A captivating history of the baseball reformers and revolutionaries who challenged their sport and society--and in turn helped change America. Athletes have often used their platform to respond to and protest injustices, from Muhammad Ali and Colin Kaepernick to Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe. Compared to their counterparts, baseball players have often been more cautious about speaking out on controversial issues; but throughout the sport's history, there have been many players who were willing to stand up and fight for what was right. In Major League Rebels: Baseball Battles over Workers' Rights and American Empire, Robert Elias and Peter Dreier reveal a little-known yet important history of rebellion among professional ballplayers. These reformers took inspiration from the country's dissenters and progressive movements, speaking and acting against abuses within their profession and their country. Elias and Dreier profile the courageous players who demanded better working conditions, battled against corporate power, and challenged America's unjust wars, imperialism, and foreign policies, resisting the brash patriotism that many link with the "national pastime." American history can be seen as an ongoing battle over wealth and income inequality, corporate power versus workers' rights, what it means to be a "patriotic" American, and the role of the United States outside its borders. For over 100 years, baseball activists have challenged the status quo, contributing to the kind of dissent that creates a more humane society. Major League Rebels tells their inspiring stories.
About the Author
Robert Elias is Dean's Scholar and Professor of Politics and Legal Studies at the University of San Francisco. His baseball books include The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad; Baseball and the American Dream: Race, Class, Gender and the National Pastime; The Deadly Tools of Ignorance; and Baseball Rebels. His baseball essays have appeared in Nine, Jacobin, Baseball Research Journal, Pacific Historical Review, Diplomatic History, International Journal of the History of Sport, and Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture. He's also been published in the Washington Post, The Progressive, The Humanist, Social Policy, Peace Review, Counterpunch, Transatlantica, and many other periodicals and books. He is a longtime Society of American Baseball Research and Baseball Reliquary member. He lives in Mill Valley, CA, near San Francisco. Peter Dreier is E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and founding chair of the Urban and Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. A former newspaper reporter, community organizer, and senior policy advisor to Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, he has authored, coauthored, or edited eight books, including The 100 Greatest Americans of the Twentieth Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame and Place Matters: Metro Politics for the Twenty-First Century. A member of SABR and the Baseball Reliquary, Dreier has published hundreds of articles, op-ed columns, and essays on baseball, politics and social movements for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, the Nation, American Prospect, Dissent, New Republic, Huffington Post, Salon, Talking Points Memo, the Progressive, and elsewhere. He frequently appears in the national media and has been interviewed by Bill Moyers, Travis Smiley, Rachel Maddow, and Bill O'Reilly, among others. He lives in Pasadena, CA.