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tv   Lectures in History Baseball During the Depression  CSPAN  August 22, 2022 9:21am-10:21am EDT

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teaches a class about baseball during the great depression. >> for today, based on american for today, we'll be doing again our normal theme of baseball as american history. but in specifically today we're going to focus on what i've called the years of ballyhoo or baseball during the great depression. this will incorporate a lot of things we've been dealing with throughout the semester. one of
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my motto for this class is that everything you need to know about american history, you can learn by watching baseball. and we're going to see that in action today so let me start with some of the goals for this lecture today. we're looking at the age of ballyhoo in baseball and i'm going to explain what ballyhoo means in a little bit if that's an unfamiliar word for you. we're gonna start by extending some of the origins of fortune elizabeth and other media. that's going to be a key part of what's happening in a sports during the great depression. the role of media. and there's going to be kind of a symbiotic relationship emerging during this time period between baseball and the media. we've already seen some of the origins of that earlier in the semester. here it'll reach its pinnacle. and then we're also going to say what are the effects of the great depression on baseball. after all this was a tremendous event for the entire nation. how can we understand that event by looking at baseball? and then of course what is ballyhoo? why that use that word to describe this era in baseball? and how does it really reflect
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baseball's response to the great depression? then of course, what role did baseball play in american culture during the great depression? in general, in keeping with the theme of this class that you can learn everything you need to know american history through baseball. and then finally, as kind of a final case study in this era. i think there's anybody that really stands out it really represent baseball in the great depression, you can name a lot of people. after all, babe ruth is still around. there is a lot going on. but certainly one of the figures that really dominates the sport is this guy, larry macphail. and i'll argue that he's had the pinpoint of ballyhoo in the great depression. and cast a very wide shadow on baseball after. now, to dive in. first sports journalism. we've noted this little bit along the way that one of the ways graceful became popular was when coverage, by newspaper writers in particular. but i want to dive a little deeper into that. and to that phenomenon and what's going on here. because they
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can't understand baseball or media without each other. and by this i mean sports and, general. we're going to specifically focus on baseball but a lot of what i have to say would've eye to a lot of sports. now one of the first papers to cover sports was called the spirit of the times. and it was a weekly paper published in new york city in 1831. initially had a mostly upper class readership. probably doesn't shock you too much. these are the people with leisure time to actually read the newspaper. it would have an average circulation of about 22,000. with a peak of about 40,000 subscribers. which, in this era, is a runaway bestseller. now it would cover a variety of sports activities. everything from what was called angling or fishing to baseball, a cricket, foot racing, fox hunting, you name it, i have a whole list of all kinds of things that were addressed by this paper. so why am i bothering to tell you about this? the real significance of this spirit of the times paper
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is that you -- printing all sorts of numbers and statistics about baseball. and other sports as well. which kind of gives you a sense of even early on, there was something about the numbers that attracted people. but more importantly, it was the way that you could translate watching the sport into print. if you could print him i would say so and so got this many hits and all of a sudden, wow, people were more engaged with the sport. even if they couldn't be there to watch it. that's why journalism is so significant in the growth of baseball. now, you might remember i mentioned in the goals a little symbiotic relationship. it's also true that as journalists needed copy to attract eyeballs to the newspaper, baseball turned out to be a really good path towards that. and so the two kind of grew up together. now,
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i will note it was the spirit of the times, one of the reasons i mention it is it's the first to cover any kind of sport. you might remember, now weeks and weeks ago when we talked about this. they still took what i would call the sporting approach which is winning sporting had kind of a different meaning than it does now. which had more to do with ideas about what mainly men did. all about masculinity. and proving that. we've connected baseball to that quite a bit. but in other words, this was more like these young upcoming men who were engaging in all kinds of aggressive activities to prove how tough they were. be a little bit different approach later when we see the coverage of sports. now, i thought i share with you a cool image from one of the spirit of the times, 1857. this is one of the first images ever of a baseball game. and so you see we're kind of indebted to journalism up for some of the earliest images even of the sport itself. now another paper,
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i'm only gonna mention the handful of these. not gonna cover all the possible ones. just a handful. one more worthy of mentioning is the new york clipper. this one would be an important publication for about 1853 to 1924. it was also just known as the clipper. and it too was a weekly -- you remember, or not too shocked by this. it's also true that urbanization is a major foundation for the growth of baseball. and of journalism. and so new york city is one of the quickest organizing cities in the times, no surprise, a lot of this is happening there. this to, this was the first newspaper to ever cover only entertainment. now remember, for a long time, leisure time is not something that was admired or something you are supposed to be engaged in. if you are good middle class worker, you are supposed to be
