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Bloomer GirlsWomen Baseball Pioneers$
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Debra A. Shattuck

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040375

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040375.001.0001

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1865–1879: Commodifying a National Pastime

1865–1879: Commodifying a National Pastime

The “Professional” Game

(p.62) 3. 1865–1879: Commodifying a National Pastime
Bloomer Girls

Debra A. Shattuck

University of Illinois Press

While Major League Baseball is a multi-billion dollar business today, the early professional game struggled to attract fans and make money. The 1870s saw the transformation of America’s leisure activities and men’s and women’s professional baseball teams emerged to compete for spectators with circuses, pedestrian races, boxing matches, and theatrical productions. Colorful pageantry was part of the early professional matches and many of the female players were former theatrical performers. Women’s professional teams emerged in Springfield, Illinois (1875) and in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and New York (1879). Burlesque troupes began featuring “female nines” at indoor performances; middle-class critics began accusing female professional teams of making a “burlesque” of the national pastime.

Keywords:   Major League Baseball, professional, leisure, Springfield, Philadelphia, New Orleans, New York, burlesque

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