Here's the Pitch


Here's the Pitch

The Amazing, True, New, and Improved Story of Baseball and Advertising

Roberta J. Newman

352 pages
14 illustrations, index


March 2019


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

March 2019


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

March 2019


$34.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

2020 SABR Baseball Research Award

In the mid-nineteenth century, two industries arrived on the American scene. One was strictly a business, yet it helped create, define, and disseminate American culture. The other was ostensibly just a game, yet it soon became emblematic of what it meant to be American, aiding in the creation of a national identity. Today, whenever the AT&T call to the bullpen is heard, fans enter Minute Maid Park, or vote for favorite All-Stars (brought to us by MasterCard), we are reminded that advertising has become inseparable from the MLB experience.

Here’s the Pitch examines this connection between baseball and advertising, as both constructors and reflectors of culture. Roberta J. Newman considers the simultaneous development of both industries from the birth of the partnership, paying particular attention to the ways in which advertising spread the gospel of baseball at the same time professional baseball helped develop a body of consumers ready for the messages of advertising.

Newman considers the role of product endorsements in the creation of the culture of celebrity, and of celebrity baseball players in particular, as well as the ways in which new technologies have impacted the intersection of the two industries. From Ty Cobb to Babe Ruth in the 1920s and 1930s to Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Willie Mays in the postwar years, to Derek Jeter, Rafael Palmeiro, and David Ortiz in the twenty-first century, Newman looks at many of baseball’s celebrated players and shows what qualities made them the perfect pitchmen for new products at key moments.

Here’s the Pitch tells the story of the development of American and an increasingly international culture through the marriage between Mad Men and The Boys of Summer that made for great copy, notable TV advertisements, and lively social media, and shows how baseball’s relationship with advertising is stronger than ever.

Author Bio

Roberta J. Newman is a clinical professor in the Liberal Studies Program at New York University. She is the coauthor of Black Baseball, Black Business: Race Enterprise and the Fate of the Segregated Dollar.


"Whether you have an interest in baseball, advertising, history in general or pop culture Newman’s Here’s the Pitch: The Amazing, True, New, and Improved Story of Baseball and Advertising is both an informative and entertaining read."—Mark McGee, NINE

"An excellent piece of historical research and sophisticated analysis."—Richard C. Crepeau, Aethlon

"[Here's the Pitch] makes for entertaining reading for the serious fan interested in the nexus of the history of advertising and the national pastime."—Bob Komoroski, Inside Game

"Advertising can be subliminal, but its underlying influence among consumers is as strong today as it was when Cobb and Ruth urged fans to buy the products they were endorsing."—Bob D'Angelo, Sport in American History

Here’s the Pitch is a delight on every page. Dr. Newman offers a fascinating mosaic of American culture through the frame of the ‘nearly conjoined twins’ of baseball and advertising. . . . Readers will learn, reminisce, and laugh. Fans of baseball, American history, or advertising will find this an accessible book to add to their libraries, but only after loaning it and recommending it to their friends and associates. . . . Highly recommended.”—Robert Bellamy, professor of media and sports at Duquesne University

"Newman considers the role of product endorsements in the creation of the culture of celebrity, and of celebrity baseball players in particular, as well as the ways in which new technologies have impacted the intersection of the two industries."—Jason Schott, Brooklyn Fans

"Nine out of  ten doctors recommend that you don't leave home without Here's the Pitch. . . . Newman tells how these two industries were ideal mates in impacting the USA's collective consciousness."—John Vorperian, SABR Lajoie Chapter newsletter

"Here’s the Pitch should be referenced in any study of the relationship between the grand old game and the world of consumer product promotion. It is a serious review of two industries that grew up together and remain important to each other."—Dennis Snelling, New York Journal of Books

“Studying the history of baseball without studying the history of its advertising partnership is like trying to learn rocketry without understanding rocket fuel. Newman offers an insightful history of baseball’s alliance with advertising that is both entertaining and accessible. Her authoritative analysis is the go-to source on the symbiotic bond between two American obsessions.”—James R. Walker, author of Crack of the Bat: A History of Baseball on the Radio

"You've got what's likely the definitive project dedicated to hardball and hawking, where "Mad Men" meet yesterday's Max Muncies."—Tom Hoffarth,

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
Introduction: Here’s the Pitch!    
1. Hustlers, Hucksters, and Snake-Oil Salesmen: Two Industries Emerge    
2. “It Pays to Be Personal”: Baseball and Endorsement Advertising in the First Golden Age    
3. Breakfast of Champions: Tales of Depression-Era Baseball and Advertising    
4. Pitching in Black and White: Baseball, Advertising, and the Color Line    
5. Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet . . . and Beer, Cigarettes, Cat Food, and Margarine: Tales of Television Advertising    
6. “Let’s Just Say It Works for Me”: Major League Baseball, Viagra, and the Business of Pharmaceutical Advertising    
7. Four Things We Love: Advertising, Identity, Big Papi, and the Image of the Afro-Latino Ballplayer    
8. “Driven” to “RE2PECT”: Derek Jeter and the (Re)Branding of “All-American”    
Epilogue: Pitching in the Future Game    


2020 SABR Baseball Research Award

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