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-- do we need it closer? awesome. so the reason why entertainment was such a big issue is because if you are good middle class workers, you're supposed to be working hard. you're not supposed to goofing off. during your off hours. usually earning money, working your way of the corporate ladder. remember, we talk about baseball as being the distraction from that because it wasn't this acceptance of leisure time yet. but the growth of the sport kind agree with that acceptance of leisure time and we see that in the pages of the new york clipper. now, one key thing to draw in here. here is this figure, henry chadwick. we talked about him a lot before. i'll bring it up again because he's important here to. note his nickname, the father of baseball. talk about that
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before. but what's really interesting about that, he's called the father of baseball but he never played the sport much. how does that work. he's the guy who did things like perfect the box score. published in a newspaper. use the newspaper to cover baseball. bring attention to it. it's kind of ironic that the guy we call the father of baseball was actually a journalist. i think that supports them to tell you, that there was such an inner connection between sports and journalism. it'll have some really important effect for the time we get to the great depression. as a kind of alluded to, clipper play this key role in popularizing baseball. among other activities, of course, they also cover things like circuses, dance, football, there is a comma missing there. not football music, but football and music. the outdoors, theater, all kinds of entertainment. and it had a circulation of about 25,000 so many people reading this. and by 1894, it has switched entirely to that entertainment mode. interestingly, for those of you who have any interest in current entertainment, by 1924,
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the new york clipper merges in with the journal variety. which is still around today. publishes important things about entertainment. now, let me talk more specifically about baseball journalism. so we got a few, we had a few precursors, we have the newer clipper. we have the spirit of the times. but among the key publications related to baseball was one called the sporting news. which emerges in 1886. now we're in a new era in baseball. posable war, our sport has become quite popular. becoming quite a force in american culture. the sporting news would publish so much information about baseball that many began to call it the bible of baseball. you could not be in the know about the sport unless you are reading the sporting news. it was founded by a gentleman named alfred spink. and he was originally a director of the st. louis browns. so he emerges from baseball the sport. but had also had a previous career journalist writing for
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newspaper called the missouri republican. so now the, words he's kind of bridging the two worlds that he had experienced. but things really take a turn when he hires his brother, charles spink in 1887. that's because charles became one of the most effective sports journalists in the history of the profession. one of the things he did was to help boost circulation, with a sample copy campaign. he's one of the first to say hey, try it out, people really. oh that's great. little advertising gimmick there that he engaged interests circulation of the paper. and so the increase of 40,000 in october of 1887 to just a few months later, 56 over 56,000. pretty big increase in a short period of time. it continued after. and they had so many requests for advertising, pour into the sporting news that they had to expand the paper five times in one year. and it grew from eight pages to 12 pages. so you see here that the
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growing maturity of the sport, not only is it now a game you play, or a game you go watch played in a stadium. it's also now a media business. where those who are covering it as journalist also can make a career. this had a huge impact on the sport too. for instance, it was the sporting news that broke the story about the players revolt and backed the new player's league. you'll remember this was the role against things the reserve clause were players felt like they were not able to exercise enough autonomy over their own salary negotiations. over their own, where they would play. whom they would play for another conditions of their work. players had very little power in the attempted to revolt and the sporting news backed them. they would also back the american league as a competitor to the national league. so here, they're weighing in on some really big issues in the development of the sport. it's also interesting, one of the later editors, joe flanner, would
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actually draft the national agreement which was basically the peace pact between the american league and the national league. they created major league baseball today. so in other words, the sporting news was such a key part of the development of the sport itself. it was called the sporting news but by 1900, basically covered only baseball. and if you are a serious sports fan, this is what you read. and it covers the sport all over the nation. and so it allowed even if you lived in one area, you could still follow your favorite team in another area entirely. and the reason why is because each week, it provided box scores for every baseball game played in the major leagues and numerous minor leagues. and so hence that bible a baseball thing. provided all the data you needed. and also printed a weekly report on each major league baseball team. and that was usually written by kind of
