Includes bibliographical references (pages 279-290) and index.
Creating a national pastime -- 1865-1879: contesting a national pastime -- 1865-1879: commodifying a national pastime -- The 1880s: molding manly men and disappearing women -- The 1890s: new women, bloomer girls, and the old ball game.
Debra A. Shattuck pulls from newspaper accounts and hard-to-find club archives to reconstruct a forgotten era in baseball history. Her fascinating social history tracks women players who organized baseball clubs for their own enjoyment and found roster spots on men's teams. If the women faced financial exploitation and indignities, they nonetheless staked a claim to the nascent national pastime. Shattuck explores how the determination to take their turn at bat thrust female players into narratives of the women's rights movement and transformed perceptions of women's physical and mental capacity.