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Baseball and America

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					The Representation
of American Society
    in Baseball
         Alex S. & Seth G.
   Horace Greeley HS KLM 2006
How has baseball
reflected American
  society over the
 course of the first
  half of the 20 th

     century?
 Well--it's our game; that's
 the chief fact in connection
  with it: America's game; it
has the snap, go, fling of the
   American atmosphere; it
    belongs as much to our
institutions, fits into them as
      significantly as our
Constitution's laws; is just as
important in the sum total of
        our historic life.

        Walt
       Whitman
 US
History
      Progressive Era
When Teddy Roosevelt became the 26th
president of the United States, his goal
was to change what had become of his
beloved nation
Roosevelt entered office at a time in
which the U.S. was already undergoing a
slight transformation
The Progressive Era, as it became
known, was a period of reform that
lasted from the 1890s through the
1920s
        Progressive Era Movements

     This era helped influence movements
     such as:
   Conservationism          Social Gospel advocates
   Workers Rights           Education reform
   Social Justice           Trustbusters
   Temperance               Banking reform
   Suffragettes             Goo-Goo’s
   Muckrackers              Populists
   Settlement Houses
Key Aspects of the Progressive Era
  Hepburn Act of 1906
      Gave the ICC the power to set maximum
       railroad rates
  Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902
      Lasted 163 days
      Workers given a 10% pay increase and
       awarded a nine-hour day
      Organized labor celebrated the outcome as a
       victory for all unions
  Square Deal
      Program that curbed “bad” trusts and
       encouraged “good” trusts
    Immigration in the 1900s




During the 1900s many Jews, Italians, Asians (first
1/2 of the decade), and Russians entered America
              The Role of Women
             in the Progressive Era




    Jane Addams                       Ida Tarbell
Leader in both the women’s   One of the leading muckrakers and
 suffrage and the pacifist   the author of The History of the
         movement                  Standard Oil Company
Baseball
Players Protective Association
Players Protective Association is founded in
1900
   Originated from the Brotherhood of
    Professional Baseball players (1885)
   One of the first unions created by players
    who objected the reserve clause
      Forced players to stay with one team
       at the owners disposal
   Players had no say as to where they were
    traded/sold
     Byron Bancroft Johnson
Created the American
League in 1901, which
offered higher salaries and
better contract options
   Players like Cy Young,
   John McGraw, and Nap
   Lajoie jumped from the
   National League
Cracked down on dirty play
and banned liquor from
ballparks
Baseball was becoming a
more acceptable activity
  Immigration and Baseball
             Baseball was becoming a
             reflection of the changing
             ethnic composition of
             America.
             Many European immigrants
             became club owners due to
             limited entrepreneurial
             opportunities in a less risky
             environment.
             A number of Northern and
             Eastern European
   Olaf      immigrants played on teams
Henriksen    as a means for social
 Denmark
             mobility.
             Alta Weiss




                 1907
First Woman to Play Professional Baseball
  Take Me Out to the Ball Game
       "Take me out to the ball game,
        Take me out with the crowd.
  Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
      I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
       If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
            At the old ball game."

               Jack Norworth
                   1907
 US
History
     A New World Power
The 1910s were a period of great change for the
United States
Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt’s progressive mindset,
the US was finally known as a ‘world power’
Many of the same issues found in the 1900s were
still present, including:
    Escalation of immigration and poverty
    Labor and monopoly battles
    Work safety and child labor problems
Unfortunately, this seemingly positive decade
ended with the US involved in the first world war
          Woodrow Wilson
In 1914, Wilson created the federal trade
commission
  The purpose of the FTC was to stop unfair trade
    practices
In addition, President Wilson passed the Clayton
Antitrust Act in 1914
  According to Samuel Gompers, leader of the
    American Federation of Labor, this act was the
    Magna Carta of labor
  This act made certain business practices illegal
    and made individual company officers liable if
    their company violated the law
  It also ended union liability antitrust laws
            Labor Unions
During the 1910s, labor unions continued to grow
as the middle classes became increasingly unhappy
Unsafe working conditions were highlighted by the
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
  In this disaster 146 female workers were
    killed, spurring the growth of the
    International Ladies Garment Workers Union
Children were hired to work in factories, mills,
and mines in unsafe conditions for many hours
By the middle of the decade every state had
passed a minimum age law
Industrial Workers of the World
  The IWW was the most militant working class
  organization at the time
  This union was formed from a mixture of unions
  fighting for better conditions in the west’s mining
  industry
  They felt that all workers should be united within
  a single union as well as the wage system
  abolished
  The organization helped improve conditions for
  migratory farm workers by using direct action at
  the point of production and striking “on the job”
  By 1912, the organization had around 50,000
  members and was involved in over 150 strikes
                      Wobblies
   “The working class and the employing class have nothing in
  common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want
 are found among millions of the working people and the few,
 who make up the employing class, have all the good things of
  life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until
the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession
of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live
                  in harmony with the Earth.”
     Lawrence Textile Strike
This strike was led by the IWW after the mill owner
decided to lower wages
This strike was ground-breaking in two ways:
    The strike was primarily led by women
    It was the first strike in America that brought
     working people together from over 25 different
     nations
The slogan “Bread and Roses” was first originated in this
strike
In the end, the workers won pay increases, time-and-a-
quarter pay for overtimes, and no discrimination against
strikers
The strikers are also credited with inventing the moving
picket line
Baseball
         The First, First Pitch