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the local beach reporter on that baseball team. so they incorporated this whole network of agents and writers. and really originated, i think today this is still around. well, i know my husband who's a die hard dodger fan got me into baseball. still reads l. a. times every morning to find out what's going on with the dodgers. which luckily, after last night, really good stuff. this is, really the growth of these for it. a whole other arm of it. advancing into journalism. so the significance here, what i want you to take away from this is that basically journalism in sports were often intertwined. and that's no different today. you think of today's relationship between sports teams and media and broadcasting, lots of money involved. every major league team has billions of dollars with the contracts with media companies. key part of the revenue. and so that originates well over 100 years ago. all
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right, so a little bit more about we're going to reference sports journalism a bit. one assailable more about it. all spink -- also have his own role to play the evolution as fortunate as them. and he just entered kind of cranks into overdrive, basically. this is the guy who worked seven days a week, six nights a week. i guess he took one night off per week. he was contacting his correspondence for providing him with data about baseball games all over the nation. contacting them all hours of the day.. now this guy, he's running the paper in the 1940s. and so he's got access to telephone, telegraph and his monthly bills ran 1400 dollars. even today, that seems excessive. but then, it was really excessive. and he even had in total, 250 correspondents. that he was communicating with to provide the coverage. he would send out
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thousands of telegrams even, calling them at 4 am. just to give you a sense of what's happening here. he to continue the growth of the paper. distributed copies overseas to american forces in europe during world war i. the american league, commenced the american league to buy 150,000 subscriptions for their troops overseas. and before the war, they only had 75,000 subscriptions so this was a huge increase in the distribution of the paper. so it kind of taps in to now the war effort, first world war. we gotta support our soldiers by sending this morning news of a can keep track of baseball still. and it just kind of shows you the connections now between baseball and american identity. well, his impact on baseball. i'll say more about
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the all-star game a little bit but i want to throw in here, he would collaborate with the sponsors of the first all-star game in 1933. and that was the chicago tribune. to pull the fans for the starting lineup so from the beginning, at the all-star game was entwined with journalism. they were the ones that pulled the fans. for the starting lineup. he was also additionally one of those who rejected night baseball, but came to support it. so here we see these sports journalist weighing in on a number of issues. and during world war ii, the problem was, there's a lot of baseball happening. because of many of the soldiers leaving baseball to go fight in the war. they do kind have to add in a few other sports to cover. and it helps sustain the circulation of the paper too and baseballs often -- that was the problem they had. hey it's all good if you are only baseball but the other part is not going on what do you do. eventually they do start covering sports. eventually the spink family sells the news to other families in the 1970s. but of course, as you probably,
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if you study journalism at all, you know there was a rise again a national sports media in the 19 80s, usa today, espn all this. even other comprehensive of sites run by the major sports leagues. by the 1990s, that wall weakens the dominance of the sporting news. it is not forever. now it's basically available online and of course the success of television was another problem because now people could watch games, they couldn't only read about it. so a lot of things have changed. now, one other way that we see the impact of media on baseball is in radio. and what's interesting here is that the owners initially reject the idea of broadcasting games on the radio. so you had coverage newspapers but went on radio? and why would the owners initially reject that idea? of course, maybe even probably figure it out. they're afraid nobody shows up to the ballpark. if you broadcast the
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games in the radio. so initially not a lot of owners accepting that possibility. but you have your first radio broadcast in pittsburgh in 1921. and it's pretty quickly followed by the giant yankees world series being broadcast in 1921. it was the first time people all over the country could experience the same baseball game at the same time. but the greatest growth of the radio would be the 1930s. hence me throwing this in with a great depression. radio was essentially one way to attend games for free. and all say more about the depression and a little bit of why this is so important but you can well imagine. and so many people lost their jobs. the economy is in a sense a crisis for a whole host of reasons. and so the idea that you could attend a game for free on the radio really reflected the depression era economy. and really explains popularity. and in fact, by 1939, all the major league teams broadcaster games. particularly once they figured
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out that they could get paid for the right to do so. they could offer the right to broadcast games to a radio station in exchange for a contract payment. and that seemed to make it worth for everybody. and what they learned then was that essentially broadcasting games on the radio helped popularize major league baseball teams even among fans who did not attend games. so in other words, you had a broader reach now. you didn't only reach the fans that attended the games. or even only the fans and read the newspaper. now you're reaching fans who might listen to the sport on the radio. so certainly what's happening here is first of all, the growing importance of media in american culture. but also the sense of a shared national culture. now even if you live in the city, a team you really enjoy, you could perhaps catch the radio broadcast. of your favorite team. and one of the first baseball broadcasters was this gentleman, harold arland. but
