Reporting John Ostapkovich
By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – On the day of the Phillies home opener, we also take a look at the history of baseball as told by a Villanova Law professor.
The story of baseball parallels that of America itself but in ways you won’t expect in “A People’s History of Baseball” by Mitchell Nathanson. He says it was called America’s pass-time long before it was as a wedge in an epic struggle by people with then-new money but the wrong ethnicities, against exclusive WASP cricket clubs.
“There were Irish. They were German Jews. They were kept out of the top level clubs so they gravitated toward a different sport – baseball — which was a lower level sport, played particularly in New England, and they made that their game and presented it as the American game as compared to cricket, which they called an English game.”
The result was called the National League. The book also offers a different perspective on the integration of the sport, hardly a great break with the past, but excruciating foot-dragging and double-standard.