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Synopsis

To most Americans, baseball is just a sport; but to those who own baseball teams--and those who play on them--our national pastime is much more than a game. In this book, Robert Burk traces the turbulent labor history of American baseball since 1921. His comprehensive, readable account details the many battles between owners and players that irrevocably altered the business of baseball.

During what Burk calls baseball's "paternalistic era," from 1921 to the early 1960s, the sport's management rigidly maintained a system of racial segregation, established a network of southern-based farm teams that served as a captive source of cheap replacement labor, and crushed any attempts by players to create collective bargaining institutions. In the 1960s, however, the paternal order crumbled, eroded in part by the civil rights movement and the competition of television. As a consequence, in the "inflationary era" that followed, both players and umpires established effective unions that successfully pressed for higher pay, pensions, and greater occupational mobility--and then fought increasingly bitter struggles to hold on to these hard-won gains.

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