Reading Baseball: Books, Biographies, and the Business of the Game

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  • Backlisted

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Author and scholar Braham Dabscheck muses upon some of baseball's silent yet magnificently important treasures. He examines several topics, including the business of the game (industrial and labor relations, Curt Flood, law, and organized baseball); social commentary biographies (the work of Stephen Jay Gould and Ken Burns, for example); and culture of the game as it spreads across the globe to places like Australia, Japan, and Latin America. This collection of essays is both insightful and remarkable, and is a valuable companion to any enthusiast.

"In Braham Dabscheck's Reading Baseball, we get an understanding of baseball more appropriate to non-fiction than fiction. In writing this work, Dabscheck is taking on more than a century of writing that has been crippled by half-truths, myth-making, sanctimony, and outright mendacity. The book corrects our understanding of the political economy of the national pastime."
~ from the foreword by Dave Zirin, sport columnist and host of Edge of Sports Radio



Foreword ix
Acknowledgments xv
Preface xix

Part I – Business
Chapter 1 A Simple Matter of Control: Industrial Relations in American Baseball 3
Chapter 2 Sport, Law, America! 21
Chapter 3 An American Hero: Curt Flood and his Struggle Against Organized Baseball 35
Chapter 4 The Sporting Cartel in History 49

Part II – Books and BIographies
Chapter 5 Stephen Jay Gould Finds Joy in Mudville 75
Chapter 6 Baseball and Philosophy 81
Chapter 7 Baseball: A Refuge from America 85
Chapter 8 Baseball  Biographies: The Darling of Whiteball and the Epicenter of Blackball 97
Chapter 9 Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Master Paternalist 103
Chapter 10 Shadows in the Spotlight:Two Jewish-American Baseball Players 117
Chapter 11 Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Barry Bonds: The Rise and Fall of American Baseball Stars 129
Chapter 12 The Commissioners 139

Part III – Boundaries and Borderlands
Chapter 13 The Formation and Early Years of the Australian Baseball League 145
Chapter 14 Spalding’s World Tour and Baseball in Asia 187
Chapter 15 Latinos and the National Pastime 195

Recommended Readings 201
Index 205
About the Author 213

News and Reviews

  • Interview with Braham Dabscheck, March 2014. Read it here.
  • Braham Dabscheck attends the 2014 MLB season opener in Sydney. Read about the games here.
  • Review by Gregory H. Wolfe, The Journal of Sport History, fall 2013. Read it here.
  • Braham Dabscheck, labor relations scholar and author of FiT's Reading Baseball, discusses the late Marvin Miller's influence in modernizing the professional landscape of baseball with Jeff Centenera of Australia's SportsBiz magazine, February, 2013. Read the article here.
  • Review and share a brief entry of Dabscheck's Reading Baseball in Book News, February 2013. Click here to read the review online.
  • Dr. Thomas Hickie, Sports Law, University of New South Wales, reviews Dabscheck's Reading Baseball in Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Journal,Volume 6 (1), 2011. Read the review here.
  • " . . . essential reading not just for baseball fans, but for any athlete who cares about the professional employment conditions of themselves and their 'workmates'"- Graem Simms of Inside Sport, May, 2012. Read the review here.
  • "Reading Baseball is valuable to those interested in examining the development of modern day baseball" from Sport Management Review 15 (2012) 257–258. Read the review here.
  • Dabscheck discusses collective bargaining crossroads for the AFL and AFL Players Association in The Age. Read more here.
  • Braham Dabscheck talks about NFL labor disputes in the U.S. Read more here.
  • Learn more about the development of this and other sport books from FiT's editor here.
  • Dabscheck prepares labor relations report about Australia’s elite athletes for the Australian Athletes’ Alliance. Details here.