Cover image for A whole new game : off the field changes in baseball, 1946-1960
A whole new game : off the field changes in baseball, 1946-1960
Rossi, John P.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., [1999]

Physical Description:
ix, 253 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV863.A1 R67 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Bismarck once said that God looked after drunkards, children and the U.S. of A. Some say that baseball should be added to the list. It must have been divine intervention that led the sport through a series of transformative challenges from the end of World War II to the game's first expansion in 1961. During this period baseball was forced to make a number of painful choices. From 1949 to 1954, attendance dropped more than 30 percent, as once loyal fans turned to other activities, started going to see more football, and began watching television. Also, the sport had to wrestle with racial integration, franchise shifts and unionization while trying to keep a firm hold on the minds and emotions of the public. This work chronicles how baseball, with imagination and some foresight, survived postwar challenges. Some of the solutions came about intelligently, some clumsily, but by 1960 baseball was a stronger, healthier and better balanced institution than ever before.

Author Notes

John P. Rossi has written on baseball history for various journals and periodically teaches a course at LaSalle University on the relationship between baseball and American history

Reviews 1

Choice Review

While promising an analysis of off-the-field changes and how they affected baseball during the 1946-60 time period, this book really simply reports box scores and provides descriptions of who did what and when--a conventional history full of names and batting averages. Occasionally Rossi (LaSalle Univ.) mentions what is happening in society at a particular time, but he never puts the games into context or shows how off-the-field changes actually affected baseball. The writing style is uneven and many points are obvious: "The Dodgers won because they were the best team" does not add anything to our understanding of baseball during the postwar years. Much is made of the racial integration of baseball, but no comparison is made to other major sports that have added more minorities, even though they integrated later. Only in the seven-page conclusion does Rossi begin to analyze these changes, and even this section is followed by 17 pages of statistics. The descriptions and statistics are useful but are inadequate for understanding why events happened. Though accessible to general readers and lower-division undergraduates, this book falls short of its promise. D. M. Furst; San Jose State University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
1. Baseball Recovers from the War, 1946p. 5
2. The Baseball Boom, 1947-1948p. 27
3. The Yankees Return to Power, 1949-1950p. 57
4. A New Yankee Dynasty, 1951-1953p. 79
5. Baseball in Stagnation, 1954-1956p. 113
6. California Dreamin', 1957-1958p. 149
7. Baseball Expands, 1959-1960p. 179
Conclusionp. 215
Appendix 1 Statisticsp. 223
Appendix 2 Attendance Figuresp. 239
Bibliographyp. 243
Indexp. 247