Book Reviews

“The Age of Ruth and Landis The Economics of Baseball during the Roaring Twenties”

Book review at Knup Sports

Tom examines the economics of baseball beginning in the 1920’s.

After the Black Sox scandal, baseball may have reached its lowest point. Fans weren’t wanting to spend money on a game that was mired in betting and corruption. It was going to take some mighty fine work to get people to come back through the gates.

Hence came some new personalities like Ban Johnson and Judge Kennesaw Landis to the scene. Baseball turned to the judge to clean up the game. He promptly suspended players with lifetime bans from baseball that participated in gambling on baseball.

Also at this time in history, some of the more colorful characters of the game were playing in front of bigger and bigger crowds. Players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Tris Speaker.

They were a completed different breed of players that was captivating fans all across the country. Owners were constantly arguing with their players over salaries and how much control they exerted over them. New ballparks were being built for the increase in attendance along with concession areas and nicely developed land in and around the stadium.

Players were putting on a show almost every night with big sluggers and fun loving base stealers.  It was truly a new era and the sportswriters called in the “Golden Age of Sports.”

The authors go into detail with plenty of research on each point that i provided in my review. They connect the dots from the low point of a betting scandal in baseball to the resurgence of players that captured the hears of fans and how it translated into teams becoming economically rewarded.

If you are a baseball fan this has plenty for you to digest and if you love history it provides in detail steps that were taken to increase the viability of baseball. Every bookshelf should have this book placed on it for fun reading and historical context.

I would like to thank the University of Nebraska Press for sending me this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About the Authors:

David George Surdam is a professor of economics and the David W. Wilson Business Ethics Fellow at the University of Northern Iowa. He is the author of several books, including Run to Glory and Profits: The Economic Rise of the NFL during the 1950’s and Wins, Losses and Empty Seats: How Baseball Outlasted the Great Depression.

Michael J. Haupert is a professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

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