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Here's the Pitch

The Amazing, True, New, and Improved Story of Baseball and Advertising

Roberta J. Newman

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 03/2019
Pages: 352
Subject: Sports and Recreation
eBook ISBN: 9781496213655


2020 SABR Baseball Research Award In the mid-nineteenth century, two industries arrived on the American scene. One was strictly a business, yet it helped create, define, and disseminate American culture. The other was ostensibly just a game, yet it soon became emblematic of what it meant to be American, aiding in the creation of a national identity. Today, whenever the AT&T call to the bullpen is heard, fans enter Minute Maid Park, or vote for favorite All-Stars (brought to us by MasterCard), we are reminded that advertising has become inseparable from the MLB experience.Here's the Pitch examines this connection between baseball and advertising, as both constructors and reflectors of culture. Roberta J. Newman considers the simultaneous development of both industries from the birth of the partnership, paying particular attention to the ways in which advertising spread the gospel of baseball at the same time professional baseball helped develop a body of consumers ready for the messages of advertising. Newman considers the role of product endorsements in the creation of the culture of celebrity, and of celebrity baseball players in particular, as well as the ways in which new technologies have impacted the intersection of the two industries. From Ty Cobb to Babe Ruth in the 1920s and 1930s to Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Willie Mays in the postwar years, to Derek Jeter, Rafael Palmeiro, and David Ortiz in the twenty-first century, Newman looks at many of baseball's celebrated players and shows what qualities made them the perfect pitchmen for new products at key moments.Here's the Pitch tells the story of the development of American and an increasingly international culture through the marriage between Mad Men and The Boys of Summer that made for great copy, notable TV advertisements, and lively social media, and shows how baseball's relationship with advertising is stronger than ever.


Roberta J. Newman is a clinical professor in the Liberal Studies Program at New York University. She is the coauthor of Black Baseball, Black Business: Race Enterprise and the Fate of the Segregated Dollar.  


"Studying the history of baseball without studying the history of its advertising partnership is like trying to learn rocketry without understanding rocket fuel. Newman offers an insightful history of baseball's alliance with advertising that is both entertaining and accessible. Her authoritative analysis is the go-to source on the symbiotic bond between two American obsessions."—James R. Walker, author of Crack of the Bat: A History of Baseball on the Radio

"Roberta Newman takes us on a deep dive into baseball, apple pie, and advertising with great insight and humor. Oh, and there's beer, too."—Jon Leonoudakis, award-winning filmmaker and author of Baseball Pioneers

"Here's the Pitch is a delight on every page. Dr. Newman offers a fascinating mosaic of American culture through the frame of the 'nearly conjoined twins' of baseball and advertising. . . . Readers will learn, reminisce, and laugh. Fans of baseball, American history, or advertising will find this an accessible book to add to their libraries, but only after loaning it and recommending it to their friends and associates. . . . Highly recommended."—Robert Bellamy, professor of media and sports at Duquesne University