Casway: The Irish and Jim Crow baseball: competing for the badge of assimilation

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on October 15, 2018, with SABR member Jerry Casway:

In the 1850s, baseball was on the rise and so were the Irish in America. In those superheated days, anti-black sentiment in the North, where baseball had begun to flourish, was no more virulent than anti-Irish: The establishment lumped the two together as a permanent underclass, clambering upon each other to escape society’s bottom. Even Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal, “The question is whether you can bear freedom. At present the vast majority of men, whether black or white, require the discipline of labor which enslaves them for their good. If the Irishman did not shovel all day, he would get drunk and quarrel.” Such was the climate in the period before the Civil War.

My friend Jerry Casway is a professor emeritus of history at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. The author of two books, he has published more than sixty articles covering seventeenth-century Irish history and nineteenth-century baseball topics. It is my privilege to offer an excerpt is from his recently issued book, The Culture and Ethnicity of Nineteenth Century Baseball.

It appears at Our Game with the gracious permission of the author and his publisher, McFarland & Company.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 17, 2018. Last Updated: October 17, 2018.