American Baseball

Overview

Organized baseball from the establishment of the National Commission in 1903 to the period of national expansion in the 1950s and 1960s—buffeted by the winds of two world wars and a Great Depression—is chronicled here in colorful detail.

The glories of the Silver Age—Ty Cobb's record-setting, Ed Walsh's pitching innovations, Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance fielding orchestration—might have been eclipsed by World War I and the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal. Instead, the Roaring Twenties ...

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Overview

Organized baseball from the establishment of the National Commission in 1903 to the period of national expansion in the 1950s and 1960s—buffeted by the winds of two world wars and a Great Depression—is chronicled here in colorful detail.

The glories of the Silver Age—Ty Cobb's record-setting, Ed Walsh's pitching innovations, Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance fielding orchestration—might have been eclipsed by World War I and the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal. Instead, the Roaring Twenties boomed for baseball as well as the stock market. Baseball stars like Babe Ruth rivaled movie stars like Valentino, and baseball managers like Barrow, McGraw, and Mack were as famous as Hollywood directors like DeMille.

Professional baseball weathered the Depression and World War II, partly thanks to the introduction of night games. Electronic communication, first radio and then television, hurt the already crippled minor leagues but helped the majors. The electronic media also magnified the impact of stardom, both in its rewards and in its psychic costs. Branch Rickey was a step ahead of the civil rights movement when he signed Jackie Robinson in 1946, starting a quick influx of black and Hispanic players.

Desegregation brought some strains, as author Voigt recounts, but fewer than did the advent of successful unionization. Growing pains resulted from rapid league expansion into the burgeoning cities of the Far West and South.

Constantly accelerating social and economic change, characteristic of the United States in the 20th century, is mirrored in the history of its National Pastime.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806109046
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1966

Meet the Author

David Quentin Voigt has written five books on baseball history, plus American’s Leisure Revolution on the sociology of leisure and sport. After earning an M.A. in American history at Columbia and a Ph.D. in social science at Syracuse, Dr. Voigt returned to his hometown of Reading, PA, as Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Albright College.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Photo Credits xii
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction: American Baseball at Mid-Century xv
I The Postwar Era
1 The Postwar Campaigns: The American League 3
2 The Postwar Campaigns: The National League 24
Pofile Jackie Robinson, Equalitarian 44
3 Born Out of Time: Players of the Postwar Era 52
4 Postwar Potpourri 79
II The Expansion Era
5 Plastic Baseball 111
Profile Walter O'Malley, Expansionist 125
6 Expansion Baseball: The National League 134
7 Expansion Baseball: The American League 171
Profile Marvin Miller, Emancipator 205
8 A New Breed of Ballplayers 217
9 Living the Dream 258
10 Fans, Owners, and Other Non-Players 282
11 New Vistas for Baseball 314
12 Or, Striking Out in the 'Eighties? 335
Notes 360
Bibliography 375
Index 393
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