The Politics of Baseball

Essays on the Pastime and Power at Home and Abroad

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About the Book

Examining baseball not just as a game but as a social, historical, and political force, this collection of sixteen essays looks at the sport from the perspectives of race, sexual orientation, economic power, social class, imperialism, nationalism, and international diplomacy. Together, the essays underscore the point that baseball is not just a form of entertainment but a major part of the culture and power struggles of American life as well as the nation’s international footprint.

About the Author(s)

Ron Briley is assistant headmaster and teaches history at Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he has taught for more than thirty years. His baseball essays have been published in the annuals for the Cooperstown Symposium and in such journals as Baseball History and Nine. He is the author of several books and lives in Albuquerque.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Ron Briley
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: graphs, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4129-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5652-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction (RON BRILEY)      1

PART ONE: BASEBALL AND DOMESTIC POLITICS

1. Baseball and Ballots: Players and Politicians

(JOHN A. TURES)      9

2. The Baseball Evangelist Throws Out John Barlycorn: Billy Sunday and Prohibition

(WENDY KNICKERBOCKER)      25

3. Red Press Nation: The Baseball Rhetoric of Lester Rodney

(SCOTT D. PETERSON)      38

4. Bob Dole and the Brooklyn Dodgers

(RAYMOND I. SCHUCK)      57

5. Are We There Yet? Major League Baseball and Sexual Orientation

(LISA DORIS ALEXANDER)      71

6. Professional Baseball Wages in the Era of Integration

(MICHAEL J. HAUPERT)      82

7. Sam Jethroe’s Last Hit

(N. JEREMI DURU)      99

8. The Church of Detroit Baseball: American Civil Religion and Willie Horton at Comerica Park

(JOSHUA FLEER)      111

PART TWO: THE DIPLOMACY OF BASEBALL AND THE INTERNATIONAL GAME

9. The Nationalist Pastime: The Use of Baseball to Promote Nationalism Globally

(RUSS CRAWFORD)      125

10. More Than a Game: Baseball Diplomacy in World War II and the Cold War, 1941 –1958

(BRYAN C. PRICE)      141

11. Exporting the Horsehide American Dream: The Hidden Side of Nicaraguan Baseball

(ROBERT ELIAS)      157

12. The Politics of American Colonialism Through the Lens of Major League Baseball Academies

(JESSICA SKOLNIKOFF and ROBERT ENGVALL)      171

13. Recognizing—Not Just Rooting for—the Home Team: Nationalism and the Taiwanese Name Dispute at the 2006 Baseball Classic

(GLEN M.E. DUERR)      183

14. Bud Selig’s Use of “Smart Power”

(ROBERT F. LEWIS)      195

15. Commodore Selig: The Importance of Japanese Baseball Players in Major League Baseball

MATHEW J. BARTKOWIAK and YUYA KIUCHI)      212

16. Major League Baseball, Welcome Back Veterans, and the Rhetoric of “Support the Troops”

(MICHAEL L. BUTTERWORTH)      226

About the Contributors      241

Index      245

Book Reviews & Awards

“Editor Briley has done a fine job of choosing and arranging the essays into a strong lineup…baseball intersects with many aspects of culture but none more important than politics, and Briley and his contributors have made a noteworthy contribution to the subject”—Nine.