University 190C

Baseball & Contemporary America

Spring 1997


This course continues the Universityís year-long commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson Integrating major league baseball. It follows a fall semester course that examined baseball and America before and during Robinsonís playing career. This course begins with baseball and America after Robinson retired: Robinsonís activism in many areas after baseball, his legacy to the game and nation, and the changes in both since the 1950s. As in the fall, a number of former players and others will appear in class to share their experiences and insights from the last forty years.


The course is jointly sponsored by four departments: Afro-American Studies, History, Sport Studies, and Political Science. The principal instructors are:

Jerome Mileur (coordinating professor), Political Science, Thompson Hall, 545-2850.

Mary Hums, Sport Studies, Curry-Hicks Building, 545-0441.

Ronald Story, History, Herter Hall, 545-1330.

William Strickland, Afro-American Studies, New Africa House, 545-5167.

William Sutton, Sport Studies, Curry-Hicks Building, 545-0441.

Teaching Assistants are:

Joe Doherty, Political Science, Thompson Hall.

Melinda Kurczewski, Political Science, Thompson Hall.

Aram Goudsouzian, History, Herter Hall.

Course Requirements.

There will be a mid-semester and final examination, as well as a ten-page research paper on a topic of your choosing related to the subject matter of the course. You will also be expected to participate actively and thoughtfully in discussion sections. These requirements will be weighted roughly: mid-semester, paper, participation, final examination, 25 percent each.

Attendance at lecture and discussion section meetings of the course is expected, as much of the substance of the course lies in faculty lectures, guest accounts of experience, and video and slide presentations. Accordingly, class absences may be a factor in final grades: more than one lecture absence will lower a grade by a half letter; more than two lecture absences will lower a grade by one letter; and more than three lecture absences may result in failure.

With respect to requirements, including attendance, any and all problems can be dealt with most easily and charitably if known to us in advance. It is much more difficult to deal with these matters after the fact, and it is your responsibility to report and explain any problems to us -- including the immediate reporting of emergencies.


Three books and two volumes of readings are assigned for the course. The books may be purchased from Valley Books in downtown Amherst and are:

Randy Roberts & James Olson, Winning is the Only Thing.

Jackie Robinson, I Never Had it Made.

Joel Zoss & John Bowman, Diamonds in the Rough.

The two volumes of readings are available at the Textbook Annex on campus. The first volume includes readings assigned in the first half of the course (Feb. 4 - Mar. 11). The second volume has readings for the second half of the course (Mar. 25 - May 6).

Public Events.

There are three on campus, public events this spring that you will be expected to attend. They are:

Jan. 30 - 7:30 PM, Campus Center Auditorium: Keynote Address on the significance and legacy of Jackie Robinson, given by Joe Black, former teammate and roommate of Robinson (and National League Rookie of the Year in 1952).

Jan. 30 - Feb. 21, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Exhibit on "Jackie Robinson, His Time & Legacy," in the Student Union Gallery (south end of building).

April 4 - May 1, Monday through Friday, Exhibit on "Images of the Negro Leagues," in Augusta Savage Gallery, New Africa House.

Course Plan.

The following syllabus details weekly topics, lectures, guests, and reading assignments. It is expected that reading assignments will be done in advance of lectures and discussion sections.

JAN. 28- Introduction to the course.

A. Syllabus: plan, rules, requirements.

B. Video: ESPN (Mark Reese) profile on Robinson.

Assign: Joel Zoss & John Bowman, Diamonds in the Rough, Chs. 5 & 6. (Chs. 2 & 3 recommended for those who did not take the fall semester course)

Randy Roberts & James Olson, Winning Is the Only Thing, pp. 25-45.

JAN. 30- Spring Semester Keynote Address, 7:30 PM, Campus Center Auditorium (required).

Joe Black, former player & teammate of Robinson.

FEB. 4- America in the 1960s: Robinson After Baseball.

A. The movement for civil rights.

B. Robinson the activist.

John Vernon, National Archives.

Assign: Jackie Robinson, I Never Had It Made, Chs. 10- 24.

FEB. 11- America in the 1960s: St. Louis & the Cardinals.

A. The movement for civil rights.

From '47 to '64: a team transformed

B. Black, white, & cardinal in the sixties.

Bill White, former player & N.L. President.

Assign: Vincent Harding, "The Other American Revolution," Reader I.

Bob Gibson, "Stranger to the Game, Reader I.

Roberts/Olson, Winning Is, pp. 163-188.

FEB. 18- No class (Monday schedule): No Thursday TV classes, No Friday discussions.

FEB. 25- America in the 1970s: Pittsburgh & the Pirates.

A. From all-black lineup to "We are Family."

Bruce Markusen, Hall of Fame author.

Chuck Tanner, former player & manager.

B. Willie, Dave & Manny in the shadow of Roberto.

Al Oliver, former player, & Tanner.

Assign: To be announced (handouts).

MAR. 4- Baseball Transformed: Unions & Free Agency.

A. The new economics of baseball.

Andrew Zimbalist, economist, Smith College.

B. Reconstructing the Players Association.

Robin Roberts, former player.

Assign: Andrew Zimbalist, "Baseball & Billions,"

Reader I.

Curt Flood, "The Way It Was," Reader I.

Marvin Miller, "A Whole Different Ball Game,"

Reader I.

Roberts/Olson, Winning Is, pp. 47-72.


MAR. 11- Dawn of the Modern Era: a Retrospective.

A. Great Society, Vietnam, & the New Left.

Warren Goldstein, historian, Hartford University..

Assign: James Gilbert, "Another Chance," Reader I.

MAR. 18- No classes (spring vacation).

MAR. 25- The Latin American Connection.

Orlando Cepeda, former player.

Assign: Zoss/Bowman, Diamonds, Ch. 14.

Michael M. Oleksak & Mary Adams Oleksak, "Beisbol: Latin Americans and the Grand

Old Game, Reader II.

APR. 1- The New Game: Marketing, Media & Millionaires.

Assign: Roberts/Olson, Winning Is, pp. 73-162.

To be announced, Reader II.

APR. 8- Women in Baseball & Sports.

Assign: Zoss/Bowman, Diamonds, Ch. 7.

To be announced, Reader II.

APR. 15- Breaking Barriers: Changing Roles in the Game.

Larry Whiteside, Boston Globe sportswriter.

Assign: Zoss/Bowman, Diamonds, Ch. 4.

Peter Levine, "Ellis Island to Ebbets Field,"

Reader II.

APR. 22- Global Flows of Sport.

David Osinski, International Baseball Foundation.

Assign: Roberts/Olson, Winning Is," 1-23 & 189-210.

To be announced, Reader II.

APR. 29- Reflections on the Import of Jackie Robinson.

Rachel Robinson.

Tommy Hawkins, former basketball player, vice- president, L.A. Dodgers.

Assign: Roberts/Olson, Winning Is, pp. 213-234.

To be announced, Reader II.

MAY 6- History & the Legacy of Jackie Robinson.

Arnold Rampersad, historian, Princeton University.

Jules Tygiel, historian, San Francisco State University.

Assign: To be announced, Reader II.

Back to the Information page