A Look into the Past of America's Pastime


  • Christine McDonald Wichita State University


baseball, Black Sox scandal, gambling, steroid use, sporting history


Amidst the cheers a familiar crack, the sound of bat meeting ball, resounded throughout the stadium. Silence ensued as the fans held their breath in anticipation; suddenly the roar of their voices resumed as the ball sailed gracefully over the wall. As the crowd chanted his name, the batter trotted around the bases, wondering if one day his legacy would join the historic players in the baseball Hall of Fame. The names of baseball's greats—Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Jackie Robinson to name a few—are known throughout the country. The mere word baseball conjures up patriotic sentiments, images of cheering crowds joined together, singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and of fathers and sons playing catch. Yet the actual history of baseball is not mere grand slams; baseball gathered quite a few strikes against it throughout its days as America's pastime. Two examples of negative experiences in baseball are the Black Sox scandal of 1919 and the modern day steroid scandal. Neither of the events were isolated incidents, but instead were a significant part of baseball's development. While differences existed between the ways the baseball industry eventually addressed these two issues, a closer look reveals that during the early twentieth century and during the modern era, baseball's initial response toward them was disregard. In both instances the baseball industry's reactions were intimately linked with protecting the sport's national image and the management's investments within it.