St. Louis historian Charles Korr, author of The End of Baseball as We Knew It: The Players Union, 1960-1981, will read from and discuss his work for the University’s International Writers Center in Arts & Sciences at 7:30 p.m. March 11 in the Women’s Building Formal Lounge.
Korr is the first speaker in the Writers Center’s newly inaugurated Local Writers Series, an annual reading that will highlight the work of St. Louis-area authors.
A book-signing and reception will follow, and copies of Korr’s works will be available for purchase.
From threats of a strike to battles over new stadiums, the business of baseball is today scrutinized with almost as much passion and intensity as the activities on the field. Yet during the game’s so-called “golden age,” players had few rights and little control over the fate of their careers.
That began to change in the 1960s and ’70s with the advent of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), which engineered a shift in power from the hands of management to those of the players, setting a new standard for all professional sports.
The End of Baseball as We Knew It is the first book to chronicle this change in the nation’s pastime, providing new understanding of the many ways the union has shaped baseball’s economics.
Through the study of numerous archived materials — including letters, interviews, articles and the correspondence of the MLBPA — Korr reveals how the union leveraged its position and how, by 1981, it had achieved drastic increases to players’ salaries, improved their rights during contract negotiations and replaced the hated “reserve system” with free agency.
Korr is a professor of history at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where his areas of expertise are British history and politics and the role of sports in history and society.
He also is the author of West Ham United: The Making of a Football Club (Sport and Society), which compares and contrasts baseball with the soccer craze in England.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the International Writers Center at 935-5576.