Ambassadors in Pinstripes: The Spalding World Baseball Tour and the Birth of the American Empire

Ambassadors in Pinstripes: The Spalding World Baseball Tour and the Birth of the American Empire

by Thomas W. Zeiler

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Inspired and led by sporting magnate Albert Goodwill Spalding, two teams of baseball players circled the globe for six months in 1888-1889 competing in such far away destinations as Australia, Sri Lanka and Egypt. These players, however, represented much more than mere pleasure-seekers. In this lively narrative, Zeiler explores the ways in which the Spalding World Baseball Tour drew on elements of cultural diplomacy to inject American values and power into the international arena. Through his chronicle of baseball history, games, and experiences, Zeiler explores expressions of imperial dreams through globalization's instruments of free enterprise, webs of modern communication and transport, cultural ordering of races and societies, and a strident nationalism that galvanized notions of American uniqueness. Spalding linked baseball to a U.S. presence overseas, viewing the world as a market ripe for the infusion of American ideas, products and energy. Through globalization during the Gilded Age, he and other Americans penetrated the globe and laid the foundation for an empire formally acquired just a decade after their tour.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780742569836
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/22/2006
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 232
File size: 14 MB
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About the Author

Thomas W. Zeiler is professor of history at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the author of Unconditional Defeat: Japan, America, and the End of World War II, Free Trade, Free World: The Advent of GATT, Dean Rusk: Defending the American Mission Abroad and co-author of Globalization and the American Century.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Baseball, Globalization, and Empire 2 Marketing: Albert Spalding's Chicago 3 Movement: The American West 4 An Empire of Race: Southern Seas 5 Old and New World Cultures: Europe 6 National Identity: Return to America 7 Conclusion: Imperial Imagination 8 Bibliography

What People are Saying About This

Jules Tygiel

Ambassadors in Pinstripes captures the excitement and drama of Albert Spalding's audacious baseball tour of the world. Thomas Zeiler has woven a narrative that is part travelogue, part tour book, part baseball history, and, at the same time, an incisive critique of late nineteenth century imperialism. He offers the reader a real sense of both baseball and Americans abroad in the Victorian Era.

Bruce Kuklick

In 1888-89 two teams of professional baseball players squared off against one another on an international tour that included games in Australia, Ceylon, Egypt, Italy, and England. In this delightful book, Thomas Zeiler tells the story of this tour and puts it in the context of the imperial expansion of the United States that was so much a part of our diplomacy at the end of the 19th century. On the one hand, this is baseball history for adults. On the other, it is a painless — even pleasurable — way to introduce students to the global foreign policy that Americans would implement thereafter.

Marc Gallicchio

Join “Big Al” Spalding and his Base Ball tourists on their globetrotting mission to make America’s pastime into the world’s game. You won’t regret the trip. Thomas Zeiler draws on the most recent scholarship on such subjects as globalization, gender, tourism, sports history, and race, to show how Spalding’s mission was America’s mission in all of its idealistic self-interested complexity. Highly informative and fun to read, Ambassadors in Pinstripes is an ideal book for courses on U.S. Foreign Relations, Sports History, and Gilded Age America.

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