In just fifteen years the game of baseball went from an obscure regional game to our national pastime. The story of how this happened is a fascinating tale that connects disparate concepts and events such as the rise of the middle class, immigration, the building of the Erie Canal, health reform, the growth of cities, changing conceptions of leisure, and the Civil War. It is also a story of baseball’s own false origin stories, why they were told, and how they have distorted our historical memory to this day. Join Thomas Gilbert, the author of How Baseball Happened (2020), and AAS’s James David Moran in a conversation about the early history of our national game and its connections and importance to American history and culture broadly.
This program is the first in a series of events taking place across Worcester in celebration of the opening of Polar Park, the home of the Worcester Red Sox—or WooSox!—in May 2021.
The author of How Baseball Happened (2020), Playing First (2015), Baseball and the Color Line (1995), and other books, Thomas Gilbert lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, home of the Eckford club, baseball champions of 1862 and 1863. Like the earliest baseball players, he socializes with firefighters and is active in local politics.