William Howard Taft establishes the tradition of
 throwing out the first pitch on April 14, 1910
Player-Owner Relationships
Players were becoming increasingly frustrated with poor
conditions on and off the field
1912-Players Fraternity created
   Attempted to negotiate better conditions, but
     quickly fell apart
1912-First players strike
   Detroit Tigers players struck over Ty Cobb’s
     suspension after fighting with a fan
   Tigers President, Frank J. Navin, hired scabs off
     the street to replace his striking players
   This and numerous other problems helped to
     increase the sense of injustice within baseball,
     eventually leading to the Black Sox Scandal
          The Black Sox
Charles Comiskey, Owner of the Chicago White
Sox, paid extremely low wages and treated his
players poorly
Due to their poor treatment, players leaped at any
opportunity to earn more money
A group of players including: Joe Jackson and
Eddie Cicotte, accepted money to throw the 1919
World Series against the Cincinnati Reds



                           Charles
                           Comiskey
            The Scandal
Multiple rumors and accusations led to the
investigation of eight players, and their
eventual trials
During the investigation, both Cicotte and
Jackson confessed, although shortly after their
confessions went missing
Now, with no evidence, all eight players were
acquitted
Because of the evident problems, Federal Judge
Kenesaw Mountain Landis was brought in as the
sport’s first commissioner
Unfortunately for the players, Landis was not
as forgiving and banned all eight players for life
Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis
                       “Regardless of the
                     verdict of the juries,
                     no player who throws
                     a ball game, no player
                       who undertakes or
                      promises to throw a
                      ball game, no player
                     who sits in confidence
                        with a bunch of
                      crooked players and
                     does not promptly tell
                     his club about it, will
                     ever play professional
                            baseball.”
World War One and Baseball
Ban Johnson ordered his teams to learn close-
order drills
John K. Tener, President of the National
League, stated “This is a war of democracy
against bureaucracy. And I tell you that
baseball is the very watchword of democracy.”
With baseball now one of the leaders in the
entertainment industry, owners felt no reason
to stop playing
   This decision sparked a great deal of
    criticism across the nation along with a
    drastic decline in attendance
         Players or Soldiers?
Owners argued that
baseball be considered an
essential industry so that
players could not be
drafted
Secretary of War Newton
D. Baker disagreed with
this statement, leading to
the drafting of 227 MLB
players
Three professional players
were killed in combat, one
of whom was Eddie Grant,
former captain of the
Giants
                             Eddie Grant
 US
History
Isolationism, The New American
             Ideal
Disillusioned by the failure of the war to
achieve high ideals promised by President
Woodrow Wilson, Americans chose isolationism
   Isolationism led to the reliance of
   homegrown ideals
This renewed sense of
nationalism created the
need for a hometown hero
   Charles Lindbergh
   Babe Ruth
      The Roaring Twenties
                  The 1920s were given the
                  nickname the Roaring Twenties,
                  due to the immense array of
                  new consumer goods
                  Although it took time to convert
                  from a wartime economy to a
                  peacetime economy, the decade
                  saw the US become the richest
                  country in the world
                  America’s newfound wealth led
                  to an increased interest in the
                  many aspects of the
                  entertainment industry, such as:
                  sports, movies, and music
   Al Jolson
Langston Hughes
    The Unfortunate Few
In spite of America’s numerous advancements, African
Americans, once again, did not benefit, along with the many
other “2nd Class Citizens”
   70 million people lived below the poverty level of $2000
    a year per family
After the US’ entrance in WWI, in which African Americans
were put into segregated units run by whites, the belief
that blacks were “sub-human” remained in the back of
everyone’s mind
Three months later, in the city of Chicago, 38 people were
killed, 537 were injured, and ~1000 were left homeless
after the Chicago Race Riot of 1919
This constant disrespect for Blacks resulted in a new sense
of black pride, which led not only to the famed Harlem
Renaissance, but to the creation of a handful of “black-
only” baseball leagues, known as the “Negro Leagues”
Baseball
The End of the Dead-Ball Era
In 1920, Major League Baseball instituted a new
set of rules which reduced the pitcher’s arsenal
and improved the hitter’s chance at making solid
contact
The extent to which offense dominated the 1920s
is even difficult to comprehend today
   From 1921-1930, each league neither league
     batted under .280
This new, exciting style of play coupled with
America's economic boom led to an increase in
baseball’s attendance and popularity
Nobody exhibited this shift towards offensive
production more than Babe Ruth
The Great Bambino
          His towering home
          runs and mammoth
          swings helped counter
          the negative effects
          of the Black Sox
          scandal and WWI
          He exemplified the
          average American
          due to his rise from
          lowly origins and his
          enthusiasm for the
          game
  Great Ballplayers of the 1920s
“What the fans saw, during the 1920s, were many of
the most colorful and distinctive players in the history
     of the game. Babe Ruth was the era’s great
 personality, of course, but there were many others
     who remain nearly as vivid in our memories.”
                   - Joseph Wallace




