The Culture and Ethnicity of Nineteenth Century Baseball


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About the Book

Evolving in an urban landscape, professional baseball attracted a dedicated fan base among the inhabitants of major cities, including ethnic and racial minorities, for whom the game was a vehicle for assimilation. But to what extent were these groups welcomed within the world of baseball, and what effect did their integration—or, as in the case of African Americans, their ultimate inability to integrate—have on the culture of a pastime that had recently become a national obsession? How did their mutual striving for acceptance affect relations between these minorities? (In deep and long-lasting ways, as it turns out.) This book provides a carefully considered portrait of baseball as both a sporting profession—one with quick-changing rules and roles—and as an institution that reinforced popular ideas about cultural identity, masculinity and American exceptionalism.

About the Author(s)

Jerrold I. Casway is a professor emeritus of history at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. The author of two books, he has published more than sixty articles covering seventeenth-century Irish history and nineteenth-century baseball topics.

Bibliographic Details

Jerrold I. Casway

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9890-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2596-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
1. Who Played the Game? 7
2. The Irish and Jim Crow Baseball 17
3. A Line Is Drawn in Pennsylvania 32
4. Before Greenberg There Was Pike 39
5. Ted Sullivan and Baseball’s Hibernian Spirit 55
6. From Famine Fields to the Ball Fields and the Front Office 69
7. The Pedigrees of Nineteenth Century Managers 78
8. Ballplayer: A Seasonal Occupation 91
9. Two Fathers for Philadelphia Baseball 102
10. Intemperance on the Emerald Diamond 109
11. The Ladies They Will All Turn Out 120
12. “A Game Played by Idiots for Morons” 128
13. Root, Root, Rooting for the Home Team 137
14. In Open Fields and on Wooden Planks 150
15. Huzzah for the Class of ’45 165
Epilogue 171
Chapter Notes 175
Bibliography 193
Index 199

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “This excellent book details how the new, extremely popular sport of baseball was a microcosm of 19th-century American culture and describes how the social and cultural forces of the time influenced the development and growth of the sport…. This scholarly, informative, yet easy-to-read volume includes an excellent bibliography and will be a fine addition to academic library collections….recommended”—Choice
  • “[This] much needed volume on nineteenth century baseball analyzes the culture of the sport…. Casway successfully navigates the minefield that is history at the intersection of ethnicity and race”—Sport in American History; “well organized…highly recommended…satisfying…enjoyable read”—Nineteenth Century Research Committee, SABR
  • “Casway takes his readers through a neat and thorough tour of both 19th-century baseball from its early structured-team origins of the 1840s up through the turn of the 20th-century, and the changing ethnicity of North America…highly recommended”—Nineteenth Century Notes
  • “This book provides important insights into baseball during the nineteenth century. The author makes good use of both primary and secondary source material and demonstrates a very good grasp of the sport’s evolution and its impact on American culture.”—David K. Wiggins, co-author, The Unlevel Playing Field: A Documentary History of the African American Experience in Sport