Historian and Seymour Medal Winner Tygiel Succumbs to Cancer

Jules Tygiel, 59, of San Francisco, California, passed away Tuesday night, July 1, after a battle with cancer.

A member of SABR since 1983, Tygiel’s best-known baseball work was Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and his Legacy, which was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 50 Sports Books of All Time in 2003.

Jules Tygiel, 59, of San Francisco, California, passed away Tuesday night, July 1, after a battle with cancer.

A member of SABR since 1983, Tygiel’s best-known baseball work was Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and his Legacy, which was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 50 Sports Books of All Time in 2003. His book, Past Time: Baseball as History, received SABR’s Seymour Medal for the best book of history published in 2000.

Fellow historian Richard Crepeau calls Baseball’s Great Experiment “not simply a great piece of sport history, but a great piece of American historical scholarship. It is the one book in our field that I wish I could have written, and the one book that has been read by students, baseball fans, intellectuals, and people who care nothing about baseball or sport, with great interest and pleasure.”

A member of the Lefty O’Doul Chapter of SABR, his contributions to the SABR-L (SABR’s online discussion group) “stimulated controversy and discussion and provided another vehicle for teaching and learning.”

Tygiel was a history professor at San Francisco State University since 1985 and co-taught (with Eric Solomon) a course on the History and Literature of Baseball. He served on the editorial boards of Journal of Sport History (1988-1996), Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Social Policy Perspectives (1993-2008) and Base Ball (2006-2008).

He is survived by his wife, Luise, and sons, Charlie and Sam.



Originally published: July 2, 2008. Last Updated: July 2, 2008.

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