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Stealing Lives Cover

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Stealing Lives

The Globalization of Baseball and the Tragic Story of Alexis Quiroz

Arturo J. Marcano Guevara and David P. Fidler

While some Latin American superstars have overcome discrimination to strike gold in baseball's big leagues, thousands more Latin American players never make it to "The Show." Stealing Lives focuses on the plight of one Venezuelan teenager and documents abuses that take place against Latin children and young men as baseball becomes a global business. The authors reveal that in their efforts to secure cheap labor, Major League teams often violate the basic human rights of children.

As a young boy growing up in Venezuela, Alexis Quiroz dreamed of playing in the Major Leagues. Alexis's dreams were like those of thousands of other boys in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, and Major League teams encouraged such dreams by recruiting Latin children as young as 10 and 11 years old. Determined to become a big league player, Alexis finished high school early and dedicated himself to landing a contract with a Major League team. Alexis signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1995 at age 17 and then began a harrowing ordeal of exploitation, mistreatment, and disrespect at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, including playing for the Cubs' Dominican Summer League team in appalling living conditions. Alexis's baseball career came to an abrupt end by an injury for which the Cubs provided no adequate medical treatment. The story continues, however, with Alexis's pursuit of justice in the United States to ensure that other Venezuelan and Dominican boys do not encounter similar experiences.

What happened to Alexis is not an isolated case-Major League teams routinely deny Latin children and young men the basic protections that their U.S. counterparts take for granted. This exploitation violates international legal standards on labor standards and the human rights of children. Stealing Lives concludes by analyzing various reforms to redress the inequities big league baseball creates in its globalization.

A Summer Up North Cover

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A Summer Up North

Henry Aaron and the Legend of Eau Claire Baseball

Jerry Poling

June 12, 1952—only a local sportswriter showed up at the Eau Claire airport to greet a newly signed eighteen-year-old shortstop from Alabama toting a cardboard suitcase. "I was scared as hell," said Henry Aaron, recalling his arrival as the new recruit on the city’s Class C minor league baseball team.
Forty-two years later, as Aaron approached the stadium where the Eau Claire Bears once played, an estimated five thousand people surrounded a newly raised bronze statue of a young "Hank" Aaron at bat. "I had goosebumps," he said later. "A lot of things happened to me in my twenty-three years as a ballplayer, but nothing touched me more than that day in Eau Claire." For the people of Eau Claire, Aaron’s summer two years before his Major League debut with the Milwaukee Braves symbolizes a magical time, when baseball fans in a small city in northern Wisconsin could live a part of the dream.

Tarnished Rings Cover

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Tarnished Rings

The International Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake City Bid Scandal

Stephen Wenn is professor of kinesiology and physical education at Wilfrid Laurier University. Robert Barney is Professor Emeritus in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario. Scott Martyn is associate professor of human kinetics at

Based on extensive research and unparalleled access to primary source material, Tarnished Rings offers an in-depth look at the Salt Lake City Olympic bidding scandal and at the presidency of Juan Antionio Samaranch.

Terrier Town Cover

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Terrier Town

Summer of ’49

Debate still rages on about who invented baseball. But one thing is certain...it was alive and fractious in southwestern Ontario in the summer of 1949.

It was a remarkable summer. For Charlie Hodge, just finishing his last year of high school, the summer of 1949 begins with great fanfare and excitement. He has made the Galt Terriers’ roster and will be riding the bench with a star-studded team, many of whom had played with the major leagues. When those seasoned pros arrive in town, big things are expected, and they don’t disappoint. There is the towering home run that Goody Rosen hits into the Grand River; the frozen baseball scheme that backfires; and the busload of promotional cooking oil hijacked just before game time. It all comes down to Game 7 in the Terriers’ semi-final series with the Brantford Red Sox, when a convicted gambler, playing centre field that night, makes one of the most controversial plays ever seen at Dickson Park.

Based on exhaustive research and extensive interviews, David Menary recreates that post-war season in Terrier Town through the eyes of Charlie Hodge. While Charlie is a fictional character, the other players are not. This is a story that will resonate with young and old alike, baseball fans or not. This is a team that became a vital part of the town, and the town an elemental part of the team. This is a time rapidly fading from memory — a summer of myths and legends. This is a story of how life could be in the small southwestern town of Galt. And all this is our heritage.

