Despite playing a high quality of baseball, the players frequently engaged in various forms of clowning that perpetuated prevailing stereotypes of blacks to appeal to spectators.From the 1920s until the ’50s, separate black professional leagues—the major league baseball.
The series was, said in 1911, “the very quintessence and consummation of the Most Perfect Thing in America.” Each fall it absorbed the entire nation. Bush, a baseball player during his years at Yale University, the foreign press struggled to translate the president’s routine use of baseball metaphors.
Baseball terms and phrases, such as “He threw me a curve,” “Her presentation covered all the bases,” and “He’s really out in left field,” soon became part of the national vocabulary, so entrenched is baseball in the ordinary conversation of Americans. As early as the 1850s, baseball images began to appear in periodicals, and, in the 20th century, popular illustrator Norman Rockwell often used baseball as the subject for his Take Me Out to the Ballgame” remain among the best-known poems and songs, respectively, among Americans.
After that period, however, blacks had to carve out a separate world of baseball.
Dozens of black teams faced local semiprofessional teams while barnstorming throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
players each on a field with four white bases laid out in a diamond (i.e., a square oriented so that its diagonal line is vertical).
Teams alternate positions as batters (offense) and fielders (defense), exchanging places when three members of the batting team are “put out.” As batters, players try to hit the ball out of the reach of the fielding team and make a complete circuit around the bases for a “run.” The team that scores the most runs in nine innings (times at bat) wins the game.
While baseball possessed enormous integrative powers, the game’s history also has been interwoven with and reflective of major social and cultural cleavages.
Until the first decades of the 20th century, middle-class Evangelical Protestants viewed the sport with profound suspicion.
They associated baseball, or at least the professional version of the game, with ne’er-do-wells, immigrants, the working class, drinking, gambling, and general rowdiness.
Conversely, these very qualities provided a foothold for the upward ascent of ethnic groups from the nation’s ghettos.
American colleges and universities even began to offer courses on baseball literature, and baseball films likewise proliferated.