I recently had a chance to check out The Cambridge Companion to Baseball. In its own billing, this book states that it “examines baseball in culture, baseball as culture, and the game’s global identity.” And, that’s exactly what it does, in my opinion.
Further, in the introduction of the book, there’s a great summary on what this one is all about when it says:
The Cambridge Companion to Baseball is a book for fans and aficionados, but it’s also for readers interested in viewing American culture through one of its most storied pursuits. Each chapter of this book reflects on a different social, historical, economic, or artistic aspect of baseball. Some chapters overlap chronologically as they focus on their particular histories…
Together, the book traces a lose chronological arc that takes the game from its antebellum liftoff to its twenty-first century on- and off-the-field turbulence.
Lastly, in his recommendation of this book, former Yankees pitcher and author of Ball Four, Jim Bouton says “It seems like the entire history of baseball is packed into this one book – and without a wasted word. It’s tremendously enjoyable – the perfect companion.”
I concur with Bouton. In fact, if I were teaching a course in baseball history, I would include the Cambridge Companion to Baseball as one of my pedagogical tools. It’s a fine collection of academic papers, intelligently written, that covers all the bases with respect to baseball the game and its impact outside the lines – both domestically and globally.