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At a time when many baseball fans wish for the game to return to a purer past, G. Edward White shows how seemingly irrational business decisions, inspired in part by the self-interest of the owners but also by their nostalgia for the game, transformed baseball into the national pastime. Not simply a professional sport, baseball has been treated as a focus of childhood rituals and an emblem of American individuality and fair play throughout much of the twentieth century. It started out, however, as a marginal urban sport associated with drinking and gambling. White describes its progression to an almost mythic status as an idyllic game, popular among people of all ages and classes. He then recounts the owner's efforts, often supported by the legal system, to preserve this image.
Baseball grew up in the midst of urban industrialization during the Progressive Era, and the emerging steel and concrete baseball parks encapsulated feelings of neighborliness and associations with the rural leisure of bygone times. According to White, these nostalgic themes, together with personal financial concerns, guided owners toward practices that in retrospect appear unfair to players and detrimental to the progress of the game. Reserve clauses, blacklisting, and limiting franchise territories, for example, were meant to keep a consistent roster of players on a team, build fan loyalty, and maintain the game's local flavor. These practices also violated anti-trust laws and significantly restricted the economic power of the players. Owners vigorously fought against innovations, ranging from the night games and radio broadcasts to the inclusion of African-American players. Nonetheless, the image of baseball as a spirited civic endeavor persisted, even in the face of outright corruption, as witnessed in the courts' leniency toward the participants in the Black Sox scandal of 1919.
White's story of baseball is intertwined with changes in technology and business in America and with changing attitudes toward race and ethnicity. The time is fast approaching, he concludes, when we must consider whether baseball is still regarded as the national pastime and whether protecting its image is worth the effort.
From the Back Cover:
"A book for anyone either thrilled by the state of baseball today. . . An ideal introduction to how the sport became what it is."--Dan Okrent
Title: Creating the National Pastime
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 1998
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1996. Book Condition: Good. Reprint. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP30333205
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1996. Book Condition: Very Good. Reprint. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP2994391
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1996. Book Condition: Fair. Reprint. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP83972915
Book Description Princeton University Press. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Book shows a small amount of wear to cover and binding. Some pages show signs of use. Bookseller Inventory # G0691058857I3N00
Book Description Princeton University Press. Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G0691058857I5N00
Book Description Princeton University Press. Book Condition: Very Good. . Bookseller Inventory # L07A-00381
Book Description Princeton University Press. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: Fair. 0691058857 Ships promptly. Bookseller Inventory # GHP1614KBGG010317H0091
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: Acceptable. This is a used book. It may contain highlighting/underlining and/or the book may show heavier signs of wear . It may also be ex-library or without dustjacket. All orders are shipped the same or the next day. Bookseller Inventory # mon0001972969
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: Fine. First Edition; First Printing. Clean and pristine, with no signs of any prior use or wear. Fast shipping, with tracking number provided. ; 8.90 X 6.10 X 0.90 inches; 384 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 38126
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1996. Book Condition: As New. Princeton University Press. 1996. 8vo soft cover. As New in every way. Stiff card covers are perfect. Interior is white, crisp, unmarked and unread. Not ex-lib. 368 perfect pages. Bookseller Inventory # 010267