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there would be many more. now, most of what i've said so far would be true of most media. but i want to hone in on a particular group who circumstances for sometime is unique and worthy are study of well and that is the experience of black journalists in baseball. and i start with this theme. by the time you reach the late 19 and even into the 20th century, one of the key themes in black history certainly is the goal of racial uplift. that okay, slavery's over, there's a new era of freedom. but of course, there remains a significant amount of white racism, exclusion, segregation, jim crow laws. and so, in many black communities the argument was hey let's not do anything different justify
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any kind of white animosity against african americans. and they called that racial uplift. do everything we can to all of the race. and one of the forces in this which analysts i'm. in particular a, paper called the new york age. four back to new york city. which is the center of baseball and some voice to senator journalism. and one key editor of that publication was this gentleman, leicester walton. especially in the early 19 teens. and essentially much like henry chadwick, he'd popularized baseball among kind of middle class americans. lester walton would do the same for the negro leagues, among african americans. by essentially covering these for it in the pages of his newspaper. and realizing its significance in the building community. for african americans. now i will say, couple of things about him that i can't resist mentioning because we're talking about him. he's a fascinating cultural figure for a whole lot of reasons. for instance, he's
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the one who started the movement in 1913. you might call it one of the first political correctness movements. although i don't really like that phrase but that's where we're commonly, we refer to it as. he's the one who said that they should spell negro, which was the common term for discussing african americans at the time, with a capital and. thereby making it right, designated people group. and he was successful in that. he got other journalist to do that. it was kind of a small step towards equality. journalism here played so many roles. why does he take that issue, what's his overall goal? the overall goal is of course the inclusion and recognition of the role of african americans in american society. he would later on have a political career too, can't resist mentioning since we're talking about him. worked for the democratic national committee. was a u.s. ambassador to ambassador liberia. commissioner for human rights. particularly, served as the new york city commissioner for human rights. particularly on desgregating housing. so i find it interesting that with all he's doing, all that he
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suggesting. baseball supported that. he sees that as another key part of american culture that african americans should embrace. and that would benefit their community. and i would say, why do we know more about him? he worked behind the scenes, he didn't leave a whole lot of records. his race. all have led us to know very little about lesser walton who in fact was one of the very important figure in american history in this time period. now another specialist for the mentioning. if you've seen the movie 42, he's a figure in that movie. we'll be watching that later in the semester so you can look forward to that. there is a journalist named dwindle smith. and he grew up in detroit, but let me tell you his back story a little bit. he starts his career in baseball is a very talented pitcher. in fact the detroit tigers for scouting him. wanted to sign him. as early as 1933. but they could
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not due to the segregation policy in major league baseball. that gentleman's agreement we talked about a march in the 18 80s. we're all teams agree not to sign any black players. so, when he is essentially excluded from playing in the major leagues he eventually turns to sports journalism instead. works for one of the largest black newspapers in the united states, pittsburgh courier. i want to give some other cities there do, the pittsburgh career is one of them. he is hired by them in 1937. and, one of the things that he does that was so important is he began documenting the support among many americans. and, among teams themselves to integrate black players and major league baseball. and, that has a role to play, the eventual decision for what he worked with to integrate the dodgers. i. e., bringing in jackie robinson. here you have a sports journalist who had played a key
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world in one of the most important decisions in the history of major league baseball. what i'm arguing is that depression era black journalism laid the foundation for integration baseball and the in integration of the entire nation. one more figure to talk about, actually two more. and then we will talk about our next topic, one other figure worthy of mentioning. when dulles myth was a print journalist, sherman joko was one of the first radio announcers. he is called the jackie robinson of sports broadcasting. the first african american to broadcast baseball games. why in his journey to become a broadcaster he was turned down 25 times by a variety of radio stations. finally he got a very short
