Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

Abstract

This study examines the development of baseball in Chicago from 1876-1906, analyzing the growth of the top-flight professional organizations, the development of amateur and semiprofessional baseball, youth teams, high school and college nines, the rise of African-American baseball, the birth of both the National and American Leagues, and the zenith of the city's control and devotion to baseball, the 1906 World Series. The sport attracted players and fans from the growing immigrant population, laborers from factories, white-collar employees of the downtown business district, and African-Americans.

This dissertation brings together the multiple layers of baseball in Chicago and explores the deep cultural significance the sport had on the city. The game of indoor baseball, the precursor to softball, arose in Chicago at the end of the nineteenth century created by young, middle-class men at a private boat club. African-Americans forged their own course and created baseball teams that played in the complexity of the city's race relations. Outdoor baseball in high schools and colleges materialized at the close of the nineteenth century and became a foundation of the schools' athletic programs by the beginning of the twentieth century. Amateur and semiprofessional teams regularly played on fields spread throughout the city, built their own leagues, and attracted fans. Both the National and American Leagues developed in Chicago during the period and their strength culminated with the 1906 World Series.

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