Ballplayers go drinking!

Richard Hershberger

Richard Hershberger is a paralegal working in Maryland. When he isn't doing whatever it is that paralegals do, or taking his daughters to Girl Scouts, he is dedicated to the collection and analysis of useless and unremunerative information.

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2 Responses

  1. Burt Likko says:

    Were ballplayers thought of as men of poor repute? The sort of men of whom frequenting homes of the ladies of the evening was simply to be expected? Seems so. Seems odd, though, that service of alcoholic beverages as refreshments in this sort of establishment would not also have been simply assumed to be part of the milieu.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Burt Likko says:

      “Were ballplayers thought of as men of poor repute?”

      Absolutely! This would carry over well into the 20th century. There are innumerable examples of collegiate players who wouldn’t go pro because their parents insisted they not, and other cases where they used pseudonyms so as not to bring shame onto their families. There was a steady trickle of exceptions, but it was unusual to find college graduates in the professional ranks until mid-20th century. Most professional ballplayers were working class, and well paid compared to manual labor rates. Financial self-discipline was not a hallmark of the profession. The high flying ballplayer, and the bankrupt former ballplayer, were well established tropes by this time.

      My take on the emphasis on who was and was not drunk is that alcohol was the hot button culture war battlefield of the day. People tend to lose sight of priorities in culture wars. It is like the old joke about the Baptist opposed to sex for fear that it might lead to dancing.Report