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spot on -- which is in new jersey. he got a five-minute spot by 1929, later on it would expand to 15 minutes that he was on the air. they're in that spot he interviewed a lot of sports celebrities. but, by the 1930s and 40s he started calling the games for the newark eagles. thereby becoming the first sports journalist. he also wrote stories for the star ledger, which published some of his commentary on baseball. that was pretty rare for a white owned newspaper. he actually never got paid by the radio station by for the work he did. but, he did receive money from advertisers for plugging their products on the air. a fascinating story, there. many have described him
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as the most familiar baseball voice in african american homes throughout north jersey in this era. so, in other words sports broadcasting was not just the white folks of the era. now, i could name so many but this is the last one. only going to do one more to add a whole another dimension to what is happening. his name was fred osha. he is going to show us a whole another type of sports journalism and he was the sports writer for the san francisco -- which was an english language weekly newspaper for japanese americans. it essentially covered japanese american baseball teams. he would later write for a whole different newspaper, a newspaper published at the stockton assembly center for the japanese incarceration camps during world war ii. and later
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one called the roaring outpost at the internment camp in arkansas. in other words, after the internment of japanese americans that many of you may have studied in high school classes. we will say a bit more about it in a couple weeks where you have well over 100,000 japanese americans interned in camps in case they might be a danger. he is covering baseball at these internment camps. and, essentially what he was able to do was publicize the talent and ability of asian american teams before and after world war ii. imagine that, even while you are incarcerated for no crime at all, he is covering baseball. he did so because he claimed the baseball provided such a sense of community for marginalized groups such as japanese americans, especially in these internment camps. we will go into more detail and a couple of weeks when we focus on this issue in particular but in internment camps you have a whole variety of teams that played. it was one way to spend your time in an internment camp, when there was not much else to do. and so, it is due to people like him that we have coverage of that. now, i will know before the internment camps i
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will say one more thing. another way that baseball journalism and baseball in general assisted in developing those communities is that attendees of baseball games in the 1930s handed out flyers organizing boycotts of businesses that would not hire i will say one more thing. another way that baseball journalism and baseball in general assisted in developing those communities is that attendees of baseball games in the 1930s handed out flyers organizing boycotts of businesses that would not hire asian americans during the great depression. you have a lot of businesses that when the great depression hit they targeted foreigners and immigrants and would not hire them. baseball games where they tried to develop that they should boycott the business is doing that. what's not buy from them if they want higher workers from our community. okay, now, i want to delve into the great depression in particular. to talk about its
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impact on baseball. we are going to transform looking only at journalism and now looking specifically. i started with a basic introduction so we know we are talking about, i love this image and when it conveys about what happened during the great depression. in terms of the effect on the country, i am not going into all the details and causes. my economist hat is not very strong, but, what i can tell you is the basic experience of much lower gross national product. meaning, the value of everything that the u. s. produces collapses, notice how this chart demonstrates that, you had a pretty good run in the 1920s but it was generally going pretty well. this is the upside, down, generally it's going pretty good and then all of a sudden it goes off of a cliff, economic production virtually halts. this translates to extremely high unemployment,
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sometimes as high as 58% of the nation cities, as high as 33% nationwide, sometimes higher. what does that mean? people have less disposable income, right? if you are unemployed buying a baseball ticket gets harder. you buy a newspaper subscription but that gets harder. this was a challenge for baseball, a challenge for the nation. created this huge sense of crisis in the country. how are we going to surmount this tremendous economic challenge? provides us with a really good opportunity to look at how baseball was reflecting this sense of crisis in these tremendous economic changes. now, some of this has to do with journalism so i will say a little bit more, in some ways baseball was an escape from the dreariness of the depression. kind of like the movies were, that is another thing, same thing, you can analyze the same way people went to the movies stayed through the awfulness of the depression. so, reading the newspaper about baseball is another way to escape. professionals relied on
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newspaper coverage to draw and fans, that is how we get people into the seats's by newspaper coverage. look at this, the newspapers will require baseball coverage to sustain their readership. in fact, we find that baseball and general sports coverage made up as much, as 30% of some newspapers. that is what kept people buying the newspapers, the sports coverage. maybe you are not too interested in reading the news, not much good news there but maybe baseball was a little bit more fun to read about, a lot of newspapers really emphasized that. but, in terms of the challenges in the depression, major league baseball simply reflects what is going on in the broader country, 1930 is the highest ever attendance in major league baseball, over 10 million. highest ever. but, by 1933 they only had 6 million.
