- Summaries (2)
In the period 1930-40, the Depression had a major impact on the game of baseball. Many teams were nearing bankruptcy with attendance dwindling and fan interest at its lowest ebb. The owners introduced many innovations in an attempt to revive interest and attendance including the All Star game. Night games were introduced in 1935 and the Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown in 1939 on the mythical 100th anniversary of creation of the game. The sport still provided its heroes however. Babe Ruth was larger than life and in 1930 signed an $80,000 a year contract; his teammate Lou Gehrig had become the best hitter in the AL. Barnstorming black teams played white teams regularly and had an entertaining pre-game warm-up routine dubbed shadow ball. The Negro leagues came into its own and drew huge crowds. It had its own stars such as Satchel Paige, one of the greatest pitchers in all of baseball, and catcher Josh Gibson it's greatest hitter. By the end of the decade, the Babe's career was over, Gehrig had retired due to ALS and professional baseball was still segregated.
Throughout America, and even on the baseball diamonds in New York's Central Park, thousands of homeless people build shantytowns called "Hoovervilles." More than ever, America needs heroes. And even as it struggles to make it through the Depression, baseball provides them.
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