A series of dry baseball-related essays compiled by a sociologist who views the game as ""a meaningful cultural institution. . . and mirror of American life and times."" The scattered topics examined here with some justification but little depth include a brief history of baseball's aristocratic origins and major-league outgrowth; the Chicago ""Black Sox"" scandal of 1919; promoter Harry Wright, the ""father of professional baseball""; a description of the game's segregationist past, multiracial present, and potentially international future; a summary of the first players' strike in 1890 as well as the most recent one in 1972; and finally, a juxtaposed view of umpires (""despised villains"") and heroes (Cobb, Ruth, DiMaggio, Aaron, et al.). The author concludes that ""viewed sociologically, major league baseball's century long existence shows an institution groping for equilibrium in a changing environmental setting."" You'll find it difficult to dig in here even though the author manages to touch some of the bases.