Baseball and Social Class

Essays on the Democratic Game That Isn’t

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About the Book

This collection of fresh essays examines the intersection of baseball and social class, pointing to the conclusion that America’s game, infused from its origins with a democratic mythos and founded on high-minded principles of meritocracy, is nonetheless fraught with problematic class contradictions. Each essayist has explored how class standing has influenced some aspect of the game as experienced by those who play it, those who watch it, those who write about it, and those who market it. The topic of class is an amorphous one and in tying it to baseball the contributors have considered matters of race, education, locality, integration, assimilation, and cultural standing. These elements are crucial to understanding how baseball creates, preserves, reinforces and occasionally assails class divisions among those who watch, play, and own the game.

About the Author(s)

Ronald E. Kates is an associate professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University. He co-chairs (along with Crosby Hunt) the Conference on Baseball in Literature and American Culture.
Warren Tormey is an assistant professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University. He co-chairs (along with Crosby Hunt) the Conference on Baseball in Literature and American Culture.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Ronald E. Kates and Warren Tormey
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7239-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0088-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface

(RONALD KATES and WARREN TORMEY)      1

Gothic Baseball: The Death of Mary Rogers and the “Birth” of Baseball History

(STEVE ANDREWS)      7

Freedom and Baseball: The Uplift of Sport

(JANAKA B. LEWIS)      28

Born a Busher; or, How Journalists- Turned–Fiction Writers Made Baseball Safe for the Middle- Class Readers of the Saturday Evening Post

(SCOTT D. PETERSON)      44

“Disgraceful employment”: The Gentleman Amateur in Eric Rolfe Greenberg’s The Celebrant

(MARK BRESNAN)      60

Rings Born of Impulse: Gift- Exchange Economies in Greenberg’s The Celebrant

(RONALD E. KATES)      74

Playing the Field: Rube Marquard’s Performance of Class Identity in Early Twentieth Century Baseball and Vaudeville

(ANDREW FRIEDMAN)      85

“The Old College Try”: Eddie Collins and the 1919 Black Sox

(WARREN TORMEY)      98

The “Lost Art” of Baseball: James Weldon Johnson, the Negro Leagues and the “Black Bohemia” of the Harlem Renaissance

(DANIEL ANDERSON)      112

The Gentle Player: Baseball and the “Gentle People” in Irwin Shaw’s Short Fiction

(NATHANIEL VALLE)      126

Setting a Place for Mickey Mantle: Baseball, Class and Local Identity in Philip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus

(MATTHEW BRUEN)      139

Phillip Roth’s Comic Corrective

(JOSHUA DANIEL- WARIYA)      148

Class (Un)Consciousness: The Unusual Case of Jackie Robinson

(ANDREW HAZUCHA)      162

Commonwealth: Hardt, Negri and the Contemporary Class Struggle for the National Pastime

(CARL F. MILLER)      173

About the Contributors      191

Index      195