Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Title

Crashsmith Dope: the Role of Media in the Development of Professional Baseball in New York From 1919-1929

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Journalism

First Advisor

Nancy Dupont

Second Advisor

Kathleen Wickham

Third Advisor

Brad Schultz

Abstract

John McGraw's New York Giants were the premier team of the Deadball Era, which stretched from 1900–1919. Led by McGraw and his ace pitcher, Christy Mathewson, the Giants epitomized the Deadball Era with their strong pitching and hard-nosed style of play. In 1919 however, The New York Times and The Sporting News chronicled a surge in the number of home runs that would continue through the 1920s until the entire sport embraced a new era of baseball. This thesis details the role played by these two newspapers in the rise of the Live Ball Era, the New York Yankees, and Babe Ruth. The New York Times was a daily newspaper located in New York, the heart of the Live Ball movement, while The Sporting News was the primary publication of choice for baseball enthusiasts throughout the country. The research chronicles the 1919–1929 baseball seasons provided by commentary and game accounts from both publications. It examines the shift in values of the sport of baseball from John McGraw's Deadball Era to Babe Ruth's Live Ball Era. In addition to discussing the role of newspapers and baseball following World War I, the research will show the media's role in the rising popularity of Babe Ruth as John McGraw saw his power wane in the press and on the field with the Giants. As the newspaper accounts will reveal, the sports coverage of The New York Times and The Sporting News reflected the shift in baseball styles as the Deadball Era Giants yielded to the Live Ball Era Yankees from 1919 to 1929.

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