Who Desegregated Major League Baseball

Who Desegregated Major League
Baseball: Adam Smith or Jackie
Minnesota Council for the Social Studies
March 4, 2012
Mark C. Schug
Professor Emeritus
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
• Problems teaching history
• How economic thinking
might help
• An introduction to the
economic way of thinking
• Who desegregated Major
League Baseball: Adam
Smith or Jackie Robinson?
• Two side bars
• Want more stories like this?
Problems Teaching History
Problems Teaching U.S. History
• Schools rely on U.S. history to teach
– Our national identify
– An academic understanding of our
• Some states are encouraging teachers
to place more emphasis on economics
in non-economics courses such as U.S.
and World History.
• History teaching is criticized as being
– Boring in content and pedagogy
– Superficial/Trivial
– Remote
– Rarely focused on “why”
Status of State Economics Standards
Relationship Between Time in the
Curriculum and Learning
• Students usually take 6
semesters of U.S. history:
– Grade 5: 2 semesters
– Grade 8: 2 semesters
– Grade 11: 2 semesters
• Yet, national tests show that
achievement in history is
low compared to civics,
geography, and economics.
NAEP Achievement Levels
36 % below basic
21 % below basic
30 % below basic
NAEP Achievement Levels: History
55 % below basic
MN K-12 Academic Standards in Social
MN K-12 Academic Standards in Social
MN K-12 Academic Standards in Social
How Economic Thinking Might Help
What Can Economics Contribute to
Improving the Teaching of History?
• Economics stresses the idea
that all people make
• But, individuals don’t know
at the time what the
consequences of their
choices will be.
They Didn’t Know How It Would All
Turn Out
• In writing history or biography, you must remember that
nothing was on track. Things could have gone any way at any
point. As soon as you say “was” it seems to fix an event in the
past. But nobody ever lived in the past, only the present.
• The difference is that it was their present. They were just as
alive and full of ambition, fear, hope and all the emotions of
life. And, just like us, they didn’t know how it would all turn
TALKING HISTORY WITH: David McCullough; Immersed in Facts,
The Better to Imagine Harry Truman's Life
Published: August 12, 1992 New York Times
They Didn’t Know How It Would All
Turn Out
• The challenge is to get the reader [student] beyond the
thinking that things had to be the way they turned out and to
see the range of possibilities of how it could have been
Introduction to the Economic Way of
Guide to Economic Reasoning
To try and understand why things
turned out as they did, we apply the
economic way of thinking:
1. People choose.
2. People’s choices involve costs.
3. People respond to incentives in
predictable ways.
4. People create economic systems that
influence individual choices and
incentives. [“Rules of the Game”]
5. People gain when they trade
6. People’s choices sometimes create
unintended consequences.
Who Desegregated Major League
Baseball: Jackie Robinson or Adam
Jackie Robinson or Adam Smith?
• Branch Rickey, President of
the Brooklyn Dodgers,
signed Jackie Robinson in
1947 to be the first African
American player in the
major leagues.
• It took courage to make the
offer and to sign the
• Racial segregation in 1947
was widespread .
Racial Discrimination
• Jim Crow laws were enacted
by several state and local
governments as a way to
keep African Americans
segregated .
Racial Discrimination
• In the South, nearly every
aspect of life was separate
including public schools,
buses, railroad passenger
cars, restrooms, swimming
pools, pool halls, and
Racial Discrimination
• The U.S. armed forces were
• In the 1920s, an African
American man could not
enlist in the U.S. Navy.
Supreme Court 1954
• In 1954, the U.S.
Supreme Court declared
state sponsored school
segregation to be
But, Little Changed Right Away
• It would take years and
additional court decisions
before schools and other
institutions would take
actions regarding
Why Some and Not Others?
• Yet, some industries abandoned
racial segregation well before the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the
Voting Rights Act of 1965.
• Why might some markets – like
major league baseball – move
more quickly to reduce racial
segregation than others?
Jackie Robinson or Adam Smith?
• Did Adam Smith’s invisible
hand contribute to the
desegregation of major
league baseball?
• What is the metaphor of
the invisible hand meant to
• Free markets - - allowing
people to act in their own
self-interest - - promotes
positive social outcomes
even those these are not
People Choose
• MLB club owners - - Branch
Rickey in particular - decided to sign African
American players because it
was the best combination of
benefits and costs they
could attain.
People’s Choices Involve Costs
• Questions of cost loomed
• Before 1947, club owners
worried that white fans
would stay away if they
signed African American
• They worried that white
players would refuse to play
with African American
players - - fights, strikes.
• They worried that revenues
would decline.
People’s Choices Involve Costs
• Robinson endured
beanballs, racial epithets,
spitting, and spikings.
• In 1946, Pee Wee Reese
refused to sign a petition
by players to boycott
playing with a black player.
