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The Representation of American Society in Baseball

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?

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The Representation of American Society in Baseball

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  1. The Representation of American Society in Baseball Alex S. & Seth G.Horace Greeley HS KLM 2006

  2. How has baseball reflected American society over the course of the first half of the 20th century?

  3. 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

  4. 1900s

  5. US History

  6. 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

  7. 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-Goo’s • Populists

  8. 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

  9. Immigration in the 1900s • During the 1900s many Jews, Italians, Asians (first 1/2 of the decade), and Russians entered America

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

  11. Baseball

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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 mobility. Olaf Henriksen Denmark

  15. Alta Weiss 1907 First Woman to Play Professional Baseball

  16. 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

  17. 1910s

  18. US History

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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.”

  24. 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

  25. Baseball

  26. The First, First Pitch William Howard Taft establishes the tradition of throwing out the first pitch on April 14, 1910

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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.”

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. 1920s

  34. US History

  35. 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

  36. 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 Langston Hughes Al Jolson

  37. 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”

  38. Baseball

  39. 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

  40. 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

  41. 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

  42. 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

  43. 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

  44. Who is the Greatest Hitter of All-Time? Josh Gibson Babe Ruth You Decide Batting Average Home Runs .350 ~800 .342 714

  45. 1930s

  46. US History

  47. 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

  48. 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

  49. Baseball

  50. 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...

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