THIS BOOK is about what happened with and within the sport and business of American baseball in the period beginning with the collapse of the nation's financial market late in 1929 and ending in the general economic recovery that characterized the last year of peace before the United States formally entered World War II. So it's mainly about baseball in a period dominated by what economists and economic historians have called the Great Depression, and ordinary Americans were more likely to call “hard times.”
Anyone who peruses my bibliography will become aware of the large amount of published work—general histories, team histories, oral histories, reminiscences, autobiographies, biographies—dealing in one way or another with baseball in the period 1930 to 1941. Yet to my knowledge this is the first extended effort to examine those years as a unit—as a distinct span of time, strikingly different from what had gone before or would come after.
Although it was generally a period of anxiety and austerity for the “National Pastime” (as baseball was still generally regarded), the years 1930 to 1941 also brought an array of changes that did much to define the structure and operation of professional baseball well into the post—World War II decades. As of 1941, the geography of the two “major” leagues remained what it had been forty-eight years earlier, and at that level and throughout “Organized Baseball”—the majors and the officially recognized “minor” professional leagues—racial segregation remained in place. Yet the De-