Sports in American Life

Edition: 3rd
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2016-08-09
Publisher(s): Wiley
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The third edition of author Richard O. Davies highly praised narrative of American sports, Sports in American Life: A History, features extensive revisions and updates to its presentation of an interpretative history of the relationship of sports to the larger themes of U.S. history. Updated include a new section on concussions caused by contact sports and new biographies of John Wooden and Joe Paterno. 

  • Features extensive revisions and updates, along with a leaner, faster-paced narrative than previous editions
  • Addresses the social, economic, and cultural interaction between sports and gender, race, class, and other larger issues
  • Provides expanded coverage of college sports, women in sports, race and racism in organized sports, and soccers sharp rise in popularity
  • Features an all-new section that tackles the growing controversy of head injuries and concussions caused by contact sports

Author Biography

Richard O. Davies is Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, at the University of Nevada, Reno. His books include Rivals! The Ten Greatest American Sports Rivalries of the 20th Century (Wiley, 2010), Sports in American Life: A History (Wiley, 2007, 2012), Betting the Line: Sports Wagering in American Life (2001), and Main Street Blues: The Decline of Small-Town America (1998). Davies was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 2013 and  continues to pursue an active retirement.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction 1

Sports in American Culture 2

Sports and American History 3

Notes 6

1 The Emergence of Organized Sports, 1607–1860 7

Games in Colonial New England 8

Recreations in Southern Colonies 10

The Revolutionary Era and Beyond 14

The Democratization of Racing: The Trotters 17

Racing by Land and Sea 19

The Formative Years of Prizefi ghting 22

Baseball: The Creation of “America’s Game” 27

Notes 31

2 Baseball: “America’s Game” 33

The Early Professional Era 35

Henry Chadwick and a Game of Numbers 38

Growing Pains 40

Early Years of the Professional Game 42

Emergence of the Modern Game 46

The 1880s: A Decade of Rancor 48

Notes 51

3 Sports and the Emergence of Modern America, 1865–1920 53

Prizefi ghting Enters the Mainstream 54

Sports and Social Class 58

Strong Bodies and Devout Souls 62

America’s Greatest Athlete 66

Organized Play for the Modern Era 69

Interscholastic Sports 71

Notes 72

4 The Emergence of King Football, 1869–1920 74

The Early Years of College Athletics 75

Football American Style 76

Yale and the Creation of Football 78

Football Moves West 82

Football as Spectacle 85

Football in Crisis 87

Notes 94

5 The National Pastime: Baseball, 1890–1930 95

The 1890s: Years of Discord 96

Ban Johnson and the American League 98

The Cyclone and the Georgia Peach 100

Masters of Strategy 103

The Federal League Challenge 105

Crisis: Gamblers Fix the World Series of 1919 106

The Babe 112

Baseball’s Golden Age 116

Notes 118

6 Playing Nice: Women and Sports, 1860–1945 120

The Early Years of Women’s Sports 121

The Demise of Women’s Sports 126

Helen and Trudy: America’s First Women Sports Stars 127

Babe: The Texas Tomboy 129

Women Play Hardball: The Peaches and the Chicks 134

“The Instinctive Urge to Compete” 136

Notes 137

7 Sports in the Age of Ballyhoo, Depression, and War, 1920–1945 139

Gee Whiz: Sports Journalism during the 1920s 140

Heroes for a Heroic Age 143

Growing Pains: The National Football League 146

Boxing Gains Respectability 148

Baseball’s Long Slump 151

Seabiscuit: Sports Star for the Depression Era 157

Baseball during the War Years 160

Notes 161

8 Sports on Campus, 1920–1950 163

The Essential Myth of Big-Time College Athletics 163

Football: Driving the Bus 166

Football’s Golden Age: The Twenties 168

Knute Rockne and the Making of Notre Dame Football 171

The Second Challenge to Big-Time Football 176

Hoop Dreams 179

Hoop Nightmares 181

Notes 184

9 America’s Great Dilemma 185

The “Fight of the Century” 186

Separate and Unequal: The Negro Leagues 190

Out of the Cotton Fields of Alabama: Jesse and Joe 194

Jackie 200

In the Shadow of Jackie Robinson 204

Gentlepeople and Sanctimonious Hypocrites 206

The Baron and the Bear 210

Notes 214

10 “The Thrill of Victory, the Agony of Defeat”: Television Revolutionizes Sports 217

The Formative Years of Sports Television 218

Tale of the Tube: Boxing 221

Professional Football Comes of Age 223

Pete and Roone 225

Super Sunday and Monday Night Madness 229

ESPN: All Sports, All the Time 233

Notes 237

11 The Big Business of College Sports 239

The Sanity Code Is Scuttled 240

Creation of a Cartel 241

Emphasis and De-emphasis 242

Woody and the Bear 243

The Wizard of Westwood 249

Madness in March 254

The NCAA as Enforcer 256

Intercollegiate Athletics: Education or Big Business? 259

Turmoil, Realignment, and a Playoff System 263

The Futility of Reform 264

Trouble in Happy Valley 266

Notes 271

12 Play for Pay: Professional Sports in America 273

A Tale of Three Cities 273

Urban Relocation, Redevelopment, and Promotion 276

The Economics of Organized Baseball 278

Baseball’s Labor Disputes 284

The Magic of Parity: The National Football League 287

The Wondrous World of Magic, Larry, and Michael 291

Always Turn Left: NASCAR Takes the Checkered Flag 295

Beyond the Bright Lights: Hockey and Soccer 302

Notes 304

13 Do You Believe in Miracles? 306

The Cold War Shapes the Olympics 309

Television Transforms the Olympics 316

The Games Must Go On 320

To Boycott or Not to Boycott 323

The Triumph of Professionalism 325

Athens and Beyond 328

Notes 330

14 The Persistent Dilemma of Race 331

“I’m the Greatest” 333

Boycott, Backlash, and Beyond 337

Breakthrough: A New Era in American Sports 340

Hank Aaron Catches the Babe 347

Can White Men Jump? 349

Tiger 353

Sister Act: Venus and Serena 358

Notes 363

15 Playing Nice No Longer: Women’s Sports, 1960–2015 365

Deceit and Deception: The NCAA and Gender Equity 366

Titanic Rivalry: Connecticut/Tennessee Basketball 371

Billie Jean Sparks a Revolution 377

Viva America! World Cup Winners 381

“You’ve Come a Long Way Baby!” Or Have You? 384

Title IX at Forty 387

Notes 389

16 “Only in America!” 391

Triumph of the Swoosh 392

The World of Jimmy the Greek 396

The Tragedy of Pete Rose 399

The Demise of Boxing 403

Iron Mike and the King of Boxing 405

Whatever It Takes 409

Under a Cloud: Barry Bonds Chases Hank Aaron 416

Notes 419

17 The Democratization of Sports 421

Community Cauldron: High School Sports 421

Youth Sports 425

Golf ’s Golden Age: Arnie, the Super Mex, and the Golden Bear 430

A Tale of Two American Cyclists 436

“Sidewalk Surfing” and the Rise of “X-treme” Sports 441

Notes 448

Epilogue 451

Notes 460

Index 462

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