Cover image for More than a pastime : an oral history of baseball fans
More than a pastime : an oral history of baseball fans
Freedman, William, 1938-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., [1998]

Physical Description:
x, 253 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV865.A1 F72 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Basing his claims on more than 130 in-depth interviews with baseball fans from ages 10 to 80, the author arrives at some extraordinary conclusions about the prismatic richness of the fan's experience of baseball and its importance in his or her life. The responses, 40 of which are reproduced in this oral history, suggest three major hypotheses: that how the youthful fan regards the game is a resonant expression of his personality, his family and social situation, and his fundamental needs; that baseball, far more than a pastime or idle entertainment, serves a number of extremely important emotional and developmental functions--moral, social, aesthetic, and psychological--in the lives of its younger fans; and that one of baseball's less frequently heralded virtues is its extraordinary richness, its capacity to turn a different face to almost every fan and to satisfy that remarkably wide range of personalities, backgrounds, and needs. What these interviews suggest and what the author's introductory sections argue is that to its most ardent young fans, baseball is not only a source of great and lasting pleasure, but an important socializing agent and a vital expression and determinant of character.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Though the subtitle indicates the focus of this book is on the fans of baseball, it is also the description and analysis of the game that makes this work unique. Freedman compares baseball to an orchestra playing a symphony in order to show how the sport impacts a fan differently than any other athletic contest. In an effort to discern the role and importance of baseball in the lives of baseball fans, interviews were conducted with individuals between the ages of 10 and 81 from 1992 to 1996 in nine locations from New York to California. For many reasons Yankee and Dodger fans are disproportionately represented. Responses are given verbatim in the text, which enhances the reading by revealing how deeply fans are affected by the game. Even though baseball has been studied more than any other sport, Freedman suggests that the game has an importance we have hardly begun to understand. Additional materials about fan alienation, the impact of TV, greed of owners, the recent strike, and more inform readers about the components of the sport, which is no longer the "American Game." An excellent book for all interested in baseball. J. Davenport; emeritus, Auburn University