There You Have It Cover

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There You Have It

The Life, Legacy, and Legend of Howard Cosell

John Bloom

This is the first full-length biography of the lawyer-turned-sports journalist whose brash style and penchant for social commentary changed the way American sporting events are reported. Perhaps best known for his close relationship with the world champion boxer Muhammad Ali, Howard Cosell became a celebrity in his own right during the 1960s and 1970s-the bombastic, controversial, instantly recognizable sportscaster everyone "loved to hate." Raised in Brooklyn in a middle-class Jewish family, Cosell carried with him a deeply ingrained sense of social justice. Yet early on he abandoned plans for a legal career to become a pioneer in sports broadcasting, first in radio and then in television. The first white TV reporter to address the former Cassius Clay by his chosen Muslim name, Cosell was also the first sportscaster to conduct locker room interviews with professional athletes, using a tape recorder purchased with his own money. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, he not only defended the fisted "Black Power" salutes of American track medalists John Carlos and Tommie Smith, but he publicly excoriated Olympic Committee chairman Avery Brundage for "hypocritical," racist policies. He was also instrumental in launching ABC's Monday Night Football, a prime-time sports program that evolved into an American cultural institution. Yet while Cosell took courageous stands on behalf of civil rights and other causes, he could be remarkably blind to the inconsistencies in his own life. In this way, John Bloom argues, he embodied contradictions that still resonate widely in American society today.

Transpacific Field of Dreams Cover

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Transpacific Field of Dreams

Baseball in U.S.-Japanese Relations, 1872-1952

Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu

This is the first in-depth scholarly treatment of the long-term development of U.S.-Japan baseball connections. Guthrie-Shimuzu studies the almost contemporaneous diffusion and popularization of baseball in the U.S., Hawaii, Japan, and east Asia under Japanese colonial rule. After the “opening” of Japan by Commodore Perry, the Meiji emperor began to engage the trans-Pacific world at roughly the same time as the United States and with energies and ambitions emblematic of rapidly industrializing and self reinventing societies. In its drive to modernize, the state recruited over 3000 foreign employees to assist the government in adopting western science and technology and building institutions to handle the demands of a complex modern society. Baseball was introduced to Japan by these “foreign employees,” and Japanese sent for study in the U.S. also picked up the game and were avid players upon their return home. Visiting warships fielded teams that played against local clubs and American teams—even Japanese American teams and Negro League teams, excluded from the major leagues—arranged tours to the island. By the 1930s,professional baseball was organized in Japan and even played throughout World War II.

Venezuelan Bust, Baseball Boom Cover

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Venezuelan Bust, Baseball Boom

Andres Reiner and Scouting on the New Frontier

Milton H. Jamail

Though Venezuela is sandwiched between two soccer-mad countries—Brazil and Colombia—baseball is its national pastime and passion. Yet until the late 1980s few professional teams actively scouted and developed players there. This book is about the man who changed all that and brought Venezuela into Major League Baseball in a major way.
 
While other teams were looking to the Dominican Republic for new talent, Houston Astros' scout Andrés Reiner saw an untapped niche in Venezuela. Venezuelan Bust, Baseball Boom recounts how, over the next fifteen years, Reiner signed nearly one hundred players, nineteen of whom reached the majors. The stories of these players—among them Bobby Abreu, Johán Santana, Melvin Mora, Carlos Guillén, and Freddy García—are interwoven with Reiner’s own, together creating a fascinating portrait of a curious character in the annals of sports and a richly textured picture of the opening of Venezuela as baseball’s new frontier. Countless interviews broaden and deepen the story’s insights into how the scouting system works, how Reiner worked within it, and how his efforts have affected the sport of baseball in Venezuela and the significance of Venezuela in the world of Major League Baseball.