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let me just tell you, a 40% collapse in your revenue stream is very difficult to survive as a business, and baseball is struggling. the financial losses were immense, most teams lost money in the millions, which is a lot of money then, today it is still a lot of money but then it was astronomical amount of money. player salaries were frozen, sometimes even slashed up to 50%. babe ruth salary, there is a man you know, goes from $80,000 to $35,000 new. rosters were reduced from 25 to 23 players, what we are seeing is just how baseball was reflecting the reduction in the workforce, generally. which would have all kinds of ramifications at this point, all right, well, okay we know the dire situation, how did
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baseball respond? i'm going to start with this concept of something called ballyhoo. ballyhoo, i will connect it here in a second, bear with me while i define ballyhoo a little bit and then we will understand.ballyhoo defines a clamoring attempt to win customers to any cause, wait an advertising or publicity. it is an aggressive attempt to get customers to, in today's media to get eyeballs on your web page, or a similar publicity. that is somehow kind of crazy, it is glamourous, vigorous, in your face, it originate in the circus industry, that makes sense if you are familiar with the circus industry at all because it is kind of loud and in-your face. ballyhoo was the
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nickname for a sideshow that would attract attention. anything you would do that could attract attention, that is why circuses had the bearded lady and relied on all kinds of unusual-looking people to draw in the fans. baseball would not be the only one, there are all kinds of examples, movies during this era, we're talkies as they were called, part of it was getting people back into the movie theaters, have to give them something, because if they are not going to have much disposable income how do you get them to spend their money? now you shift from silent films that dominated in the 20s to the films with sound. talkies, as they were called in the 1930s, eventually they would be color films, not too many but a few. gone with the wind at the end of the decade. another attempt to wow audiences and get them into the seats. another one i love to talk about was dance marathons, this one i found very fascinating, this example of the ballyhoo era. you get fans to come watch
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people dance for hours on hours on end, see who could be the last one to drop. this is another one of the crazy events that happened in the depression as fund-raisers. people participating in the dance marathon there is a chance to get a payday and get money somehow. for sponsors it was about getting advertisers and people to buy tickets but it just shows you how crazy, when you think dance marathon you think that's pretty crazy. what about baseball? what did baseball do that my qualify as a ballyhoo during the great depression? they started out with a few gimmicks, many of which seem familiar today. i cannot help but reflect on the fact that i happen to be living in the los angeles area, big dodgers fans in our family, we know about all kinds of special days at dodgers stadium. there is a star wars day, that is a popular one in my house. all
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kinds of themed days. that is no different than during the great depression, maybe that is one it originated, family nights, town days where you invite people from particular towns. ladies days. all kinds of gimmicks to target certain groups that you want to get into the seats of baseball stadiums. that is what they are using to sell tickets. that is the first and earliest emergence of some kind of ballyhoo in baseball. other ones are in 1931, the mvp award, the great depression with the whole ballyhoo thing. ironically we have chosen by baseball journalists, they were the ones who voted on this. it was a way to keep attention on the sport even in the off-season, you are having to get a lot more creative about how you market the sport. the first all-star game in 1933, i said a fund-raiser for families of deceased players, it did actually come to that but i should say it was not just deceased players. it was also
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just players who had retired and could no longer earn a living, their buddies got together and agreed to play in the all-star game to put raise money for them. very much reflective of the reality of the great depression, even today's all-star game originated in a sense of crisis in the great depression because they needed to raise money for people in the baseball community who are in need. it becomes this permanent tradition, the long term impact of the depression on baseball. so, these initial attempts to get players into the stands, engaging in this ballyhoo after reflects the trauma of the depression and the need for escapism. but, also, the impact the depression had on american culture and business. it was not only baseball that did this, it was just fitting in with the broader culture. movies, dance marathons, all of this. now, negro leagues faced particular challenges, some of that are worthy of mention, they were
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the hardest hit by the great depression. african americans, for instance, more rarely qualified for meal programs. i do not want to emphasize that too much, there are many ways in which new deal are many ways in which new deal programs helped many black programs helped many black families. but there was still families. but there was still greater need then in white greater need then in white families. they had the first fired mentality, you only hired families. they had the first black workers if you absolutely fired mentality, you only hired black workers if you absolutely had to. in fact, traditional jobs that were dominated by had to. in fact, traditional black workers would be your manual labor type of jobs. jobs that were dominated by black workers would be your streets sweepers in the cities, manual labor type of jobs. streets weber's in the cities, dorman at hotels. those surely got taken over by white laborers, so, unemployment rates were higher among african americans, this was reflected in the negro leagues. they had even more pressure to integrate or innovate then major league
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baseball, they would adopt night baseball five years before major league baseball would. in 1930, they would sleep on their buses to save lodging costs. they focused even more on entertaining fans even earlier than major league baseball did. one of the fun ones as a game called shadow ball, this i would not classify as a ballyhoo, i think the negro leagues perfected it, shadow ball was an activity that many players would engage in prior to the game where they would essentially pantomime playing a baseball game. there would be no ball that they would pretend like there was one. make great throws to each other, daring catches, all of this as a joke but a way to entertain the crowd. some have said it is kind of a metaphor for what was happening with negro leagues, they were not really allowed the inclusion and respect that they deserved. even given their very high level of play. they also adopted a all-star game
