbringing. This other Paige was a gifted public speaker, a talented musician and singer, an excellent cook, and a passionate outdoorsman, among other things.  

 

            Paige’s life intertwined with many of the most important issues of the times in U.S. and AfricanAmerican history, including the continuation of the New Negro Movement and the struggle for civil rights. Spivey incorporates interviews with former teammates conducted over twelve years, as well as exclusive interviews with Paige’s son Robert, daughter Pamela, Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, and John “Buck” O’Neil to tell the story of a pioneer who helped transform America through the nation’s favorite pastime.  

 

            Maintaining an image somewhere between Joe Louis’s public humility and the flamboyant aggression of Jack Johnson, Paige pushed the boundaries of segregation and bridged the racial divide with stellar pitching packaged with slapstick humor. He entertained as he played to win and saw no contradiction in doing so. Game after game, his performance refuted the lie that black baseball was inferior to white baseball. His was a contribution to civil rights of a different kind—his speeches and demonstrations expressed through his performance on the mound.

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In Rare Form

A Pictorial History of Baseball Evangelist Billy Sunday

From 1896 to 1935, the flamboyant and controversial Billy Sunday preached his version of the gospel to millions of people across the nation. In this nontraditional biography of the man regarded by his enthralled fans as God's unconventional messenger to a sinful world, the curator of the Billy Sunday Historic Site Museum recreates Sunday's life through a material culture lens. W. A. Firstenberger views the photographic record and the print record as well as the landscape, structure, and contents of the Sunday home in Winona Lake, Indiana, to give us an intimate view of Sunday and his family. Through an organizational scheme that incorporates memorabilia from childhood (samplers, Civil War badges), baseball (Billy's 1891 Philadelphia contract, scorecards), evangelism (cartoons, books such as Monkeys and Missing Links), social issues (KKK ads endorsing Sunday, his Women's Christian Temperance life membership certificate), life style (Arts and Crafts decorative pieces, extensive photos of the family's Mount Hood bungalow), and family relations (his personal possessions and those of his wife, Nell, and their children), In Rare Form brings together the inconsistencies between Sunday's material world and his spiritual world. Since Sunday might have objected to a materialistic analysis of his life, Firstenberger has allowed him a say: each section of the book begins with an apt quote from Sunday's sermons and writings. Firstenberger also includes appendixes providing detailed information on Sunday's revivals and speaking appearances, his 870,075 documented converts, the members of his evangelistic team, the overall structure of his family, and an extensive bibliography. Acknowledging Sunday's faults and contradictions alongside his heroic accomplishments, the author presents a wryly insightful and innovative perspective on this larger-than-life figure.

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Integrated

The Lincoln Institute, Basketball, and a Vanished Tradition

James W. Miller

In Integrated, James W. Miller explores an often ignored aspect of America's struggle for racial equality. He relates the story of the Lincoln Institute -- an all-black high school in Shelby County, Kentucky, where students prospered both in the classroom and on the court. In 1960, the Lincoln Tigers men's basketball team defeated three all-white schools to win the regional tournament and advance to one of Kentucky's most popular events, the state high school basketball tournament. This proud tradition of African American schools -- a celebration of their athletic achievements -- was ironically destroyed by integration.

This evocative book is enriched by tales of individual courage from men who defied comfort and custom. Miller describes how one coach at a white high school convinced his administrators and fans that playing the black schools was not only the right thing to do, but that it was also necessary. He discusses John Norman "Slam Bam" Cunningham, the former Lincoln Institute standout who became an Armed Forces All-Star and later impressed University of Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp on the Wildcats' home floor. Miller also tells the story of a young tennis prodigy whose dreams were denied because he could not play at the white country club, but who became the first African American to start for an integrated Kentucky high school basketball championship team.

Featuring accounts from former Lincoln Institute players, students, and teachers, Integrated not only documents the story of a fractured sports tradition but also addresses the far-reaching impact of the civil rights movement in the South.

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Integrating the Gridiron

Black Civil Rights and American College Football

Lane Demas

Integrating the Gridiron, devoted to exploring the racial politics of college athletics, examines the history of African Americans on predominantly white college football teams from the nineteenth century through today. Lane Demas compares the acceptance and treatment of black student athletes by presenting compelling case studies of those who integrated teams nationwide, and illuminates race relations in a number of regions, including the South, Midwest, West Coast, and Northeast.

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Invisible Seasons

Title IX and the Fight for Equity in College Sports

Kelly Belanger

In 1979, a group of women athletes at Michigan State University, their civil rights attorney, the institution’s Title IX coordinator, and a close circle of college students used the law to confront a powerful institution—their own university. By the mid-1970s, opposition from the NCAA had made intercollegiate athletics the most controversial part of Title IX, the 1972 federal law prohibiting discrimi nation in all federally funded education programs and activities. At the same time, some of the most motivated, highly skilled women athletes in colleges and universities could no longer tolerate the long-standing differences between men’s and women‘s separate but obviously unequal sports programs.

In Invisible Seasons, Belanger recalls the remarkable story of how the MSU women athletes helped change the landscape of higher education athletics. They learned the hard way that even groundbreaking civil rights laws are not self-executing. This behind-the-scenes look at a university sports program challenges us all to think about what it really means to put equality into practice, especially in the money-driven world of college sports.

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The Irish Soccer Split

by Cormac Moore

The Irish Football Association (IFA) was founded in Belfast in 1880. It was the governing body for soccer for the whole of the island of Ireland. Soccer in Ireland was united for over forty years. It was, though, an uneasy alliance. Many in the south believed the governing body was heavily biased towards Ulster. Most internationals were played in Belfast, most players selected were from the North-East. With the country moving politically towards partition, soccer in Ireland was arguably affected more by the political environment than any other sport. As tensions rose between unionist and nationalist communities, soccer, with strong support bases in both communities, became embroiled in the conflict, playing host to many ugly sectarian incidents.Divisions in the sport reached a climax after the First World War, culminating in the split of 1921 when Leinster seceded from the IFA and formed the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).Making use of extensive primary sources from the IFA, FAI, the English FA and the Leinster Football Association as well as contemporary newspaper sources, The Irish Soccer Split details the events and causes that led to the split in soccer in Ireland. It compares soccer to other sports that remained or became united after partition. The Irish Soccer Split recounts the early years of the FAI and its attempts to gain international recognition. Many efforts were made to heal the division throughout the 1920s and the early 1930s. Efforts were renewed during the Troubles in the 1970s and 1980s to bring about an all-Ireland international team. Some came very close, all ultimately failed, leaving soccer in Ireland today, as it is politically, divided North and South.

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