Breaking the Slump: Baseball in the Depression Era

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Columbia University Press, 2002 - History - 337 pages
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In the 1930s, professional baseball remained the king of American sports, in terms of both spectators and participants. In an era that saw the likes of players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Satchel Paige, and other legends of the game such as Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis and John McGraw, baseball easily maintained its place as the nation's foremost athletic pastime. In this history, baseball historian Charles C. Alexander conveys a sense of what baseball was like in the Depression years and what it meant to millions of Americans who could no longer afford to attend games on a regular basis. These first years after the dead-ball era saw on-the-field changes like the first night game, the first use of players' names on uniforms, and the sacrifice-fly rule. Alexander also recounts how individual players were affected by the Depression off the field--deep salary cuts, their finances wiped out by the stock market crash, almost every player working more than one job in the off-season--and takes a deeper look at how the Depression affected minor leaguers and Negro leaguers. A chapter entitled "Baseball Lives" is packed with stories of how players managed and lost their money; how their vices were made public; and how immigrants, the poverty-stricken, and college men all made their way to the big leagues. From the Yankees dynasty of the late 1930s that won four consecutive World Series to stoic Franklin D. Roosevelt tossing the first pitch at the Washington Senators home openers, Alexander captures the mood and texture of the sport seventy years ago.

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User Review  - lindapanzo - LibraryThing

This is a fascinating look at the world of major league baseball and its players during the "hard times" of the 1930s and up to the start of World War 2. Though the author offers interesting ... Read full review

Breaking the slump: baseball in the Depression era

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Alexander, author of a fine biography of Ty Cobb and other baseball books, doesn't strike out with this history of baseball from 1930 until American entry into World War II. But he doesn't get good ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Charles C. Alexander is Distinguished Professor of History at Ohio University.

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