Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6¼ x 9½
978-1-4422-3584-7 • Hardback • October 2017 • $45.00 • (£35.00)
978-1-4422-3585-4 • eBook • October 2017 • $39.50 • (£30.00)
Martin C. Babicz teaches history at the University of Colorado Boulder for the Sewall Hall History & Culture Residential Academic Program, the Communications & Society Residential Academic Program, and the History Department. Dr. Babicz teaches several courses on American History including America through Baseball. He is the author of a chapter exploring the historiography of sports and pastimes of the 1920s in A Companion to Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover (2014).
Thomas W. Zeiler is a professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he directs the Program in International Affairs. He teaches and researches on U.S. foreign policy, diplomatic history, globalization, World War II, and sports history. Among the courses he teaches is America through Baseball. Dr. Zeiler’s books include Ambassadors in Pinstripes: The Spalding World Baseball Tour and the Birth of the American Empire (Rowman & Littlefield).
Chapter 1: Baseball in Tocqueville’s America (To 1870)
Chapter 2: The Industrialization of Leisure (1871 to 1883)
Chapter 3: Color and Global Barriers (1865 to 1918)
Chapter 4: The American Labor Movement & the Players’ League (1884 to 1891)
Chapter 5: Progressivism and the American League (1892 to 1903)
Chapter 6: Normalcy and the Black Sox Scandal (1904 to 1922)
Chapter 7: Babe Ruth and the Roaring Twenties (1920 to 1929)
Chapter 8: Segregation and the Negro Leagues (1896 to 1949)
Chapter 9: Baseball and the Great Depression (1929 to 1940)
Chapter 10: Baseball Goes to War (1941 to 1945)
Chapter 11: Jackie Robinson and Civil Rights (1946 to 1987)
Chapter 12: The Postwar American Century (1945 to 1964)
Chapter 13: Change and Revolution (1960 to 1975)
Chapter 14: Baseball in Post-Industrial America (Since 1975)
Chapter 15: A Global Game (Since 1865)
Historians Babicz and Zeiler (both, Univ. of Colorado) set out to connect baseball to US history by developing a chronological framework that allows them to intertwine the game of baseball with the larger currents of US history. Beginning in the 19th century, the game and institution of baseball developed right along with the larger cultural themes of the country. As industrialization became dominant in the US, it affected the game of baseball. Babicz and Zeiler apply this paradigm to the labor movement, WW I, the 1920s, WW II, and civil rights. The final chapter is dedicated to the globalization of baseball and serves to tie the different periods of history together. This book, part of the American Ways series, meets its goal of connecting specific topics to the major events of US history. Along with George Vecsey's Baseball: A History of America's Favorite Game (2006), historians now have two sources that place baseball in a historical US context.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. All public and academic levels/libraries.
— Choice Reviews
In their first book, Babicz and Zeiler, professors of history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, offer a sharp analysis of the history of baseball. The authors first introduce New York City businessman Alexander Cartwright, considered to be the father of modern baseball, who founded the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in the 1840s with members of the Knickerbocker Fire Engine Company. After the Civil War, baseball’s popularity spread to the Midwest, and the number of paid athletes increased (most significantly with the Chicago White Stockings) along with the number of new ballparks. The Black Sox scandal of 1919 dampened the sport’s popularity, but, as the writers note, dynamic personalities such as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth helped to revive it. In a chapter called 'Jackie Robinson and Civil Rights,' the authors focus on the color ban, which relegated African-American players to the Negro Leagues until 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke into the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Using graphs and photos, the authors provide a precise, multidimensional story of how the sport evolved through the advent of radio, television, franchise shifts, free agency, the influx of Latin athletes, and corporate sponsorship. Babicz and Zeiler’s baseball history informs and entertains.
— Publishers Weekly
National Pastime belongs on the shelf of every baseball historian right alongside Jules Tygiel's landmark Past Time: Baseball as History and Benjamin Rader's comprehensive Baseball: A History of America's Game.
— NINE: A Journal of Baseball History & Culture
National Pastime is a comprehensive and authentic history of baseball. Accomplished historians Martin C. Babicz and Thomas W. Zeiler tell the story of America’s national sport and pastime from the beginning and how it emerged from a game known as rounders. In a chronological order, they talk about each and every phase of the sport since the early 19thcentury. Packed with the knowledge of baseball history, National Pastime is more interesting and exciting than a national baseball match. If not the best book on the history of baseball, it surely is one of the best books. If you like watching a baseball match, you will surely enjoy reading National Pastime.
— The Washington Book Review
“National Pastime is thoughtful and impressive. It deftly weaves baseball’s complex past into American history, providing both an innovative study of the United States, and an entertaining analysis of baseball and its place in society.”
— Joel Wolfe, University of Massachusetts
“By skillfully placing baseball’s story within its appropriate historical context, the authors take fans, students and scholars alike on a memorable baseball road trip through American history.”
— Steven K. Wisensale, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
“Babicz and Zeiler easily weave the chronological history of baseball among broad political, social, and cultural touchstones in this accessible text. National Pastime can serve as both reference material and an introduction to the complex history of an American institution.”
— Meg Frisbee, Metropolitan State University of Denver