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Ethnicity And Baseball. Essay

1270 words - 5 pages

Baseball was considered the American game, played by real, true blooded Americans. Prior to the 1930s, the game was almost completely subjugated by the American ethnicity of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, or WASP. There was an invisible barrier put around the game of Organized Baseball, to keep the other 'inferior' ethnicities from joining in. For years, only true 'whites' could play the game, ball players with other ethnicities would be faced with stereotyping by sport commentators and the Press. The efforts and achievements of two great ball players, Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg, gave everyone a hero that they could look up to, and made it clear that baseball greatness goes beyond just ethnicity.In the early years, it would seem baseball games were following the rules of the Melting Pot theory. The theory was intentionally designed to be used on the country of America as a whole. The theory treated the country as a giant pot, on a giant stove. Each ethnicity would be added in, in certain amounts. In the end, each of the distinctive characteristics of the ethnic groups would eventually disappear with time, and the 'brew' would be full of ingredients that would be indistinguishable from each other. However, two important concerns were present. It was important to monitor what ethnicity was added in, as much as the capacity of mixture to absorb those ingredients. This was how discussion of baseball was based on.For around the first 3 decades of the 20th century, ethnicity of baseball players was deemed relevant and was the basis for commentators. Two ethnic groups received the severest of the commentary attacks, the Jewish and the Italians, until the 1940s, when ethnicity lost priority gradually, until it was barely commented on at all. Two Hall of Famers, Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg helped to advance this cause.There was a reason to why the Jews and Italians were treated the way they did is connected to the Irish and Germans players at the time. In the early 20th century, a large pool of players had been Irish and Germans. So many of the players had been of this descent, that commentators had a hard time excluding players from the game based on just ethnicity and stereotypes, in retaliation, Germans and Irish players were openly welcomed into the game, and used as evidence of a "democratic" and "catholic" America. Jews and Italians had also contributed a number of potentially good ball players. However, their ethnic background was often the subject of many commentators. Jews, in fact, had to be singled out by the commentators due to the fact that there was no Jewish nation at the time. The first Italian ballplayer had also face ethnic criticism since the first day he went onto the field. Thanks to Hank Greenberg and Joe DiMaggio, these ethnic stereotyping on players would soon cease as they contributed to the "transformation of ethnic consciousness in baseball commentary" (81) due to their extreme success as ball players. Their status was...

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