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Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy Paperback – May 29, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; Exp Sub edition (May 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195106202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195106206
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,796,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"The best baseball book of the decade."--Journal of Sports History


"Rich, intelligent cultural history.... Fascinating."--The New York Times


About the Author


Jules Tygiel, a native of Brooklyn, is Professor of History at San Francisco State University and founder of the Pacific Ghost League. He is the author of The Great Los Angeles Swindle: Oil, Stocks, and Scandal During the Roaring Twenties.

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Customer Reviews

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Although the Author is a Professor the book reads like a novel and I had a hard time putting it down.
John A. Lefcourte
Jules Tygiel gave me that (in an unbiased, thorough manner with great historical perspective) and then some!
Susan Graham
Still, BASEBALL'S GREAT EXPERIMENT is a well-researched look at an interesting period in sports history.
K.A.Goldberg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Professor Tygiel's book is the definitive work on the importance of Jackie Robinson to American history. Tygiel writes a well-researched, dynamic narrative that illustrates Robinson's incredible achievements and strength of character. This book, unlike others on Robinson, focuses on the years before and after 1947 as well. By doing this, Tygiel reveals the impact of Robinson's achievement in the context of the emerging civil rights movement. Jackie Robinson's story was not his alone- it was the story of the ballplayers who came after him. The book also shows how Robinson's courageous seasons personified the changing American conscience regarding race in the post-war era.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Susan Graham on December 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book to learn more about Jackie Robinson and his relationship with Branch Rickey. Jules Tygiel gave me that (in an unbiased, thorough manner with great historical perspective) and then some! I gained an increased appreciation for the role of the Negro Leagues in the development of Major League baseball. I gained insight into the changing perceptions of baseball management, players and fans toward African-Americans and their contributions to the game. I was momentarily transported to that time, not as long ago as I would have thought, where non-white players were treated as second-class citizens. It was really an eye-opener. In addition, Mr. Tygiel's style was so honest and even-handed that I can't wait to read his book, "Past Time: Baseball As History," which I ordered today!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K.A.Goldberg on September 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This scholarly yet readable look at baseball integration from 1947-1959 goes well beyond the inspiring story of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey. Author Jules Tygiel also informs about such secondary figures as Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Hank Aaron, Pumpsie Green, etc. Tygiel shows that integration proceeded slowly and in the face of strong resistance - the Boston Red Sox didn't add a black player until 1959, three years after Jackie Robinson retired. We also see how baseball integration spurred civil rights, while hastening the end of the Negro Leagues. I'd have liked more coverage of baseball's declining attendance after 1949 (probably caused by television), and the suspected correlation between athletic dominance and underclass poverty. Still, BASEBALL'S GREAT EXPERIMENT is a well-researched look at an interesting period in sports history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Howard Roitman on October 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the seminal work on this subject and is important for an understanding of race relations in this country, as well as the transformation of baseball into the game as we know it today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barry Sparks VINE VOICE on May 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
Author Jules Tygiel describes "Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy," as "Not a biography of Jackie Robinson, but rather a broad social history of the integration process in baseball." Naturally, Robinson plays a central role in the story.

In the afterword of the 25th anniversary edition of the classic work, Tygiel stresses that the book is also the history of the Negro Leagues, the campaign to end segregation in baseball, the experiences of other African Americans and non-White Hispanic players in both the minor and major leagues.

The segregation of baseball is a sad chapter in its history. In 1942, Baseball Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis said there was no rule of any kind prohibiting Negroes from playing in the major leagues. Baseball blamed other parties and circumstances beyond their control for the absence of Negroes in the majors. Baseball executive Larry MacPhail blamed the absence of Blacks on ignorant protesters, inadequate black athletes and the greedy Negro Leagues.

Unbelievably, in 1945 The Sporting News stated there was "not a single Negro player with major league possibilities." Around the same time, Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller said he could not see any future in major league baseball for Jackie Robinson.

World War II and the integration of the armed forces was the watershed in the struggle for civil rights, according to Tygiel. The efforts of black sportswriters, the Communist Party and a handful of white sportswriters helped open the door to integration.

Robinson was the right man to integrate baseball because he was "tough, intelligent and proud.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gary L on April 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THis is a wonderful book that I can't praise enough. If you - like me - have been putting off reading about Jackie Robinson and the other black baseball pioneers of the late 1940's and 1950's, this is the book for you. It's a shocking description of just what life was like for blacks at that time. It's a real eye-opener that needs to be read by all baseball fans and all students of American history.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paula Waggoner on July 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have a better understanding of integregation and how it affected every American no matter what his race or beliefs. Baseball was a pioneering vechicle for social questioning and challenged many men other than Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson into greatness. They were courageous men who had to fight convention and who lead other Americans to follow their example. I realize the impact integration had on everyone involved Black or White: the team owners, the players, broadcasters, vendors, and families. Many individuals sacrificed to improve their freedom and the freedom given to other humans. Mr. Rickey and Mr. Robinson are not portrayed as mythological figures but rather as real men I can respect more because they are like all of us. I am convinced that Mr. Robinson endured because he had strong character and determination and he believed in "the experiment." I feel I know him better now that I know more about his struggles and triumphs. I kept reading because everything was explained simply and with logic and with an absence of bias.
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