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patterned after the major league baseball our star game for similar reasons, to raise funds to support players who need it, especially retired players. now, other innovations during the depression era, and there are many, i think you might be a little bit surprised about how much this sport changes during the great depression in ways that are still obvious today for instance, let's talk about the farm system, that is the one i have highlighted in the slide. that is one of the innovations that peaks during the great depression. it has origins before that but its main impact is during the great depression, if you do not know what the farm system is, i know not all of you are huge baseball fans and i can explain it. basically, the farm system refers to contracts minor league teams have with the major league's, to share players, the goal is player development. today they have many levels. rookie all
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the way up to aaa and then the major leagues after that. the key figure who develop the system was a guy named branch ricky, who, of course, was a key figure in 20th century baseball anyway, he was first with the cardinals from 1916 to 1943. it kind of peaks in 1934, i'm going to say more about the 1934 season because it is an important one in baseball history. the st. louis cardinal had a very dominant sit world series win that year. the way it worked is under ricky's leadership, they st. louis cardinals began buying minor league teams and folding them in with the cardinals organization. through the reserve clause now you create contracts with minor league players through the reserve clause, including the reserve clause. they would eventually control up to 30 teams. of course, that allowed you if you saw a really good talent on one
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of the teams you could bring them up to the major league. they were not allowed to leave that team to go to another one, they were still owned by you. and so, greatly expanded the talent pool for the st. louis cardinals, it basically prevented other wealthy teams from stealing away your best players as you are developing them. still a key part of baseball today. the cardinals are the first ones to achieve success with that system from 1926 to 1946, they won nine national penance and six world series championships. this looks like a success for the cardinals, yes. huge success. but, i would say it reflects a couple things, both the success but also the innovation of the great depression. they were trying to figure things out. the farm system was part of that. i like this picture. this
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is from a, magazine. it is branch ricky, the father of the baseball farm system with his 18 minor league teams on his blackboard. look at his success, i will say later those who adapted the farm system, it was the cardinals first and then move to the dodgers and the yankees. as it does each of those teams experience a dominant time in the history of their team. all right, now i want to stick with the cardinals for a little bit because not only did they have that farm system that made the cardinals so strong, it led to their tremendous appeal in american baseball. one particular part of that appeal was existence of the group called the gas house gang.
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these guys are a super fun group, i love this picture of them because it gives you a sense of how they were viewed, they were a group of st. louis cardinal's players, particularly those in the 1934 season. a gas house gang usually referred to a group of working class men that worked gas for heating and lighting homes. it was a smelly and dirty occupation. but,, this time came to be applied to the cardinals because they were known for their dirty appearance and their rough and tumble tactics on the field, they were aggressive players in kind of a goofy way. the real question is, why did they become heroes of the depression era? there were a few more popular players than this group. in part, their working class image, can you imagine why that might be appealing during the great depression? an era where everyone was
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relegated to working class, where it seems like life is hard and you can identify more with that working class hero in some ways, also, this dovetails with the st. louis cardinals becoming americas team in the first place, among the reasons for that is even though the u. s. population has expanded tremendously especially in the westward direction in the half century before the 1930s, still and -- here we go, i threw in a map to show you, why would the st. louis cardinals who are pictured here on the map, the st. louis cardinals. if i asked you what's today about the st. louis cardinal you would probably say, oh they are the westernmost team in baseball. california does not have a team, arizona, washington state, you
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do not have your own major league team. the closest one is st. louis, so, being a heart of the country, they westward worst team, they became americas team. that dovetails with branch ricky's system where they had a lot of players, the gas host team image and they become the quintessential team of the depression era. that peaks with the 1934 world series, i love this image on the right of the cardinals were versus the tigers in the 1934 world series. it really does represent the depression itself, much of the port industry is such shut down during the great depression so when they tar tigers and cardinals play they represent to beleaguered cities trying to make their way. st. louis is suffering from low wherever boat traffic, the western farm economy collapsing. a couple of key
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figures that really entertained people during the world series. one of them was dizzy dean, i will say more about him in a little bit but he is the pitcher representing, he would have two victories during the world series that really helped the cardinals. another fun one, they had a player named dickey med wick. i love that name he is the only player ever kicked out of the game while the commissioner of baseball, that is because apparently even though the cardinals were winning at something like nine to nothing, 11 to nothing, they were way up but he still does this crazy hard slide to third base and makes the fans angry and the detroit fans angry. they start throwing stuff at him. they say they have to take him out of the game so nobody gets hurt. only time that happened. blood thread about dizzy dean, during the world series there are so many crazy stories that happened. one of them was when he was pitching in the game, he gets on base
