Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

K. Stephen Prince, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julia K. Irwin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Fraser Ottanelli, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Johnson, Ph.D.


Atlanta, Lost Cause, Carolina, Labor, Tampa


Numerous scholars and historians have illuminated the importance of baseball within American society from the end of Reconstruction to the Great Depression. Yet their gaze has often been turned to the northern professional game. Very little has been written about how the game played a role in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War. This study considers how baseball in the South helped to reflect and underscore some of the tensions within a society marked by racial, class, and gendered conflicts. Baseball played an instrumental role in shaping aspects of Southern society and community identity in new urban areas that became more established in the aftermath of the Civil War. In fact, baseball was key to industrial and urban development in the cities of Atlanta, Tampa, and the factory towns of the Piedmont region of North and South Carolina. Throughout this time frame, variety of local, regional, and inner-city leagues in bigger and smaller cities hosted recreation teams, professional teams, and industrial-sponsored clubs which long predated the premier of the Atlanta Braves in 1966. Within the emerging industrial society of the New South, elites and working classes, whites and Blacks, and native-born Americans and immigrants all helped to shape the meaning and usefulness of baseball in the post-Civil War South. For many in these cities, baseball was a sort of training program for the industrializing New South since baseball offered structure, mechanization, and modernity. At the same time, baseball appeal was linked to notions of the antebellum south. Taking their cue from northerners, southern civil and business leaders encouraged the game for its association with morality. Lastly, the game also offered officials in these newer industrial cities a useful tool against labor agitation.