Dizzy Dean           Dazzy Vance         Lefty Gomez
              The Radio
With the creation
of the radio, a new
industry was
developed that
broadcasted play-
by-play descriptions
of baseball games

On August 5, 1921
Westinghouse
station’s Harold
Arlin broadcasted
the first game from
Forbes Field
        The Negro Leagues
In 1920, Rube Foster, a former ballplayer, founded
the Negro National League
A second league, the Eastern Colored League, was
established in 1923
  The ECL folded in 1928 and led to the creation
    of the American Negro league in 1929
The NNL did well until Foster passed away in 1930
Unfortunately, this came at a time in which not only
baseball was suffering, but America was as well
Without a strong leader the NNL entered into the
Great Depression and fell apart
Who is the Greatest Hitter of All-Time?




 Josh Gibson                  Babe Ruth

     .350
     ~800     You Average
             Batting Decide
               Home Runs         714
                                .342
 US
History
     The Great Depression
Due to underconsumption and obvious social
inequalities, the United States found itself found
itself spiraling downwards as it entered a state of
depression in 1929
Although the stock market crash didn’t instantly plunge
all Americans into debt, it left 1/3 of all the country’s
population in serious need of help by 1932
America’s other 2/3 suffered from reductions in job
security, money income, and hours of work
A large part of why the depression was so damaging
was because of the US’ laissez-faire president
Herbert Hoover
Fortunately, in the election of 1932, the US chose a
man fit for the presidency, Franklin D. Roosevelt
  FDR and the New Deal
After entering office, FDR almost immediately
took action in an attempt to fix what his
predecessor chose not to
Roosevelt’s New Deal had three components:
direct relief, economic recovery, and financial
reform
Although a couple of FDR’s agencies were
unsuccessful, a great number helped to recover
a struggling nation
  CCC, PWA, WPA, FSA, SEC, FDIC, TVA
  In 1938, he also created the FSLA,
    establishing minimum wage
Baseball
The Depression and Baseball
 The depression hit baseball almost as hard as it
 hit the nation
 Young men came to spring training not looking
 for stardom but simply looking for a job
 Attendance dropped drastically as fans could no
 longer afford the cost to get into a game
 Others, unwilling to give up baseball, made the
 ballpark hot dog their meal of the day
 Many people felt that baseball should be
 suspended, but a slightly prominent figure in
 American society believed that it should
 continue...
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FDR realized the importance of social outlets
in the midst of the depression and
emphasized baseball’s continuation
In the President’s mind, politics and baseball
were intertwined, and both were useful in
supporting society’s morale and confidence
Baseball, like the New Deal, battled public
apathy, resignation, defeat, and despair
During his speeches, Roosevelt compared
baseball to his New Deal to instill
understanding and boost the public’s
confidence
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FDR labeled owners and players as examples
of American spirit and dedication
Historian Marc Okkoken said, “He [FDR]
presented a vigorous image and energetically
supported baseball throughout his
presidential years.”
In 1932, Roosevelt stated “Baseball as a
sport has done as much as anything to keep
up the spirits of people when they were
losing their jobs and were in the midst of
the depression.”
                      Fireside Chats
       Throughout FDR’s famed fireside chats, he often used
       Baseball metaphors in hope that they would simplify his
       complex ideas
       On May 7, 1933, in his second fireside chat, Roosevelt
       spoke of “making a hit” and “winning for the team”


