The Postwar Yankees


The Postwar Yankees

Baseball's Golden Age Revisited

David G. Surdam

440 pages
1 appendix


October 2013


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eBook (EPUB)
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December 2021


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eBook (PDF)
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October 2008


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About the Book

The Yankees and New York baseball entered a golden age between 1949 and 1964, a period during which the city was represented in all but one World Series. While the Yankees dominated, however, the years were not so golden for the rest of baseball.

In The Postwar Yankees: Baseball’s Golden Age Revisited, David G. Surdam deconstructs this idyllic period to show that while the Yankees piled on pennants and World Series titles through the 1950s, Major League Baseball attendance consistently declined and gate-revenue disparity widened through the mid-1950s. Contrary to popular belief, the era was already experiencing many problems that fans of today’s game bemoan, including a competitive imbalance and callous owners who ran the league like a cartel. Fans also found aging, decrepit stadiums ill-equipped for the burgeoning automobile culture, while television and new forms of leisure competed for their attention.

Through an economist’s lens, Surdam brings together historical documents and off-the-field numbers to reconstruct the period and analyze the roots of the age’s enduring mythology, examining why the Yankees and other New York teams were consistently among baseball’s elite and how economic and social forces set in motion during this golden age shaped the sport into its modern incarnation.

Author Bio

David G. Surdam is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Northern Iowa. His work on the economics of sport and the economics of the Civil War has appeared in the Journal of Sports Economics, Naval War College Review, and the Journal of Economic History, among other publications. He also is the author of Northern Naval Superiority and the Economics of the American Civil War.


"The Postwar Yankees: Baseball's Golden Age Revisited is a good starting point for anyone interested in the business of baseball."—John Paul Hill, NINE

Table of Contents


Introduction: What Golden Age?

1. Those Damn Yankees: Dominance and Submission in the American League

2. Player Movement and Building the Yankees: Leaving Soon from a (Small) City near You

3. The Game on the Ledger: Doldrums amid Prosperity

4. Changing Demographics, Suburbia, and Leisure Patterns: Why Did Baseball Attendance Fall?

5. Television and Baseball: The New Technology, Friend or Foe?

6. Where Is Robin Hood When You Need Him? Revenue Sharing in the American League

7. Isn't Anybody Going to Help That Game? Baseball Attempts to Rejuvenate Its Popularity

8. The Major League Cartel: Keeping Out the Interlopers

9. The Sixteen-Headed Hydra: The Cartel Faces the Enmity Within

10. The Yankees' Dynasty: Did Success Spoil the Team and Its Fans?

Epilogue: What If the Golden Age Ended and Nobody Cared?

Appendix of Tables




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