Ball, Bat and Bitumen: A History of Coalfield Baseball in the Appalachian South

Front Cover
McFarland, Jan 23, 2009 - Sports & Recreation - 212 pages
They emerged from the mines, shook off the coal dust, and stepped onto the diamond. From the early 1900s to the 1950s, baseball games between mine workers were a small-town phenomenon, each team attracting avid and intensely loyal fans. Talented part-time athletes competed at the amateur, semi-pro and professional levels. Equally competitive were the coal company officials, who often brought in ringers, or players of exceptional ability, giving them easier jobs above ground or a padded pay packet. Based on interviews with surviving players, families of deceased players, and contemporary sources, this thoroughgoing history covers not only teams and leagues but their function within the mining communities of Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia. The book features a special section on African-American mining teams, a coalfield map and many photographs.
 

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Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1
Introduction
5
1 The Coal Towns
9
2 The Appalachian Pastime
19
3 The Emperor of Baseball
30
4 Tye Harbers War
43
5 The Boys of the Lonesome Pine
49
6 Moonlighting Bearcats
76
11 The 1951 Hazard Bombers
128
12 The Choices We Live With
136
13 Bob Bowman
144
14 Vince Pankovits and the Mean Season
153
15 The Old Man of the Mountains
163
16 The Women in the Stands
170
Epilogue
187
Chapter Notes
191

7 A WideAwake Town
86
8 Fathers and Sons
94
9 Fertile Soil
104
10 Almost Valhalla
113

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About the author (2009)

L.M. Sutter is an artist, writer and baseball fan. She is a member of SABR and lives in southwest Virginia.

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