Bat, Ball & Bible: Baseball and Sunday Observance in New York [NOOK Book]

Overview

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, moral and social forces collided in the argument over upholding New York State's blue laws, meant to restrict social activities and maintain Sunday's traditional standing as a day of religious observation. Baseball was at the center of this conflict, which led to upheaval in society at a time when New York, especially New York City, was already undergoing rapid changes.


From its inception, baseball, whether professional...

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Bat, Ball & Bible: Baseball and Sunday Observance in New York

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Overview

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, moral and social forces collided in the argument over upholding New York State's blue laws, meant to restrict social activities and maintain Sunday's traditional standing as a day of religious observation. Baseball was at the center of this conflict, which led to upheaval in society at a time when New York, especially New York City, was already undergoing rapid changes.


From its inception, baseball, whether professional or amateur, was woven into the fabric of communities across the country and thus played an important social role. The baseball and the Sunday observance question involved the clash of religious organizations, civil and lobbying groups, and local and state politics. The debate intensified as other movements, such as temperance and the crusades against boxing and gambling, were beginning to gain momentum. Deep class, racial, religious, and ethnic divisions in New York's social order contributed to the issue as well.


Bat, Ball & Bible does not solely chronicle baseball during this period; rather, it illuminates a culture war whose effects are still being felt today. Reflecting a number of contemporary religious and cultural issues, the book has appeal far beyond baseball.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Charles DeMotte’s Bat, Ball, & Bible significantly enlarges our understanding of the watershed battle between the national pastime and Sunday blue laws during the early decades of the last century. Deftly contextualizing the social and cultural divisions punctuating the debate over playing baseball on the Christian Sabbath, DeMotte brilliantly illuminates the grassroots struggle in New York State between traditional and emergent values.”—William M. Simons, professor of history, SUNY Oneonta, and director/editor, Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture

Ball, Bat & Bible illuminates a whole era. The author not only provides a fascinating glimpse into an obscure area of baseball history, but also employs it to illuminate a particular period in American history itself, linking the blue laws of the past with World War I, Prohibition, and the general desperation to force the recreation into conformity with a stern Protestant ethos. Thank God it failed.”—George Grella, professor of English and film studies, University of Rochester

Bat, Ball & Bible serves up a nuanced and expertly researched analysis of America’s pastime at the intersection of religion, politics, law, commerce, and culture during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. DeMotte adroitly situates titanic historical shifts and the play of countervailing social forces within the rich context of New York life, from the boroughs to the fields and parks of upstate communities.”—Mark Worrell, professor of sociology and anthropology, SUNY Cortland

"Bat, Ball and Bible is a richly detailed analysis of the Sunday baseball debate in New York State. Historians, baseball fans and sports fans in general will relish in DeMotte’s account of the transformation of rigid Sunday restrictions that touched the many levels of the sport. In our current world where work and play collide and box scores appear at our fingertips 24/7, DeMotte reminds us of a time when baseball had to fight its way into the shifting moral and social order of the day."—Lisa R. Neilson, professor of English, Marist College

"This book will long stand as the standard treatment of the Sunday baseball issue in New York."—Benjamin G. Rader, Journal of American History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597979481
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/31/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

CHARLES DEMOTTE teaches at SUNY Cortland. He received his PhD in history from the University of Kansas in 1977 and is the author of The Inner Side of History (Source Publications, 1997), as well as numerous articles on baseball and American culture. He lives in Freeville, New York.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 The Battle Lines: Blue Laws, Religion, and the Evolution of Baseball 1

2 The Emergence of the Sunday Baseball Issue in the Nineteenth Century 29

3 The Sunday Question: Commercialized Baseball, Evasions, and the Courts, 1900-1909 63

4 Local Opposition to Sunday Baseball and the Legislative Initiative, 1910-1916 93

5 Local Option, the War, and the Modification of the Sunday Baseball Law, 1917-1919 123

6 The Aftermath, 1920-1924 157

Epilogue 169

Appendix: New York State Ball Clubs to 1989 173

Notes 179

Index 197

About the Author 205

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    Well done and greastly informative. This book addresses some questions that are evergreen.

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