 “I know that the people of this country will understand this and
  will also understand the spirit in which we are undertaking this
policy. I do not deny that we may make mistakes of procedure as
           we carry out the policy. I have no expectation
  of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the
 highest possible batting average, not only for myself but for the
 team. Theodore Roosevelt once said to me: If I can be right 75
percent of the time, I shall come up to the fullest measure of my
                               hopes.”
         The Annual First Pitch




 FDR threw out the first pitch of the season every April at
            Griffith stadium in Washington DC
FDR threw out more first pitches than any other president in
      history despite his physical ailments from polio
         American Sports Heroes
Baseball was not only popular but it was critical during the
depression. Baseball was the cure that many people needed
by providing heroes and symbols that Americans cherished.




   Joe                  Lou                  Hank
DiMaggio              Gehrig               Greenberg
        Baseball's New Deal
Baseball, like the New Deal, created new attractions in
    hopes of stimulating attendance and popularity



 1933~All-Star
 Game at Comiskey
 Park, Chicago

 1935~The first
 night game is
 played in Cincinnati
          Cooperstown
The Baseball Hall
of Fame is opened
on June 12, 1939
The first players
inducted were Ty
Cobb, Babe Ruth,
Honus Wagner,
Christy Mathewson,
and Walter
Johnson in 1936
 US
History
                 “Neutral”
After triumphing the greatest depression in US history only
a couple of years prior, the last thing the American people
wanted was a war
This belief was represented by the country’s four
Neutrality Acts over the course of the 1930s, the most
recent in 1939
   This act amended the earlier legislation by supplying
     the UK and France on a “cash and carry” basis
   However, US vessels were forbidden to enter combat
     zones and citizens continued to be barred from sailing
     on belligerent ships
Realizing that they could no longer stand idly by, the US
signed the Lend-Lease Act on March 11, 1941
Regrettably, the US could only remain neutral for so long
A Date Which Will Live in Infamy
   On December 7, 1941, the US was attacked by the
   Japanese on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and immediately declared
   war on her attacker
   Four days later, the remaining Axis powers, Germany and
   Italy, declared war on the US



  A Day
    Of
 Infamy!
African-Americans and World War II
  In the summer of 1941, A. Philip Randolph, president of the
  Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, began to insist that
  companies receiving defense contracts should integrate their
  forces
  Randolph planned a march on Washington that he promised
  would bring almost 100,000
  This concept led FDR to cancel the march, but in return he
  established the Fair Employment Practices Committee
  In 1942, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was created
  In Detroit in 1943, a series of racial altercations led to two
  days of violence in which 34 people died, 25 of them black
  Over time, military leader made racial adjustments when they
  realized that they were wasting manpower
  By the end of the war, there were more than 700,000 black
  servicemen
Women and World War II
         The number of women in the work
         force increased by about 60% and
         they also accounted for a third of
         paid workers in 1945
         Through domestic analogies, male
         employers believed that women would
         find jobs such as cutting airplane
         wings (making a dress pattern) and
         mixing chemicals (making a cake)
         easy
         A large number of women worked for
         the government and became known as
         “government girls”
         A substantial amount of women were
         employed by the military, as both
         WAACs (Army) and Waves (Navy)
     Wrongful Internment
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the
127,000 Japanese Americans (mainly located out
west) were treated terribly and even accused of
aiding Japan
Although there was no evidence, according to Earl
Warren, the apparent passivity of both the Issei
and the Nisei was another example of the danger
they posed
In February 1942, FDR created the War
Relocation Authority and placed more than 100,000
Japanese Americans in “Relocation Centers”
Two years later, the Supreme Court backed the
government in the case Korematsu vs. US, stating
that the relocation was constitutional
Baseball
World War II´s Affect on Baseball
   During a game at the Polo Grounds, in May of
   1941, play stopped so that both fans and
   players could hear the president declare an
   unlimited emergency
   That summer, fans alarmed by the front pages
   found a more reassuring kind of excitement in
   one of the best seasons in baseball history
   This season was highlighted by:
     Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak
     Ted Williams .406 batting average
     Both records still stand today
     Baseball in Japan
The Japanese government denounced the
game of baseball as a bad American
influence
Terms such as: strike, out, and safe
were outlawed
Japanese soldiers, in an attempt to
anger GI’s into revealing their position,
cursed Babe Ruth
Even young Japanese Americans played
inside their internment camps
The Commissioner to the President
The President to the Commissioner
        Players in the War
In all, some 340 MLB players went into uniform in
WWII
American GI’s played baseball everywhere they fought,
teaching it to anyone they had come in contact with