The View from the Dugout Cover

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The View from the Dugout

The Journals of Red Rolfe

Edited by William M. Anderson

Somewhere, if they haven't been destroyed, there are hundreds of pages of typewritten notes about American League players of that era, notes which I would love to get my hands on. -Bill James, in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, on the journals of Red Rolfe "Red Rolfe's journal for his years as manager of the Detroit Tigers is the kind of precious source researchers yearn for. In combination with William M. Anderson's well-done text, The View from the Dugout will be of great interest to general readers and of immense value to students of baseball history." -Charles C. Alexander, author of Breaking the Slump: Baseball in the Depression Era "Red Rolfe was one of baseball's most astute observers. This is 'inside' baseball from the inside." -Donald Honig, author of Baseball America, Baseball When the Grass Was Real, and other books in the Donald Honig Best Players of All Time series "In his lucid journals Red Rolfe has provided an inside look at how an intelligent baseball manager thinks and prepares." -Ray Robinson, Yankee historian and author of Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig in His Time Baseball players as a rule aren't known for documenting their experiences on the diamond. Red Rolfe, however, during his time as manager of the Detroit Tigers from 1949 to 1952, recorded daily accounts of each game, including candid observations about his team's performance. He used these observations to coach his players and to gain an advantage by recording strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies of opposing players and managers. Rolfe's journals carry added value considering his own career as an All-Star Yankee third baseman on numerous world champion teams, where he was a teammate of Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. Today, in the era of televised broadcasts, networks often wire a manager so that viewers can listen to his spontaneous comments throughout the game. Red Rolfe's journals offer an opportunity to find out what a manager is thinking when no one is around to hear. William M. Anderson is Director of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries for the State of Michigan. His books include The Detroit Tigers: A Pictorial Celebration of the Greatest Players and Moments in Tigers' History.

Voice of the Wildcats Cover

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Voice of the Wildcats

Claude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting

Alan Sullivan with Joe Cox. foreword by Tom Leach

As one of the first voices of the University of Kentucky men's basketball program, Claude Sullivan (1924--1967) became a nationally known sportscasting pioneer. His career followed Kentucky's rise to prominence as he announced the first four NCAA championship titles under Coach Adolph Rupp and covered scrimmages during the canceled 1952--1953 season following the NCAA sanctions scandal. Sullivan also revolutionized the coverage of the UK football program with the introduction of a coach's show with Bear Bryant -- a national first that gained significant attention and later became a staple at other institutions. Sullivan's reputation in Kentucky eventually propelled him to Cincinnati, where he became the voice of the Reds, and even to the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome.

In Voice of the Wildcats: Claude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting, Claude's son Alan, along with Joe Cox, offers an engaging and heartfelt look at the sportscaster's life and the context in which he built his career. The 1940s witnessed a tremendous growth in sportscasting across the country, and Sullivan, a seventeen year old from Winchester, Kentucky, entered the field when it was still a novel occupation that was paving new roads for broadcast reporting. During the height of his career, Sullivan was named Kentucky's Outstanding Broadcaster by the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters for eight consecutive years. His success was tragically cut short when he passed away from throat cancer at forty-two

Featuring dozens of interviews and correspondence with sports legends, including Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones, Babe Parilli, Cliff Hagan, Ralph Hacker, Jim Host, Billy Reed, Adolph Rupp, and Cawood Ledford, this engaging biography showcases the life and work of a beloved broadcast talent and documents the rise of sports radio during the twentieth century.

When Baseball Went White Cover

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When Baseball Went White

Reconstruction, Reconciliation, and Dreams of a National Pastime

Ryan A. Swanson

The story of Jackie Robinson valiantly breaking baseball’s color barrier in 1947 is one that most Americans know. But less recognized is the fact that some seventy years earlier, following the Civil War, baseball was tenuously biracial and had the potential for a truly open game. How, then, did the game become so firmly segregated that it required a trailblazer like Robinson? The answer, Ryan A. Swanson suggests, has everything to do with the politics of “reconciliation” and a wish to avoid the issues of race that an integrated game necessarily raised.
 
The history of baseball during Reconstruction, as Swanson tells it, is a story of lost opportunities. Thomas Fitzgerald and Octavius Catto (a Philadelphia baseball tandem), for example, were poised to emerge as pioneers of integration in the 1860s. Instead, the desire to create a “national game”—professional and appealing to white Northerners and Southerners alike—trumped any movement toward civil rights. Focusing on Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Richmond—three cities with large African American populations and thriving baseball clubs—Swanson uncovers the origins of baseball’s segregation and the mechanics of its implementation. An important piece of sports history, his work also offers a better understanding of Reconstruction, race, and segregation in America.    
 


 

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