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Title: Baseball%20and%20America

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 20th 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
  • 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
  • Workers Rights
  • Social Justice
  • Temperance
  • Suffragettes
  • Muckrackers
  • Settlement Houses
  • Social Gospel advocates
  • Education reform
  • Trustbusters
  • Banking reform
  • Goo-Goos
  • Populists

Key Aspects of the Progressive Era
  • Hepburn Act of 1906
  • Gave the ICC the power to set maximum railroad
  • 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

The Role of Women in the Progressive Era
Jane Addams Leader in both the womens suffrage
and the pacifist movement
Ida Tarbell One of the leading muckrakers and the
author of The History of the Standard Oil Company
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

Byron Bancroft Johnson
  • Created the American League in 1901, which
    offered higher salaries and better contract
  • Players like Cy Young, John McGraw, and Nap
    Lajoie jumped from the National League
  • Cracked down on dirty play and banned liquor from
  • 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
    immigrants played on teams as a means for social

Olaf Henriksen Denmark
Alta Weiss

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 Roosevelts 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
  • The purpose of the FTC was to stop unfair trade
  • 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 wests
    mining industry
  • They felt that all workers should be united
    within a single union as well as the wage system
  • 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

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
  • 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

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 Cobbs
    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
  • 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
  • Because of the evident problems, Federal Judge
    Kenesaw Mountain Landis was brought in as the
    sports 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
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

Players or Soldiers?
  • Owners argued that baseball be considered an
    essential industry so that players could not be
  • 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
  • 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
  • Americas 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 Americas 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 everyones 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
  • 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

The End of the Dead-Ball Era
  • In 1920, Major League Baseball instituted a new
    set of rules which reduced the pitchers arsenal
    and improved the hitters chance at making solid
  • 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
    baseballs 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 eras
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 stations 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
  • 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
You Decide
Batting Average
Home Runs
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 didnt instantly
    plunge all Americans into debt, it left 1/3 of
    all the countrys population in serious need of
    help by 1932
  • Americas 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.

FDR and the New Deal
  • After entering office, FDR almost immediately
    took action in an attempt to fix what his
    predecessor chose not to
  • Roosevelts New Deal had three components direct
    relief, economic recovery, and financial reform
  • Although a couple of FDRs agencies were
    unsuccessful, a great number helped to recover a
    struggling nation
  • In 1938, he also created the FSLA, establishing
    minimum wage

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

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • FDR realized the importance of social outlets in
    the midst of the depression and emphasized
    baseballs continuation
  • In the Presidents mind, politics and baseball
    were intertwined, and both were useful in
    supporting societys 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 publics 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 FDRs 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 DiMaggio
Lou Gehrig
Hank Greenberg
Baseball's New Deal
Baseball, like the New Deal, created new
attractions in hopes of stimulating attendance
and popularity
  • 1933All-Star Game at Comiskey Park, Chicago
  • 1935The first night game is played in Cincinnati

  • The Baseball Hall of Fame is opened on June 12,
  • The first players inducted were Ty Cobb, Babe
    Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter
    Johnson in 1936

US History
  • 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 countrys 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
  • 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,
  • 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

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

World War IIs 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
  • 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 DiMaggios 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
  • Japanese soldiers, in an attempt to anger GIs
    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
  • American GIs played baseball everywhere they
    fought, teaching it to anyone they had come in
    contact with

Ted Williams
Bob Feller
Warren Spahn
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
Pee Wee Reese
Joe DiMaggio
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
  • Reflecting the post-war trend towards at home
    diversions and the return to a more restrictive
    conception of femininity, the league folded in

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
    baseballs audience
  • At first, his own teammates, many of them
    southerners, didnt want to play with him and
    signed a petition that said theyd rather be
  • 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 Robinsons first game, the complete
    integration of American Armed Forces finally
  • 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