The Major Leagues’ Struggle to Play Baseball on the Lord’s Day, 1876–1934
About the Book
Playing baseball on Sunday was a divisive issue in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. On one side of the argument were the owners, who wanted to take in more money, and working people, who labored six days a week and wanted to take in a baseball game on the seventh. On the other side were people who thought that the commandment to keep Sunday sacred ought to be obeyed.
The story of how Sunday baseball went from being an illegal activity in most areas of the country in 1876 to a legal form of entertainment in all major league cities by 1934 is told in this work. It describes the numerous schemes used to play baseball on Sunday, like playing games in strange places, under odd circumstances and at the inconvenience of players and managers, many of whom were arrested and jailed for attempting to play baseball on Sunday.
The book covers the foothold Sunday baseball gained in cities like St. Louis, Cincinnati and Chicago in the 1880s and 1890s, its slow spread eastward as the general attitude of the populace toward Sunday baseball gradually changed, and its widespread acceptance after New York passed a law in 1919 making it legal. It was not until 1934, however, that Sunday baseball was played in all major league cities.
About the Author(s)
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
Table of Contents
1 Ball Players Arrested for It 5
2 National League Disliked It 24
3 American Association Loved It 34
4 St. Louis and Brooklyn Exulted in It 51
5 Sabbatarians Hated It 75
6 National League Embraced It 101
7 Cleveland Attempted It 116
8 American League Liked It 135
9 Brooklyn Used Subterfuge to Do It 152
10 New York Wanted It 174
11 Philadelphia Experimented with It 200
12 Boston Finally Got It 214
13 Bribery Scandal Soiled It 228
14 Philadelphia at Last Adopted It 246
15 Legacy of Sunday Baseball 261
Appendix A: Sunday Baseball Firsts in the Major Leagues 271
Appendix B: Significant Court Decisions on Sunday Baseball 275
Appendix C: Massachusetts Ballot Initiative (1928) 292
Book Reviews & Awards
“Bevis, an expert on early twentieth century New England leagues, has obviously done his research. He offers an accurate and polished behind-the-scenes narrative for each major league city. Senior baseball historians will be impressed by the completeness…virtually the only book on this subject…deserves note as ‘more that just a baseball book’…thoroughly researched…a handy reference…a fun book for anyone to thumb through…enjoyable read”—Nineteenth Century Notes; “Bevis tells the story well, and he provides excellent documentation…another excellent example of baseball writing…recommended”—Choice; “recommend[ed]…amazing…worthwhile…documentation is dazzling if slightly overwhelming”—Nine.