David George Surdam and Michael J. Haupert
The Age of Ruth and Landis
The Economics of Baseball during the Roaring Twenties
University of Nebraska Press 2018
Today we are joined by David George Surdam, co-author with Michael J. Haupert of the book The Age of Ruth and Landis: The Economics of Baseball during the Roaring Twenties (University of Nebraska Press, 2018). In this work, which blends a liberal mix of sports and economics, Surdam and Haupert provide a straightforward narrative that does not bog the reader down with too many numbers. The Age of Ruth and Landis provides plenty of stories about the 1920s’ two most dominant figures in major-league baseball, but also includes chapters about gambling, the teams’ financial ledgers, competitive balance, the running salary battles between players and owners, and the impact of the minor leagues. The book also touches on ethnic diversity and the Negro Leagues during the 1920s. Baseball numbers have always fascinated Surdam, who found a new edition of the MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia as a youth. “Sheer delight,” said Surdam, who is a professor of economics at Northern Iowa University. The authors use figures from a congressional investigation into baseball in 1951 to provide fascinating insights about what teams were making money. Babe Ruth changed the way baseball was played, and Kenesaw Mountain Landis changed the way the game was ruled. But economics after World War I dictated who the true winners and losers of baseball really were.
Bob D’Angelo earned his master’s degree in history from Southern New Hampshire University in May 2018. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and spent more than three decades as a sportswriter and sports copy editor, including 28 years on the sports copy desk at The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. He can be reached at [email protected]. For more information, visit Bob D’Angelo’s Books and Blogs.