Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Money Ball

Over the years, the Commonwealth Club of California has featured such noted speakers as Milton Friedman, Cesar Chavez, William Shockley, Tony La Russa, Dusty Baker, and Billy Beane. Because the club is interested in all aspects of life, its collection here at Hoover includes materials related to some things one might not expect, such as professional sports in the Bay Area, especially baseball. With the new baseball season just underway, I thought it might be interesting to highlight this.

Going back to at least 1954, the club’s sports events have not been superfluous entertainment but generally concern things of economic (and social) importance. For example, Mayor Frank Jordan dedicated half of his talk to what his administration was doing to keep the Giants in San Francisco. Other events of the era concerned the same topic. Revenues and salaries come up as well, as does drug use by athletes. Baseball’s movers and shakers have visited the club pretty regularly and they’re still at it.

The Commission for Relief in Belgium (C.R.B.) Delegates baseball team, playing its only game on Independence Day, 1916 in Brussels, Belgium. Philip S. Platt is at bat. Philip S. Platt collection, photo file, Hoover Institution Archives

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