• Reese told the boycott
leaders: “I’m not signing
that. No way!”
People’s Choices Involve Costs
• During the first 1947 road
trip to Cincinnati, the crowd
heckled Robinson during
pre-game practice.
• Pee Wee Reese, short stop
and team captain, placed
his arm around Robinson
and silenced the crowd.
People’s Choices Involve Costs
• The NY Times quoted Reese
as saying:
• “I just wanted to play
baseball. I’d just come back
from serving in the South
Pacific with the Navy in
World War II. I had a wife
and daughter to support. I
needed the money. I just
wanted to get on with it.”
People Respond to Incentives
• What are incentives to
owners of MLB clubs?
• Earning profits
• Winning and all that goes
with it
People Respond to Incentives
• What are incentives to
owners of MLB players?
• Earning better salaries
• Winning and all that goes
with it
Welcome to Our Baseball Draft
Welcome to Our Baseball Draft
Mark Schug
Right Field
Bats .120
40 time: 8.0
Welcome to Our Baseball Draft
Mark Schug
Volunteer 1
Right Field
Bats .120
40 time: 8.0
Center Field
Bats .180
40 time: 7.8
Welcome to Our Baseball Draft
Mark Schug
Volunteer 1
Volunteer 2
Right Field
Bats .120
40 time: 8.0
Center Field
Bats .180
40 time: 7.8
Short Stop
Bats .355
40 time: 5.5
Which Player Would You Draft?
• The most productive player!
• So, some club owners
wanted to hire the best
players regardless of race
• They had an agreement to
only sign white players.
People Create Economic Systems:
The Rules of the Game
• Baseball club owners are
exempted from federal
anti-trust laws.
• This was the result of a
1922 Supreme Court ruling
in the case of the Federal
Baseball Club of Baltimore,
Inc. v. National League of
Professional Baseball
People Create Economic Systems:
The Rules of the Game
• Despite the fact that major
league baseball clubs
operated a legal cartel, the
rules of the game
encouraged competition.
• Competition erodes the
ability of a cartel to
enforce the agreements
among its members.
Remember What Competition Looks Like?
Competition from the Negro Leagues
• Dozens of African American
professional and semiprofessional baseball teams
played from 1887 to 1950.
• The most successful was the
Negro National League
founded in 1920 by Rube
Foster, who was eventually
elected to the Baseball Hall
of Fame.
Competition from the Negro Leagues
• During the 1930s and 1940s
a new Negro National
League was established; it
was regarded as having the
most talented players.
• In 1946 the West Coast
Professional Baseball
League was formed in
California but only lasted
one season.
Competition from Barnstormers
• Then there were the
barnstorming African
American teams like the
Omaha Tigers and the
Miami Giants.
• Barnstorming teams
traveled circuits in the
south or Midwest, for
Competition: Paige and Dean
• The most famous
barnstormers were the
Satchel Paige All Stars (all
African American players)
and the Dizzy Dean All
Stars (all white players).
• They toured the nation
every October from 1934
to 1945 and were
watched by thousands of
Competition to Win In NYC
• Competition in big baseball
markets like New York City was
more intense then it was in
smaller baseball markets.
• After World War II, New York
City had three professional
baseball teams - - the
Brooklyn Dodgers, the New
York Yankees and the New
York Giants.
Competition to Win in NYC
• Fans love to follow
winning teams.
• Mass transit allowed
fans to shift loyalties
easily from on club to
• Having a winning team
was one way to attract
• Having spectacular
players was another.
People Gain from Voluntary Trade
• In 1946, the Brooklyn
Dodgers finished two games
behind the Cardinals.
• They hoped to do better.
• In 1946, Rickey signed
Robinson who played that
year in the Montreal Royals.
• Both sides -- Robinson and
Rickey -- expected to gain.
• 1947 was the rookie year
for Jackie Robinson with the
People Gain from Voluntary Trade
• Overnight, Robinson
became the largest
attraction in baseball.
• Huge crowds turned out to
see him play.
• In 1947, the Dodgers won
the National League
• They won it again in 1949,
1952, 1953, 1955, and 1956.
• The Dodgers won the World
Series in 1955.
People Gain from Voluntary Trade
• Rickey was aware of his
overnight success.
• He quickly signed more
African American players
such as Roy Campanella and
Don Newcombe.
People Gain from Voluntary Trade
• Bill Veeck claims that in
1942 he acquired backing to
purchase the financially
strapped Philadelphia
• His plan was to hire African
American stars from the
Negro league.
• Commissioner Kenesaw
Mountain Landis vetoed the
sale and arranged the for
National League to take
over the club.
Side Bar 1
• Veeck is also remembered
for his stunts.
• In August 19, 1951, when
he owned the St. Louis
Browns, he sent Eddie
Gaedel to the plate.
