Baseball's Pivotal Era, 1945-1951 by William Marshall

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"With personal interviews of players and owners and with over two decades of research in newspapers and archives, Bill Marshall tells of the players, the pennant races, and the officials who shaped one of the most memorable eras in sports and American history. At the end of World War II, soldiers returning from overseas hungered to resume their love affair with baseball. Spectators still identified with players, whose salaries and off-season employment as postmen, plumbers, farmers, and insurance salesmen resembled their own. It was a time when kids played baseball on sandlots and in pastures, fans followed the game on the radio, and tickets were affordable. The outstanding play of Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Bob Feller, Don Newcombe, Warren Spahn, and many others dominated the field. But perhaps no performance was more important than that of Jackie Robinson, whose entrance into the game broke the color barrier, won him the respect of millions of Americans, and helped set the stage for the civil rights movement. Baseball's Pivotal Era also records the attempt to organize the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Mexican League's success in luring players south of the border that led to a series of lawsuits that almost undermined baseball's reserve clause and antitrust exemption. The result was spring training pay, uniform contracts, minimum salary levels, player representation, and a pension plan--the very issues that would divide players and owners almost fifty years later. During these years, the game was led by A.B. ""Happy"" Chandler, a hand-shaking, speech-making, singing Kentucky politician. Most owners thought he would be easily manipulated, unlike baseball's first commissioner, the autocratic Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis. Instead, Chandler's style led one owner to complain that he was the ""player's commissioner, the fan's commissioner, the press and radio commissioner, everybody's commissioner but the men who pay him.""


About William Marshall

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Marshall is Director of Special Collections and Archives at the University of Kentucky. He has specialized in the oral history of baseball for over 20 years.
Published February 25, 1999 by The University Press of Kentucky. 528 pages
Genres: History, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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Marshall delivers a thoughtful and detailed picture of the crucial postwar years when baseball rallied to win.

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When some of Robinson's teammates signed a petition stating their refusal to play with him, Marshall writes, the soon to be suspended Durocher responded with some immortal words that did not go down in American history: he said ""they could wipe their ass with the petition."" Marshall also looks ...

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