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and while running to second he is hit pretty hard head by a baseball and it knocks him out, he has to be carried to the clubhouse and this is the funny part of the story, that part was not good but he was fine, later they take him to the hospital and the funny headline ran the next day was, x-rays of dizzy dean's had shown nothing, that was the big joke at the time is that there was nothing in his head. he was known for being a bit of a braggart. i always love that story, x-rays in his head show nothing. that is a fun one, other big news of the gas house gang that reflects why the cardinals really were beloved in the great depression. one of them was the most popular of the gas house gang players, he was nicknamed pepper because he brought spice to the game,
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apparently. he came from a poor oklahoma family, so symbolic because they'd experienced the dust bowl in the great depression, which destroyed much of the farmland and so it is kind of poetic that he comes from there. he is not the most natural talent but complained completely. well known for his belly flop slides, he is aggressive style of play. he represented the every man of the depression era. he just made it work. in addition to being a veritable sports hero he was pretty talented musician. that is pretty funny, this is the kind of good free stuff they would do before their games. and so, definitely reflect in the entire ballyhoo of baseball of this era. everything crazy. to entertain people, to get attention. i
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want to say a little bit more about dizzy dean, he won 30 games in 1934. he had an e. r. a. of two point 66 which is pretty good. one of his majesty sayings was it is not bragging if you can back it up. at the beginning of the season he said he and his brother poll said they are going to win 40 games that year. everybody said, yeah right. he won 40 and his brother won about 17, they went way past that. a very successful year for the cardinals, and, then i cannot help mentioning he became a broadcaster later and was very famous for both his wit and his very comparable colorful butchering of the english language. one of the things he was known for saying is that he shouldn't had a on a swearing. something you can hardly understand, made him very
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beloved by a number of baseball fans. he would eventually do national broadcast on some of the major networks. here's a last one, i told you this is the pinnacle, here is where we can pull it all together with the connections between baseball, the great depression, journalism, and that is in the figure of larry macphail. it is hard to underestimate his impact on baseball, he started out as a worker for -- me but they never got along, macphail did not like to take orders and ricky expected him to follow them. he went on to have a number of achievements in baseball that really reflect this pinnacle of ballyhoo. one of the first is he was one of the first to beginning to use branding in major league
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baseball to gain recognition for a team. he did it first at the cincinnati reds, later for the dodgers, and even later for that for the yankees. this is one of the ways he boost advertisers to become a recognizable symbol, you see this, that was designed by larry macphail. the current dodger signature logo, larry macphail. same for the cincinnati reds, even their current logo, larry macphail. he was a tremendous showman, tremendous businessman, he turned both the cincinnati reds and, in the early part of the authorities and the dodgers in the later part of the third ace to moneymaking franchise. even during the depression, he was the first to do night games which he does at cincinnati's -- field in 1935. later for the dodgers and the yankees he implements some things. in fact,
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through using night baseball the dodgers had the highest attendance in baseball by 1939, that is when he transition to doing the dodgers. if there was one event that showed the pinnacle of ballyhoo i like this one, when he was first using the lights at crossly field in cincinnati in 1935, the way he did it, here is a picture of him doing it. he is standing there at the table, lightbulb on. hopefully i get all the details right. basically, he set it up so that franklin roosevelt in the white house, hundreds of miles away pushes a button to signal to him to turn on the lights in the stadium, what more ballyhoo can you get? you're going to get the president to turn on the lights at the stadium. get the fans in there and say look, this is the cool thing we are doing. among the other things he did, he brought the farm system to the dodgers and let up weekly tv broadcast in 1944
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the dodgers, not much of a coincidence that the dodgers when dependent for the national league in 1941. he was the first to charter a plane for team travel. it's not allowed the players to arrive much more rested and not spending the night on a bus. now, not every idea that larry macphail had would work, one of the ones he wanted to integrate in baseball was having a yellow ball. that never took off. not everything he did. basically, how much of mcphail's innovations are in the game today. the use of media, the use of branding and advertising, getting fans in the stands with gimmicks like hey, the president is going to turn on the lights in the stadium. he cast a pretty big
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shadow, it illustrates in one person what major league baseball did in the great depression to survive, to make money. it actually became pretty popular through today. many of these innovations, you have been great to listen to me talk this whole time. i want to offer an opportunity for anyone to ask questions. be brave. here is an opportunity for you. what is something you want to ask a little more detail or ask questions about?? any brave souls? yes, over there? >> you said that macphail brought the farm system to the dodgers but i thought you said earlier that it was mostly ricky. >> yes, i meant to clarify that because i did not clarify it very well, branch ricky was the one that innovated it but macphail came to the dodgers in 1939, and then rickie would come also in 1943, i would say that they both played a role in that and innovating in the
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dodgers. it is kind of a both and for them. first macphail but then later ricky as well. thanks for allowing me to clarify that because that was a little fuzzy. other questions? all right, you guys gave me great attention today and i really appreciate it, hope you had fun and we will see you next class. >> if you enjoy american history tv, sign up using the qr code on the screen, to get the weekly schedule of.
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