How Did Base Ball Become Baseball? The Origin and Growth of the Sport in the 19th Century

During the 19th century, the name of America’s National Pastime was always written as two distinct words: base ball. By the 20th century, they had been combined, but that was the least of the changes in the world of baseball. How did the sport begin? Was there a father of baseball or did it evolve gradually? How did it spread beyond New York and become truly national in scope? What was the impact of the Civil War upon the growth of baseball? How did an amateur sport become a professionalism endeavor? Who were the African-American players who preceded Jackie Robinson by more than a half-century? This course traces the origin of baseball and its growth and evolution through the end of the 19th century, from a loosely-organized pastime to a multi-million dollar commercial endeavor.

Instructor: Bill Ryczek

Three Thursdays: April 27, May 4, 11

6:30—8:30 P.M.

Wasch Center Butterfield Room: $100

Bill Ryczek

Bill Ryczek has written seven books on sports history, including a trilogy on 19th century baseball covering the years from its beginnings through 1875.  He has also written about New York baseball and professional football during the 1960s, and has won several awards, including twice receiving the Nelson Ross Award from the Professional Football Researchers Association for the year’s best book on the history of professional football.  Bill previously taught a course on the history of baseball at Quinnipiac University.  He is one of the founding partners of Colebrook Financial Company, located in Middletown, Connecticut.