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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

April 30th, 2012 · Margaret L. · Staff Recommendations

America’s Pastime

Baseball is known by many as “America’s Pastime.”

Throughout the 18th century, amateurs played a game similar to the baseball of today using various objects for bats and other equipment. Years later, it was found that the original layout for playing baseball was created by Union General Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. However, many historians referred to the Doubleday theory as a myth, pointing out that the general, while a fan and even player of the game, had made no reference whatsoever to inventing the sport.

Semi-professional clubs began to form by the mid 19th century, with fully professional teams beginning in the 1860s. The National League was founded in 1876 followed by the American League in 1901.

World Series

As time went on, the National League and American League entered into a heated rivalry that often involved one “raiding” the other for star players. Eventually, a new agreement signed by the league prevented such practices, and also allowed for the champion of each league to meet in a winner-take-all World Series.

The Color Barrier

As pro baseball gained popularity, an agreement was struck between clubs to exclude nonwhite players-a departure from the late 1800s in which a handful of African-Americans were regular players. In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the so-called “Color Barrier” when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Hispanic and Japanese players have made baseball a multiethnic game.

There was a Negro League which was organized in Texas in 1897. Players like Willie Mays and Roy Campanella started their careers in the Negro League.

Baseball Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame was dedicated on June 12, 1939. You can visit the National Baseball of Fame and Museum in Copperstown, NY. There is also a Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

Baseball Books

Harrison has books about the history of baseball, the NY teams – Yankees and Mets, and biographies of players who made the sport what it is today. Come and enjoy learning about “America’s Pastime”.

Faith and Fear in Flushing: an intense personal history of the New York Mets by Greg W. PrinceThe definitive account of diehard Mets fans who followed the Mets through the highs and lows of their seasons.

The Baseball Codes: beanballs, sign stealing, and bench-clearing brawls: the unwritten rules of America’s pastime by Jason TurbowIn The Baseball Codes, old-timers and all-time greats share their insights into the game’s most hallowed-and least known-traditions. For the learned and the casual baseball fan alike, the result is illuminating and thoroughly entertaining.

Baseball : the history of America’s favorite game by George VecseyThis book gives a rousing account of baseball from its pre-Republic roots to the present day. George Vecsey casts a fresh eye on the game, illuminates its foibles and triumphs, and performs a marvelous feat: making a classic story seem refreshingly new.

Baseball Americana : treasures from the Library of CongressBased on the unparalleled baseball collections of the Library of Congress–the largest collection in the world–comes a lavishly illustrated history of America’s favorite sport, from the early 19th century to baseball’s golden age in the 1950s and 60s.

New York Yankees by K.C. KelleyA simple but fact-packed overview of the New York Yankees baseball team, covering their origins, their home field, famous players and managers, and well-known plays throughout the team’s history.

The Story of the New York Mets by Michael GoodmanExamines the history, players, and future of the New York Mets baseball team.

The Big Bam : the life and times of Babe Ruth by Leigh MontvilleHe was the Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Wizard of Whack. The Bambino. And simply, to his teammates, the Big Bam. This book is a colorful biography of the largest legend ever to loom in baseball—and in the history of organized sports.

Campy : the two lives of Roy Campanella by Neil LanctotHall of Famer Roy Campanella was one of the greatest Dodger catchers . Born to a father of Italian descent and an African- American mother, Campanella wanted to be a ballplayer from childhood but was barred by color from the major leagues. He dropped out of school to play professional ball with the Negro leagues, where he played for eight years until the major leagues integrated.

Willie Mays : the life, the legend by James HirschWillie Mays is arguably the greatest player in baseball history, still revered for the joy and passion he brought to the game. Mays began as a teenage phenom in the Negro Leagues, became a cult hero in New York, With 3,383 hits, 660 home runs, and 338 stolen bases, he was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that fans had never seen before.

The Last Boy : Mickey Mantle and the end of America’s childhood by Jane LeavyBased on interviews with friends and family, teammates, and opponents, this is a definitive account of Mantle’s life. Mantle would lead the Yankees to seven world championships, be voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player three times, win the Triple Crown in 1956, and duel teammate Roger Maris for Babe Ruth’s home run crown in the summer of 1961.

Yogi Berra : eternal Yankee by Allen BarraYogi Berra is one of the most popular former athletes in American history, and the most-quoted American since Abraham Lincoln. The biography of the legendary Hall-of-Famer has nearly 100 photos and countless Yogi-isms, offering hilarious insights into many of baseball’s greatest moments.

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