• Eddie was walked on four
pitches and then replaced
by a pinch runner.
• The Browns won the game.
People Gain from Voluntary Trade
• Bill Veeck, later the owner
of the Cleveland Indians,
signed outfielder Larry Doby
who started playing weeks
after Robinson in July of
• Veeck also signed the oldest
rookie ever signed – Satchel
Paige in 1948.
• Paige was 42 year s old.
People’s Choices Sometimes Create
Unintended Consequences
• Owners were right to worry
about unintended
• Would white fans would
stay away?
• Would players engage in
fights, strikes?
• Would revenues would
• Fortunately, most often
these worries proved to be
People’s Choices Sometimes Create
Unintended Consequences
• Rickey may have only
intended to field a winning
team, win the pennant, and
earn a profit.
• However, the signing of
Robinson desegregated
major league baseball.
• An unintended consequence
of the invisible hand?
Other Consequences
• Before 1947, were owners
right to worry about fans
staying away when they
signed African American
• James Gwartney and
Charles Haworth found that
on average, each additional
African American player on
a team was associated with
between 55,000 and 60,000
additional annual hometeam admissions during the
Other Consequences
• Gwartney and Haworth also
found that the number of
African American players
was a significant factor in
determining the number of
games won.
• For the period from 19501955, they found that the
inclusion of an African
American player on a major
league team, on average,
resulted in an additional
3.75 wins per year.
Major League Baseball Was Not
Alone: Side Bar 2
Southern Street Car Owners
• There were other examples
of white-owned businesses
in the South which tried to
hire African American
employees or serve African
American customers.
Street Car Owners Wanted to Earn Profits
• Southern street car owners
early in the 20th century
refused to discriminate
against African Americans
because discrimination
reduced their profits.
Hauling Around Empty Space
• One manager complained that segregation laws increased
costs because the laws required the company to:
“haul around a good deal of empty space that is assigned to
colored people and not available to both races.”
• In Augusta, Savannah, Atlanta, Mobile, and Jacksonville,
streetcar companies refused to enforce segregation laws for
as long as 15 years after their passage.
They Were Right to Worry
• African Americans
boycotted streetcar lines
that obeyed the law and
discriminated against them.
• Some African Americans
formed competing horsedrawn carriage companies.
But They Gave Up
• But one by one, the
companies succumbed as
pressure from the
government to enforce
segregation grew and began
to outweigh the costs
imposed by the penalty on
Adam Smith’s invisible hand was a
big help to Jackie Robinson and
Branch Rickey is ending racial
discrimination in major league
Markets make racial discrimination
expensive to businesses who are
seeking profits.
Racial discrimination requires the
force of law to sustain it for the long
Want more stories for teaching
economics in American history?
Economic Episodes in American
History: Wohl Publishing
Other Stories
• Why Did the British Colonies Succeed Economically—Without
Finding Gold and Silver?
• Why Did the American Colonists Fight When They Were Safe,
Prosperous, and Free?
• How Did the U.S. Constitution Provide a Road Map to
Economic Prosperity?
• Why Fight a War When the North’s Economy Was So Much
• The Homestead Act of 1862: Was Free Land Really Free?
• Did the Comanche and Other American Indians Really Favor
Communal Ownership?
Other Stories
• Were the Robber Barons Robbers or Barons?
• Why Did the 19th-Century Monopolies Disappear?
• Why Did a Mild Recession in 1929 Become the Great
Depression of the 1930s?
• Was the New Deal Good for the U.S. Economy?
• Why Did the Economy Grow after World War II?
• Is the Information Revolution as Big as the Industrial
• Is free trade out of date?
Art History Research
The Van Gogh Family
Obnoxious brother
Dizzy Aunt
Brother who ate prunes
Brother who worked at
a convenience store
• Grandfather from
Please Gogh
Verti Gogh
Gotta Gogh
Stop N Gogh
• U Gogh
Art History Research
The Van Gogh Family
• Cousin from Illinois
• Magician uncle
• Mexican cousin’s halfbrother
• Constipated uncle
• Ballroom dancing aunt
• Chica Gogh
• Wherediddy Gogh
• Amee Gogh
• Cant Gogh
• Tan Gogh
Art History Research
The Van Gogh Family
• Bird lover uncle
• Nephew psychoanalyst
• Brother who was a
• Flamin Gogh
• E Gogh
• Rin Gogh
• 32 chapters focused on an economic episode
• Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the economic way of
• All other chapters can stand alone
• Complete Teacher’s Guide including answer to the Questions
for Discussion, correlations to national standards, a teaching
activity for each chapter, assessments including constructed
response and multiple choice items for each chapter.
• Available in multiple formats: print, online, customized
How to Order EEAH
Phone: (866) 620-6942
Fax: (708) 534-7803
Email: [email protected]
Or just click on

similar documents