Baseball Beyond Our Borders


Baseball Beyond Our Borders

An International Pastime

Edited and with an introduction by George Gmelch and Daniel A. Nathan

528 pages
28 photographs, 3 illustrations, 2 graphs, 1 table, index


March 2017


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2017


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2017


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Baseball Beyond Our Borders celebrates the globalization of the game while highlighting the different histories and cultures of the nations in which the sport is played.

This collection of essays tells the story of America’s national pastime as it has spread across the world and undergone instructive, entertaining, and sometimes quirky changes in the process. Covering nineteen countries and a U.S. territory, the contributors show how each country imported baseball, how baseball took hold and developed, how it is organized, played, and followed, and what local and regional traits tell us about the sport’s place in each culture. 

But what lies in store as baseball’s passport fills up with far-flung stamps? Will the international migration of players homogenize baseball? What role will the World Baseball Classic play? These are just a few of the questions the authors pose.

Author Bio

George Gmelch is a professor of anthropology at the University of San Francisco and Union College in upstate New York. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including Playing with Tigers: A Minor League Chronicle of the Sixties (Nebraska, 2016). Daniel A. Nathan is a professor and chair of American studies at Skidmore College. He is the editor of Rooting for the Home Team: Sport, Community, and Identity and past president of the North American Society for Sport History.


"[Baseball Beyond Our Borders] is comprehensive and engaging while it expands the horizons of our views about the international popularity and character of America's historic pastime."—Joseph L. Price, AETHLON

"The editors have done a considerable service to the field of sport history by providing a collection that both can entertain and inform the general baseball fan and also spark ideas for further investigation by scholars."Craig A. Kaplowitz, Journal of Sport History

“It is curious and warming to see baseball as a national pastime of so many lands with such markedly different cultures. What a marvelously adaptive game, and what a splendid collection of essays!”—John Thorn, official historian of Major League Baseball

“A feast for both the baseball scholar and the avid fan. [It is] a genuine window into history and culture.”—Lee Lowenfish, author of Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman

“This fascinating book is a must-read for everyone interested in the international game.”—Robert K. Fitts, author of Banzai Babe Ruth 

“A treasure trove of information.”—Trey Strecker, editor of NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Around the Horn
George Gmelch and Daniel A. Nathan
Part 1. The Americas
1. Cuba: The Curtain Begins to Fall
Tim Wendel
2. Dominican Republic: From Paternalism to Parity
Alan Klein
3. Puerto Rico: A Major League Stepping-Stone
Franklin Otto and Thomas E. Van Hyning
4. Canada: Internationalizing America’s National Pastime
Colin Howell
5. Mexico: Baseball’s Humble Beginnings to Budding Competitor
Jorge Iber
6. Nicaragua: In Search of Diamonds
Dan Gordon
7. Venezuela: The Passion and Politics of Baseball
Arturo J. Marcano and David P. Fidler
8. Brazil: Baseball Is Popular, and the Players Are (Mainly) Japanese!
Carlos Azzoni, Tales Azzoni, and Wayne Patterson
Part 2. Asia
9. Japan: “No Matter What Happens, Stand Up”
Dan Gordon
10. Japan: Professional Baseball Enters the Twenty-First Century
William W. Kelly
11. Korea: Straw Sandals and Strong Arms
Joseph A. Reaves
12. China: A Century and a Half of Bat Ball
Joseph A. Reaves
13. Taiwan: Baseball, Colonialism, Nationalism, and Other Inconceivable Things
Andrew D. Morris
Part 3. The Pacific
14. Australia: Baseball’s Curious Journey
Rick Burton
15. Tasmania: Baseball Struggles to Survive
George Gmelch
16. New Zealand: Baseball between British Traditions
Greg Ryan
Part 4. The Middle East
17. Israel: From the Desert to Jupiter . . . and Beyond
William Ressler
Part 5. Africa
18. South Africa: The Battle for Baseball
Marizanne Grundlingh
Part 6. Europe
19. Italy: No Hot Dogs in the Bleachers
Peter Carino
20. Holland: An American Coaching Honkbal
Harvey Shapiro
21. Great Britain: Baseball’s Battle for Respect in the Land of Cricket, Rugby, and Soccer
Josh Chetwynd
22. Finland: Pesäpallo, Baseball Finnish Style
Mikko Hyvärinen
Part 7. World Baseball Classic
23. The World Baseball Classic: Conflicts and Contradictions
Robert Elias
George Gmelch and Daniel A. Nathan
Source Acknowledgments

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