             Ted Williams
             Warren Spahn
              Bob Feller
            Jackie Robinson
            Players in the War
    Although some players saw combat, most stars found
 themselves playing baseball for the Army and Navy to raise
    funds for the war and to boost the morale of fellow
                           soldiers




   Joe                                           Pee Wee
DiMaggio                                          Reese
      All American Girls
     Pro Baseball League
Philip Wrigley, chewing-gum king and owner
of the Chicago Cubs, hoped to keep up
interest in baseball during the war
There were already 40,000 women playing
semi-pro softball across the country and
Wrigley wanted to convert the best of them
to hardball
Hundreds turned up in Chicago for tryouts in
may of 1932 and four teams were formed:
  Rockford Peaches, Racine Belles, Kenosha
    Comets, and South Bend Blue Sox
All American Girls
  The Beauty of Baseball
Not only did players have to be good, but they also had
to be irreproachably feminine
Wrigley felt that Femininity was the keynote of his
league.
   “No pants-wearing, tough talking, female softballer
     will play on any of our four teams.”
Wrigley signed up the Helena Robinson cosmetics firm to
run a charm school to help the players learn grace and
elegance
Girls were required to wear skirts, high heels, and
makeup off the field, otherwise they were fined
Reflecting the post-war trend towards at home diversions
and the return to a more restrictive conception of
femininity, the league folded in 1954
The Gradual Integration of Baseball
   Even though Commissioner Landis repeatedly
   stated that there was no rule against the
   integration of baseball, there had yet to be a
   black player in the Major Leagues as the first
   half of the 20th century came to a close
   The hypocrisy of fighting racism abroad while
   ignoring it at home grew more self evident
   African American picketers appeared at Yankee
   Stadium with signs stating “If we are able to stop
   bullets, why not balls?”
   Landis refused to budge and club owners
   continued to prohibit integrating the playing field
  The Beginning of a New Era
In the Fall of 1944,
Judge Kenesaw Mountain
Landis passed away
His replacement was,
Kentucky politician,
Albert Benjamin “Happy”
Chandler
Benjamin, unlike Landis,
was pro-integration and
felt “If a black boy can
make it in Okinawa and
Guadal Canal, hell, he
can make it in baseball!”
The Man Who Forever Changed the Game
    At UCLA, Jackie Robinson excelled in track,
    basketball, football, and his least favorite of
    them all, baseball
    In 1944, he accepted a $400 a month contract
    to play with the Kansas City Monarchs
    On October 23, 1945, Branch Rickey,
    President, GM, and Co-Owner of the Brooklyn
    Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson
    On April 15, 1947, 26,623 fans (14,000 of
    them black) attended Ebbets Field on opening
    day to see Robinson play for the first time
               No Respect
Although Robinson was loved by the Black population
and Dodgers Fans, he endured an immense amount
of abuse from the rest of the baseball’s audience
At first, his own teammates, many of them
southerners, didn’t want to play with him and signed
a petition that said they’d rather be traded
Some examples of the abuse endured:
   Threats towards him and his family
   Pitches thrown at his head
   Base runners tried to cut him with their cleats
Seven Years Ahead of itís Time
 For all the hardships that Robinson and other
 black players tolerated, and despite the slow pace
 of integration that followed, the MLB was well
 ahead of the US
 A year after Robinson’s first game, the complete
 integration of American Armed Forces finally
 occurred
 It would be seven years before the US Supreme
 Court rejected the notion that separate could
 truly be equal
 It was not until 1965 that Congress enacted
 meaningful legislation to protect the basic right of
 black citizens to vote
The End

				
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