One Nation under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime

One Nation under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime

One Nation under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime

One Nation under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime

Synopsis

One Nation Under Baseball highlights the intersection between American society and America's pastime during the 1960s, when the hallmarks of the sport--fairness, competition, and mythology--came under scrutiny. John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro examine the events of the era that reshaped the game: the Koufax and Drysdale million-dollar holdout, the encroachment of television on newspaper coverage, the changing perception of ballplayers from mythic figures to overgrown boys, the arrival of the everyman Mets and their free-spirited fans, and the lawsuit brought against team owners by Curt Flood.

One Nation Under Baseball brings to life the seminal figures of the era--including Bob Gibson, Marvin Miller, Tom Seaver, and Dick Young--richly portraying their roles during a decade of flux and uncertainty.

Excerpt

Politics and social issues have no place in sports. Sports. Sports is a respite from all that. It’s where I go to escape. Sports are sacrosanct, and even to acknowledge, let alone delve into, the countless times that larger issues intersect with sports is out of bounds.

Believe me, I am familiar with these arguments—if you can call them that. Curiously, they seem to be raised only by those who disagree with, or are made uncomfortable by, the athletes and commentators who dare to address pertinent subjects beyond a late- inning pitching change or an early-round draft choice. Just as curious, political views that align with their own are, of course, seldom a problem.

I shudder to think what additional ad hominem attacks, misrepresentations and sheer falsehoods would have been directed at Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Curt Flood, Marvin Miller, and the rest had the internet, cable television, and talk radio existed during that time.

In One Nation Under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime, John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro focus on the 1960s, the most turbulent American decade of the second half of the twentieth century. Despite the protests of the “Shaddup and tell me the score” crowd, the forces affecting and profoundly changing America were also having a dramatic effect on sports and, for our purposes here, on baseball in particular.

Labor relations, players’ rights, shifting population centers, the opening of new baseball markets, the emergence of television as a major factor, the evolving role of the sports press, the increasing willingness of young people to assert their individuality and challenge the status quo. And, of course, the persistent issues of race. They all affected baseball as surely as they did America as a whole. in fact, in some cases, sports—baseball included— weren’t just touched by these issues, they personified them.

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