Cover image for Minor league baseball : community building through hometown sports
Minor league baseball : community building through hometown sports
Kraus, Rebecca S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Haworth Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xii, 206 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV863.A1 K72 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Examine the big-league benefits of minor league baseball!

The Minor League Baseball: Community Building Through Hometown Sports examines the role played by minor league baseball in hundreds of cities and towns across the United States. Written from the unique perspective of a sociologist who also happens to be an avid baseball fan, the book looks at the contributions minor league teams make to the quality of life in their communities, creating focal points for spirit and cohesiveness while providing opportunities for interaction and entertainment. The book links theory and experience to present a "sociology of baseball" that explains the symbiotic relationship which brings people together for a common purpose--to root, root, root for the home team.

From the author:

Minor league baseball is played across the country in more than 100 very different communities. These communities seem to share a special bond with their teams. As with all sports teams, there is a symbiotic relationship between the team and the city or town that it represents. In the case of major league professional sports, the relationship is often fueled by economic outcomes. On the minor league level, the relationship appears to go beyond mere money and prestige. Minor league teams occupy a special place in our hearts. We are more forgiving when they lose, and extremely proud of them when they win.

Minor League Baseball: Community Building Through Hometown Sports is a detailed look at the connection between town and team, including: economic benefits (development strategies, community growth) intangible benefits (ballpark camaraderie, hometown pride) fan attachment and attendance (demographic variables, stadium accessibility, "home court advantage") case studies of two Maryland minor-league franchises--the Class AA Bowie Baysox and the Class A Hagerstown Suns Minor League Baseball: Community Building Through Hometown Sports also includes an introduction to the organizational structure of the minor leagues, a history of each current league, and charts and tables on attendance figures and franchise relocations. This book is essential reading for sociologists, sport sociologists/historians, academics and/or practitioners in the fields of community sociology and psychology, and of course, baseball fans.

Author Notes

Rebecca Susan Kraus received her PhD in sociology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Her research interests have focused on community sociology, sport sociology, and social movements. A member of the Washington-Baltimore chapter of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR), Dr. Kraus assisted the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission in developing an exhibit on the Negro Leagues and sandlot baseball in Prince George County and is the historian for the YWCA of the National Capital Area. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Sociology of Education and the Journal of Sport Sociology

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Freelance sociologist and minor league baseball fan extraordinaire Kraus has written a brief melange of history, sociology, and personal reminiscences. She argues that minor league baseball in the US transcends economic benefits or disadvantages for communities. In fact, she concludes, the intangible benefits of the sport may be its most crucial ones: "Minor League Baseball [sic] ... will always find a way to represent the spirit of community and join its fans together." As she admits, however, her statistical analysis fails to show a clear correlation between the existence of minor league baseball and the usual indicators of a high quality of life in a community. Nonetheless, based on limited anecdotal evidence and personal experience as well as a brief examination of two Maryland communities with minor league teams, Kraus still believes that communities are better off with minor league baseball. Unfortunately, this study is poorly written and organized, with far too much listing and far too little anecdotal evidence. Kraus is probably right about the community building aspects of this sport, but her book simply does not prove her case. Of value primarily to a few experts and die-hard baseball fans. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Public libraries. A. O. Edmonds Ball State University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Chapter 1. Introductionp. 1
Safe at Homep. 1
Minor League Baseball Through Timep. 3
Minor League Basicsp. 4
Minor League Reviewsp. 8
Play Ball!p. 9
Chapter 2. Baseball Coast to Coastp. 11
National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL)p. 11
Independent Leaguesp. 43
Conclusionp. 53
Chapter 3. The Lure of Minor League Baseballp. 57
The Nation Awakensp. 57
Academics Take Noticep. 58
Sociology and Minor League Communitiesp. 72
Chapter 4. The Evolution of Minor League Baseballp. 87
Historical Overviewp. 87
Minor League Baseball As a Different Kind of Businessp. 95
Franchise Relocation and Name Changesp. 98
Corporate Sponsorshipp. 111
Conclusionp. 111
Chapter 5. A Tale of Two Minor League Citiesp. 113
Baseball As a Maryland Traditionp. 114
Hagerstown, Marylandp. 116
Bowie, Marylandp. 122
Chapter 6. The Impact of Minor League Baseballp. 127
Theory Revisitedp. 127
Minor League Historyp. 129
Hagerstown and Bowie: Theory in Actionp. 130
Conclusionp. 131
Epilogue: A Shelter in the Stormp. 133
Appendix A Minor League Attendance and Number of Teams, by Year and Era, 1947 to 1990p. 137
Appendix B Development of the Data Setp. 141
Hypothesesp. 141
Construction of the Data Setp. 142
Data Usedp. 144
Statistical Methods and Modelsp. 155
Notesp. 167
Indexp. 187