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Out of Left FieldJews and Black Baseball$
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Rebecca T. Alpert

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195399004

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195399004.001.0001

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Baseball Was America

Baseball Was America

(p.1) 1 Baseball Was America
Out of Left Field

Rebecca T. Alpert

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of how professional baseball, defined as America's national pastime, was an entryway for immigrants, including Eastern European Jews, to become American. At the same time, an unwritten rule kept African Americans out of organized baseball and compelled them to create separate venues to play. In order to explain how Jews found themselves involved in black baseball, the chapter examines Jewish racial identity and anti-Semitic stereotypes prevalent in the first half of twentieth-century America. This chapter also introduces the various protagonists who were integral to the business of black baseball. The Jewish businessmen who owned and promoted black teams, Ed Gottlieb, Abe Saperstein, and Syd Pollock; the political radicals who were sportswriters for the communist newspaper Daily Worker, Lester Rodney, Bill Mardo, and Nat Low; and the baseball team from the Hebrew Israelite community of Temple Beth El, the Belleville Grays.

Keywords:   baseball, anti-Semitism, Jewish immigrants, Ed Gottlieb, Abe Saperstein, Syd Pollock, Daily Worker, Hebrew Israelites, racial identity

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