Baseball Confronts Modernity
The Houston Astrodome, which opened for business in 1965, was merely the most visible indication of the changes in the world of major league baseball in the mid-1960s. In the executive oﬀices of the owners and the players, in the press box and the locker rooms, and on the ﬁeld, transitions occurred that signaled an acceptance of (or a concession to) the cultural transformation of the 1950s and 1960s. It was unclear if any faction within baseball would beneﬁt more than another in the new environment of the mid-1960s, and often positions changed rapidly or seemed contradictory.
Players embraced the new relationship they forged with owners in the ﬁrst Basic Agreement between the MLBPA and the owners, even though many of them had to be convinced that the union's new leader, Marvin Miller, would not lead them to destruction instead. They resented the intrusive and seemingly irrelevant questions of a new breed of reporters, labeled "chipmunks” by oﬀended traditionalist sportswriters, who advanced their own careers by celebrating the same sort of personal freedom later endorsed by Miller. However, one of the most beloved broadcasters in baseball history, Red Barber, fell victim to the reactionary Yankee management as he attempted to exercise his journalistic freedom.
Owners rang in the post—Ford Frick era by selecting General William Eckert as the new commissioner, but none ever claimed responsibility for orchestrating the event. Eckert's unwritten task was to weakly wield his newly enhanced authority, thereby allowing the owners to strengthen their inﬂuence over the commissioner's oﬀice which they had enjoyed under the cooperative Frick. The general fulﬁlled his destiny all too well, a failing