Late Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1945-1972

By Dean A. Sullivan | Go to book overview

4
Continental Divides

After making a political decision not to fund or subsidize new stadiums for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants—and losing the franchises as a result—New York City mayor Robert Wagner, faced with an outraged populace, reacted with another political decision. His decision led indirectly to the transformation of the major leagues and a dramatic shift in the relationship between cities and their professional sports teams. The chairman of the Mayor's Baseball Committee of the City of New York, William Shea, adopted a strategy of forming a third major league, hoping to attract major cities and wealthy investors willing to spend millions of dollars to earn the prestige of being associated with a professional sports team—a plan also followed by creators of the American Football League. Not only did many of the cities involved in the Continental League end up with major league franchises, but existing teams learned that they could use the threat of moving to another city to persuade their city and state legislatures to build them new stadiums. Voters often resisted such largesse, but politicians and the media were frequently successful in achieving their objectives, as they were in Los Angeles in 1958. Their efforts were appreciated by fans in the new cities—between 1957 and 1966 seven World Series featured at least one team that had moved during the period.

The divide between the past and the present in baseball was also expressed in other forms. Although the new players' union, the Major League Baseball Players' Association (MLBPA), had little bargaining power (as reflected by their low salaries), they did manage to persuade management to stage a second All-Star Game to further benefit their pension fund. The

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Late Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1945-1972
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Late Innings *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations *
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • 1 - Baseball in the Post-Landis Era 1
  • 2 - Controversies Over Antitrust, Airwaves 41
  • 3 - Baseball Moves West 77
  • 4 - Continental Divides 119
  • 5 - Legislating Baseball 155
  • 6 - Baseball Confronts Modernity 195
  • 7 - The Era of Labor Unrest Begins 227
  • 8 - Counting Numbers, Dollars, and Rights 255
  • Bibliography 279
  • Acknowledgments 285
  • Index 287
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