The New York Game: Baseball and the Rise of a New City


Living New Deal NYC Chapter Director will give a talk at the Roosevelt House on Event Date: Thursday, May 23, 2024 @ 6:00 pm.


Roosevelt House is pleased to present a discussion of Kevin Baker’s new book The New York Game: Baseball and the Rise of a New City. In this entertaining and insightful chronicle, Baker illuminates the interwoven histories of the sport and the city. The author will be in conversation with author and journalist Jonathan Mahler.

Baseball is “the New York game,” according to Kevin Baker, 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 first hit. It’s where, Baker says, the game’s original stars were born, and where everyone came to play or watch the game. “A buoyant, double coming-of-age story” (Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff), The New York Game 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.

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. Amidst New York’s own incredible evolution from a raw, riotous town to a new world city, Baker tracks the sport’s beginnings—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” excluded them. Nuanced and deeply researched, The New York Game is a riveting and 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. His work has appeared in Harper’s, where he is also a contributing editor, New York Observer, The New York Times, and The New Republic. Coauthor of Reggie Jackson’s Becoming Mr. October, he is also the author of the novels Dreamland, Paradise Alley, Strivers Row, Sometimes You See it Coming, and the nonfiction book The Fall of a Great American City: New York and the Urban Crisis of Affluence.

Jonathan Mahler is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. He is also the author of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City and The Challenge: How a Maverick Navy Officer and a Young Law Professor Risked Their Careers to Defend the Constitution—and Won. He published his first cover story for the magazine in 2001, and has since won a number of awards for a broad range of stories covering everything from politics to sports to religion.

Find more details here.

Event details

Date: Thu. May 23rd, 2024

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