Baseball and the Mythic Moment

How We Remember the National Game


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SKU: 9780786426508 Categories: , , , Tag:

About the Book

While moments come and go, and popular trends are created only to be consumed and replaced, a small handful of events are able to transcend place and time to become widely shared cultural touchstones. Baseball, with its longevity, reverence for character and perseverance, and symbolism of American values, has produced a number of these modern myths—people, games and events that transcend society’s love for the ephemeral to attain collective cultural significance. The Babe’s called shot and Ripken’s 2,131st are more than significant moments in baseball. They are culturally relevant events that contribute to an American mythology. This book examines how certain baseball moments became mythic, and why some moments are culturally persistent while others are limited in importance to the confines of sport. After a discussion of baseball in myth and memory, and the effect of the media on both, chapters draw a distinction between the merely famous (or infamous) and the mythic act, whether it’s physical (Bobby Thomson) or symbolic (Jackie Robinson); matchups, whether individual (Alexander vs. Lazzeri) or team (Red Sox-Yankees 1978 playoff); clubs, both those that achieved (1927 Yankees) and that choked (1964 Phillies); and franchises, including the winners (Yankees) and the losers (Cubs).

About the Author(s)

James D. Hardy, Jr., is a professor of history at Louisiana State University and has written numerous books on baseball. He lives in Baton Rouge.

Bibliographic Details

James D. Hardy, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 219
Bibliographic Info: 9 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2650-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Myth and Memory      5

2. The Big Hit      25
3. The Perfect Game, or Close Enough      40
4. Glory and Infamy      53

5. Murderers Row      67
6. Subway Series      83
7. Playoff      101

8. America’s Team      127
9. America’s Other Team      145

10. The Bambino      163
11. Baseball on Television      177

Notes      187
Bibliography      197
Index      203

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “solid”—Sports Collectors Digest
  • “an erudite, highly readable book, full of perceptive observations. It is a welcome addition to that short but growing list of books that take the relationship between memory and sport seriously”—Journal of Sport History