Much More Than a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball since 1921

Much More Than a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball since 1921

Much More Than a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball since 1921

Much More Than a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball since 1921

Synopsis

Picking up in 1921, where his previous award-winning volume, Never just a Game, left off, Burk completes his comprehensive labor history of American baseball.

Excerpt

Although we prefer to see baseball as a game we play or watch for recreation, from almost the beginning it has been a labor-intensive industry whose on-field personnel constitute both the entertainment product we enjoyand men engaged in doing their job. At thevery heart of this laborintensive business has been the struggle between on-field employees and management over access to its opportunities, work place rights, and overarching both of these, administering the industry and defining the relationship—paternalistic, adversarial, or cooperative—between the two sides. This history can be divided into three main eras. The first—examined in my previous volume, Never Just a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball to 1920—is most accurately viewed as the “trade war era” and lasted from the formation of intercity cartels, most notably the National League, in the 1870s through World War I. The two subsequent periods—the subject of this study—stretched from the 1920s to the 1960s and from the 1960s to the present day and can be described as the “paternalistic” and “inflationary” eras (see Appendix, Fig. 1). Although each era featured the general issues mentioned above, the answers reached and the labor relationship forged differed in significant ways.

In the first, or trade war, era, professional baseball emerged from its nurturing ground of northeastern Protestant villages, neighborhoods, and voluntary associations to become a fledgling entertainment business. During that process the search for the best playing talent and the demands for inclusion by the Irish and Germans led both to the modest broadening of ethnic employment and the growing separation of personnel, functions, and power between off-field managers and on-field performers. After a decade of confusion and false starts, the strong-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.