The Indiana State University Conference on Baseball in Literature and American Culture has consistently produced a strong body of scholarship since its inception in 1995. Eighteen essays presented at the 2004 and 2005 ISU conferences are published in this work.
In “Baseball is a Place: Reflections On Building a Baseball Novel,” novelist Mick Cochrane discusses writing a baseball novel, using his 2002 novel Sport to exemplify the process. Tracy Collins, in “Women, American Society, and Baseball Literature in the High Cannon,” examines the ways in which canonical baseball novels are obliged to exclude women. In “‘A Grim Harvest’: Baseball’s Changing of the Guard, 1931,” Steve Gietschier shows baseball progressing from the tenuous agreements of the early modern era to become a stable urban business ready to take on the challenges of the mid-century. Joan Thomas’s “Baseball and America, a Timeless Love Story” muses on the ways in which fans’ relationship with baseball is like that of the lover to the beloved, irrational, forgiving, even maddening but always total. Fourteen other essays on the literature and culture of the game take on topics that include Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige, August Wilson’s Fences, baseball’s long connection with presidents, its even longer connection with tobacco, and the virtue of cheering Chicago’s Cubs.