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Livestream: Kevin Baker, The New York Game: Baseball and the Rise of a New City

Monday, April 15, 2024 - 6:00 PM | Livestream | open to the public | $10 per person | registration required


A hugely entertaining history of baseball and New York City, bursting with larger-than-life figures and fascinating stories from the game’s beginnings to the end of World War II.

Baseball is “the New York game” because New York is where the diamond was first laid out, where the bunt and the curveball were invented, and where the home run was hit. It’s where the game’s first stars were born, and where everyone came to play or watch the game. With nuance and depth, historian Kevin Baker brings this all vividly back to life: the still-controversial, indelible moments—Did the Babe call his shot? Was Merkle out? Did they fix the 1919 World Series? Here are all the legendary players, managers, and owners, in all their vivid, complicated humanity, on and off the field.

In Baker’s hands the city and the game emerge from the murk of nineteenth-century American life—driven by visionaries and fixers, heroes and gangsters. He details how New York and its favorite sport came to mirror one another, expanding, bumbling through catastrophe and corruption, and rising out of these trials stronger than ever.

From the first innings played in vacant lots and tavern yards in the 1820s; to the canny innovations that created the very first sports league; to the superb Hispanic and Black players who invented their own version of the game when white baseball sought to exclude them. And all amidst New York’s own, incredible evolution from a raw, riotous town to a new world city. The New York Game is a riveting, rollicking, brilliant ode to America’s beloved pastime and to its indomitable city of origin.

Kevin Baker is a novelist, historian, and journalist. He has been a professional writer since the age of 13, working originally for the Gloucester Daily Times as a stringer covering school-boy sports. He is the coauthor of Reggie Jackson's Becoming Mr. October. His work as appeared in Harper’s, where he is also a contributing editor, New York Observer, The New York Times, and The New Republic.

This event is generously sponsored by Polymath Educational Services - providing personalized support for teens with learning differences.

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