Bat, Ball, and Bible


Bat, Ball, and Bible

Baseball and Sunday Observance in New York

Charles DeMotte

232 pages

eBook (PDF)
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December 2012


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Bat, Ball & Bible chronicles the collision of moral and social forces in the argument over upholding New York State’s blue laws, meant to restrict social activities and maintain Sunday’s traditional standing as a day of religious observation. Baseball was at the center of this conflict, which led to upheaval in society at a time when New York, especially New York City, already was undergoing rapid changes. From its inception, baseball, whether professional or amateur, was woven into the fabric of communities across the country and thus played an important social role. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, baseball and the Sunday observance question involved the clash of religious organizations, civil and lobbying groups, and local and state politics. The debate over Sunday observance intensified as other movements, such as temperance and the crusades against boxing and gambling, were beginning to gain momentum. Deep class, racial, religious, and ethnic divisions in New York’s social order contributed to the issue as well. Bat, Ball & Bible is not solely about baseball; rather, it illuminates one of the earliest instances of a “culture war” whose effects are still being felt today. Reflecting a number of contemporary religious and cultural issues, the book has appeal far beyond baseball.

Author Bio

CHARLES DEMOTTE teaches sociology and anthropology at SUNY Cortland. He received his PhD in history from the University of Kansas in 1977 and is the author of The Inner Side of History (1997), as well as numerous articles on baseball and American culture. He lives in Freeville, New York.