SFSU Public Affairs Press ReleasePublished by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.
SAN FRANCISCO, April 30, 2001 ----San Francisco State University historian Jules Tygiel has received the prestigious 2001 Seymour Medal from the Society for American Baseball Research for his fresh look at baseball history and culture in his book "Past Time: Baseball as History," which was published last year.
"It is quite moving to be honored by your peers with such an award," said Tygiel. "In my book I have tried to use baseball as a vehicle to explore American culture through the years."
The judges called Tygiel's work "original and engrossing." They praised Tygiel's graceful prose, impressive insights, fresh perspectives and thoughtful connections. "Tygiel not only has given readers a collection of exceptional essays (each representing an inning in a ball game) but an authoritative and stimulating synthesis that leaves readers yearning for extra innings," the judges wrote.
In nine essays, Tygiel explores developments ranging from the importance of Henry Chadwick's early fascination with baseball statistics to the implications of the careers of Connie Mack, John McGraw, Charles Comiskey and Clark Griffith on baseball's popularity in the early 20th century to the success of rotisserie leagues and fantasy camps in the 1980s.
Tygiel, who grew up in Brooklyn as a fan of the Dodgers but now roots for the San Francisco Giants, said his research shows that baseball is more popular than ever although the sport may not be known as the national pastime. Technology has given baseball an added boost. Cable television and the Internet, for example, have made the game more intimate for millions of fans, he said.
Another key to baseball's popularity? Baby boomers, he said. "Baby boomers are the last generation raised on only baseball. They grew up when baseball was king. Now as they grow older and have more disposable income they can indulge in their childhood memories of the game of baseball," he said.
Tygiel, who teaches American history at S.F. State, is the author of several books on baseball. He wrote the acclaimed "Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy," "The Jackie Robinson Reader," and "The Great Los Angeles Swindle: Oil, Stocks and Scandal in the Roaring Twenties." Tygiel is currently at work on a collection of baseball essays for the University of Nebraska Press and he is writing an introduction for a book on baseball and American culture for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
The Society for American Baseball Research, which has nearly 7,000 members, is a nonprofit organization that works to promote baseball history and statistics.
To reach Jules Tygiel, call Ted DeAdwyler of the S.F. State Public Affairs Office at (415) 338-7110.
SFSU, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132
Last modified April 24, 2007, by Office of Public Affairs