Baseball in Blue and Gray: The National Pastime during the Civil War
George B. Kirsch
During the Civil War, Americans from homefront to battlefront played baseball as never before. While soldiers slaughtered each other over the country's fate, players and fans struggled over the form of the national pastime. George Kirsch gives us a color commentary of the growth and transformation of baseball during the Civil War. He shows that the game was a vital part of the lives of many a soldier and civilian--and that baseball's popularity had everything to do with surging American nationalism.
By 1860, baseball was poised to emerge as the American sport. Clubs in northeastern and a few southern cities played various forms of the game. Newspapers published statistics, and governing bodies set rules. But the Civil War years proved crucial in securing the game's place in the American heart. Soldiers with bats in their rucksacks spread baseball to training camps, war prisons, and even front lines. As nationalist fervor heightened, baseball became patriotic. Fans honored it with the title of national pastime. War metaphors were commonplace in sports reporting, and charity games were scheduled. Decades later, Union general Abner Doubleday would be credited (wrongly) with baseball's invention. The Civil War period also saw key developments in the sport itself, including the spread of the New York-style of play, the advent of revised pitching rules, and the growth of commercialism.
Kirsch recounts vivid stories of great players and describes soldiers playing ball to relieve boredom. He introduces entrepreneurs who preached the gospel of baseball, boosted female attendance, and found new ways to make money. We witness bitterly contested championships that enthralled whole cities. We watch African Americans embracing baseball despite official exclusion. And we see legends spring from the pens of early sportswriters.
Rich with anecdotes and surprising facts, this narrative of baseball's coming-of-age reveals the remarkable extent to which America's national pastime is bound up with the country's defining event.
Nation and also made northerners and westerners more conscious of their attachment to the Union. The inﬂux of foreigners inﬂamed patriotic passions, as many citizens resented the arrival of thousands of Irish, Germans, English, and other Europeans. In foreign affairs the United States defeated Mexico in a war that secured Texas and brought Utah, New Mexico, and California under the Stars and Stripes. A negotiated settlement with Great Britain over the Oregon boundary averted another war, although.
1844. A graduate of that town’s Institute for Colored Youth, Catto later served there as a teacher and principal. During the war he campaigned for Lincoln’s re-election in 1864 in Virginia. He also enlisted in a “colored” local militia in Philadelphia. After he war he served as Inspector General to the Fifth Brigade of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Initially a cricket player during his high school years, he apparently switched to baseball during the war. During the postwar period Catto joined.
Discipline and rigid curriculum imposed by administrations. The young men responded by founding literary and debating societies, fraternities, magazines, and political, musical, and religious clubs. Those who were more physically inclined naturally turned to athletic clubs, with rowing leading the way. Harvard and Yale inaugurated intercollegiate athletics in the United States with a crew race in August 1852. Seven years later baseball teams from Amherst and Williams played a match by the.
The pecuniary beneﬁt and personal interests of an outside class, who care no more for the game, as a means of enjoyable exercise and recreation, than they do for the improvement of the equine stock of the country by means of the race courses, their sole motive being the gratiﬁcation of their gambling propensities, at the expense of a manly pastime and healthful exercise.” It concluded that “it is about time these serious, business100 C H A M P I O N S H I P C O M P E T I T I O N A N D C O M M E.
For admission, with the gate receipts (25–50 cents for feature matches) divided between himself and the clubs. Band music (including the “Star Spangled Banner”) and an exhibition game highlighted the opening day’s festivities on May 15, which attracted several thousand spectators, including representatives from several nines of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Newspaper reporters praised the new ballpark, especially because they believed that it would improve crowd control and encourage more female.