Mitchell Nathanson Pitches New Baseball History Book
As baseball season heats up for the summer, Mitchell Nathanson, professor of legal writing at Villanova University School of Law looks back on the history of America’s favorite pastime in his new book “A People’s History of Baseball.” The book examines the struggle by people with then-new money but the wrong ethnicities, against the exclusive cricket clubs.
“They were Irish. They were German Jews. They were kept out of the top level clubs so they gravitated toward a different sport – baseball – which was a lower level sport, played particularly in New England, and they made that their game and presented it as the American game as compared to cricket, which they called an English game.”
The result was the emergence of the National League.
Much of Professor Nathanson’s scholarship has focused on sports-related topics; specifically, the interplay between sport and society. His other book, “The Fall of the 1977 Phillies: How a Baseball Team’s Collapse Sank a City’s Spirit” (McFarland, 2008) was a social history of 20th century Philadelphia as told through the relationship between the city and its baseball teams – the Athletics and the Phillies. Professor Nathanson has twice been invited to present his work at the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture – widely regarded as the preeminent academic baseball conference – at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.