Take Me Out to the Ballgame

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Baseball has been celebrated as “America’s National Pastime” for more than one hundred and fifty years, and recalls what, at least in retrospect, seems to be an earlier, more innocent age— long summer afternoons and sandlot ball, fresh rural air or brownstone stoops. In part, this is because most of those who love the game played as children and followed their favorite bigleague teams as children. It is not a game one grows out of, and once smitten, most baseball lovers remain true, passing on their love of the game to their children. And the game itself is ever young, the succession of baseball heroes unbroken: Honus Wagner to Ty Cobb to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, to Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, to Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays, to Mike Schmidt, and Cal Ripken, and Tony Gwynn, to the stars of the present. Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, Bob Feller, Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, and Bob Gibson, each generation has its heroes and cherishes the memory of those gone before as an ongoing counterpart to daily life—through the War and the Depression, through the fifties and sixties, and so on to the present day. This course is a celebration of baseball’s rich past—and of a game stronger than ever.
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