Never Just a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball to 1920

Never Just a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball to 1920

by Robert F. Burk


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, September 25


Never Just a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball to 1920

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807849613
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 03/05/2001
Edition description: 1
Pages: 302
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Robert F. Burk, author of Much More Than a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball since 1921, is professor and chair of the history department at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
From Congregants to Contestants

The origins of American baseball, and of its labor history, are best found not in a single town, or in the mind of a single inventor, or on a single date. Nor are they to be found in a particular social model, whether it be industrialization, urbanization, or that newer hybrid, modernization. Although the earliest ball games can be traced back to far distant rural societies, for the more immediate ancestors of our "national pastime" we must turn to a distinctive people, inhabiting the preindustrial villages and hamlets of Stuart England, and to the regional culture and folkways they introduced to North America in a series of migrations beginning in the 1620s. For although the game of baseball had many distant ancestors and was influenced by a variety of factors, it claimed one primary cultural midwife—the Puritans of colonial New England. Early base ball games of varying types and with varying numbers of participants reflected basic folkways of the Puritans. Subsequent custodianship of baseball by their descendants shaped the rules, patterns of organizational control, and class and ethnocultural makeup of the sport in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. By the antebellum era, "respectable" Yankees' fear of socioeconomic and ethnocultural "declension" in the ballplayer ranks led to both the elevation of playing-skill requirements and, increasingly, the removal of club management responsibilities from players' hands.[1]

time," not merely to "pass" it or "kill" it.[3]


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. From Congregants to Contestants
Chapter 2. A National Game and Its Journeymen, 1860-1875
Chapter 3. Barons and Serfs, 1876-1885
Chapter 4. Retrenchment and Revolt, 1885-1890
Chapter 5. Monopoly Ball, 1891-1899
Chapter 6. Baseball Progressivism and the Player, 1900-1909
Chapter 7. The Players' Fraternity and the Federal League, 1910-1915
Chapter 8. War and the Quest for Normalcy, 1916-1920
Bibliographic Essay

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A very carefully argued and meticulously researched book.--Australasian Journal of American Studies

The best study of the sport's turbulent early labor wars.--North Carolina Historical Review

Burk has provided the clearest and richest account of baseball's evolution as a business that I have seen. His narrative is well written, lively, and thoroughly enjoyable.--Andrew Zimbalist, author of Baseball and Billions: A Probing Look Inside the Big Business of Our National Pastime

Never Just a Game will be useful for many economic, business, and labor historians, even those who are not sports fans.--Journal of Economic History

Burk proves that when it comes to baseball's money issues, the more things change--the more they stay the same.--USA Today Baseball Weekly

A meticulously researched account of the history of labour-management struggles in baseball up to 1920. . . . It is also a lively, highly readable volume filled with fascinating anecdotes about players, rule changes, and so on. As such, the book will appeal to both the serious student of business history and the layman with merely an interest in the game itself.--Business History

A fascinating story, well told.--Choice

A detailed study of baseball's labor-management relations from the first all-professional team, the undefeated 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, to the 1919 Black Sox, an era when the owners, not the players were in total command.--Jerome Holtzman, Chicago Tribune

A fascinating look at baseball's origins, including the early days before it dawned on those involved that baseball could become a money-making enterprise. The preface alone is worth the price of the book.--NINE

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews