Ball, Bat and Bitumen

A History of Coalfield Baseball in the Appalachian South


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SKU: 9780786435944 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

They emerged from the mines, shook off the coal dust, and stepped onto the diamond. From the early 1900s to the 1950s, baseball games between mine workers were a small-town phenomenon, each team attracting avid and intensely loyal fans. Talented part-time athletes competed at the amateur, semi-pro and professional levels. Equally competitive were the coal company officials, who often brought in ringers, or players of exceptional ability, giving them easier jobs above ground or a padded pay packet. Based on interviews with surviving players, families of deceased players, and contemporary sources, this thoroughgoing history covers not only teams and leagues but their function within the mining communities of Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia. The book features a special section on African-American mining teams, a coalfield map and many photographs.

About the Author(s)

L.M. Sutter is an artist, writer and baseball fan. She is a member of SABR and lives in southwest Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

L.M. Sutter
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 212
Bibliographic Info: 46 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3594-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5266-8
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments      1

Introduction      5

1. The Coal Towns      9

2. The Appalachian Pastime      19

3. The Emperor of Baseball      30

4. Tye Harber’s War      43

5. The Boys of the Lonesome Pine      49

6. Moonlighting Bearcats      76

7. A Wide-Awake Town      86

8. Fathers and Sons      94

9. Fertile Soil      104

10. Almost Valhalla      113

11. The 1951 Hazard Bombers      128

12. The Choices We Live With      136

13. Bob Bowman      144

14. Vince Pankovits and the Mean Season      153

15. The Old Man of the Mountains      163

16. The Women in the Stands      170

Epilogue      187

Chapter Notes      191

Bibliography      195

Index      199

Book Reviews & Awards

Winner, Sporting News–SABR Baseball Research Award
“fascinating people and stories…contributes to the growing body of literature on baseball”—Nine; “a wonderful human interest story”—Appalachian Heritage; “will be very helpful to future baseball historians”—Journal of Sport History.