Baseball: The People's Game

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In Baseball: The People's Game, Dorothy Seymour Mills and Harold Seymour produce an authoritative, multi-volume chronicle of America's national pastime. The first two volumes of this study -The Early Years and The Golden Age -won universal acclaim. The New York Times wrote that they "will grip every American who has invested part of his youth and dreams in the sport," while The Boston Globe called them "irresistible."

Now, in The People's Game, the authors offer the first book devoted entirely to the history of the game outside of the professional leagues, revealing how, from its early beginnings up to World War II, baseball truly became the great American pastime. They explore the bond between baseball and boys through the decades, the game's place in institutions from colleges to prisons to the armed forces, the rise of women's baseball that coincided with nineteenth century feminism, and the struggles of black players and clubs from the later years of slavery up to the Second World War.

Whether discussing the birth of softball or the origins of the seventh inning stretch, the Seymours enrich their extensive research with fascinating details and entertaining anecdotes as well as a wealth of baseball experience. The People's Game brings to life the central role of baseball for generations of Americans.

Note: On August 2, 2010, Oxford University Press made public that it would credit Dorothy Seymour Mills as co-author of the three baseball histories previously "authored" solely by her late husband, Harold Seymour. The Seymours collaborated on Baseball: The Early Years (1960), Baseball: The Golden Age (1971) and Baseball: The People's Game (1991).

Harold Seymour offers the first book devoted entirely to the history of baseball outside of the professional leagues, revealing how the sport truly became the great American pastime. The People's Game, winner of the Macmillan-SABR Baseball Research Award, brings to life the central role of baseball for generations of Americans.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the third book of a projected four-volume series--which may well become the definitive history of our national pastime--Seymour ( Baseball: The Golden Age ) writes of baseball as a people's game. Himself a former Brooklyn Dodgers batboy (circa 1927), the author looks first at the game as played by children on sandlots and in schools, boys' clubs and even reform schools, concluding--unsurprisingly--that even at its most ragtag, baseball is an important part of growing up American. He claims that playing the game often spurred the assimilation of young immigrants, although its effectiveness in reforming juvenile delinquents is more debatable. Seymour also weighs baseball's role at the college level, where nonstudents have often been recruited and even professional players have been hired, as well as considering adult versions of the sport--town teams, industrial leagues, semi-pro ball and baseball in the armed forces, which has spread the game worldwide. Impressively researched and delightful to read, this third installment of his opus is enlivened by Seymour's many wry asides. Photos not seen by PW . (Apr.)
Library Journal
The poet Donald Hall once wrote that the beauty of baseball was saved ``by its peripheries''--by which he meant Little League, high school, college ball, etc. In his third volume on baseball, Seymour ( Baseball: The Early Years, LJ 11/1/60; Baseball: The Golden Age, 1971) offers a comprehensive history of the game at these levels and much more. In great detail and with exhaustive research, he pictures baseball as a house consisting of the foundation (sandlot), the basement (Native American and prison ball), the ground floor (amateur and semipro), an annex (women), and an outhouse (blacks). More than a poignant look at fields of dreams, this is a cultural history of America viewed through its national pastime. Particularly fascinating is the tension Seymour describes between the simplicity and freedom of the game itself and the structure and restraints that its organizers (on all levels) have imposed on it. A serious work, Seymour's Baseball is highly recommended for sports and popu lar culture collections.-- John R. Muether, Reformed Theological Seminary, Maitland, Fla.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195069075
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/30/1991
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold Seymour, Cornell University Ph.D., was a college history professor for more than fifteen years. He knows baseball firsthand through his experience as a batboy for the Brooklyn Dodgers, high school PSAL player, college captain, organizer and manager of amateur and semipro teams, and major-league bird dog.

Dorothy Seymour Mills is the author or co-author of 25 books, including historical novels and children's books. She is a member SABR, the North American Society for Sports History, and the Association for Women in Sports Media.

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