Past Time

Past Time : Baseball As History

3.92 (125 ratings by Goodreads)
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Few writers know more about baseball's role in American life than Jules Tygiel. In Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy, Tygiel penned a classic work, a landmark book that towers above most writing about the sport. Now he ranges across the last century and a half in an intriguing look at baseball as history, and history as reflected in baseball. In Past Time, Tygiel gives us a seat behind home plate, where we catch the ongoing interplay of baseball and American society. We begin in New York in the 1850s, where pre-Civil War nationalism shaped the emergence of a "national pastime." We witness the true birth of modern baseball with the development of its elaborate statistics-the brainchild of English-born reformer, Henry Chadwick. Chadwick, Tygiel writes, created the sport's "historical essence" and even imparted a moral dimension to the game with his concepts of "errors" and "unearned" runs. Tygiel offers equally insightful looks at the role of rags-to-riches player-owners in the formation of the upstart American League and he describes the complex struggle to establish African-American baseball in a segregated world.
He also examines baseball during the Great Depression (when Branch Rickey and Larry MacPhail saved the game by perfecting the farm system, night baseball, and radio broadcasts), the ironies of Bobby Thomson's immortal "shot heard 'round the world," the rapid relocation of franchises in the 1950s and 1960s, and the emergence of rotisserie leagues and fantasy camps in the 1980s. In Past Time, Jules Tygiel provides baseball history with a difference. Instead of a pitch-by-pitch account of great games, in this groundbreaking book, the field is American history and baseball itself is the star.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195146042
  • 9780195146042
  • 2,108,609

Review quote

A collection of essays by baseball's preeminent historian...Tygiel comments on different stages of baseball history as reflections of the economic, social and technological trends of their respective periods. * The Seattle Times * Tygiel demonstrates...that baseball, far from being a freak show at the periphery of the country's public and important business, has been part and parcel of that business throughout its history.... Just as we can no longer isolate popular culture from the larger culture of which it is a part, so we must acknowledge and explore the deeper meanings of aspects of our lives that previously were scanted or ignored. Baseball, which is indeed our 'national game' unto this
day, is one of these, and [this book] treats it with the seriousness it deserves. * The Washington Post Book World * In this collection of nine essays, [Tygiel has] gathered energetic and cogent discussions of the game. The National Game shows how the earlier version of baseball played in New York became the basis for the modern game.... Adjusting to the New Order fascinates with a portrait of Henry Chadwick, the inventor of the stat.... Perhaps the finest, The Homes of the Braves explores how the movement of teams in the 1950's and 1960's, starting with
the Braves' move from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953, reflected America's changing demographics. * Publishers Weekly * The essays here cover baseball from the 1850s to the present, and Tygiel's incisive style is apparent in each. Tygiel brings to life such interesting though little remembered individuals as Henry Chadwick, whom Tygiel deems the founder of baseball statistics. * Library JournaL * An engaging foray into the ways in which Americans have enjoyed and interpreted baseball throughout several generations of its existance. * Doubletake * The book tracks baseball's journey as it adjusts to * and is modified by * Baseball's deep, continual integration into American society is the theme in this book. [It] consists of independent chapters that focus on how society shaped the game, and vice versa, during specific periods of American history. * The Columbus Dispatch *
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About Jules Tygiel

Jules Tygiel is Professor of History at San Francisco State University. He is the author of Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and his Legacy.
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Rating details

125 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 26% (33)
4 46% (57)
3 22% (28)
2 5% (6)
1 1% (1)
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