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Baltimore Sports

Edited by Daniel A. Nathan

Published Date: August 5, 2016

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Stories from Charm City
315 pages
6 x 9

About this book

Read a Sample Chapter – Chapter 10: Toots Barger, Queen of Duckpins (PDF)


Baltimore is the birthplace of Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the incomparable Babe Ruth, and the gold medalist Michael Phelps. It’s a one-of-a-kind town with singular stories, well-publicized challenges, and also a rich sporting history. Baltimore Sports: Stories from Charm City chronicles the many ways that sports are an integral part of Baltimore’s history and identity and part of what makes the city unique, interesting, and, for some people, loveable.


Wide ranging and eclectic, the essays included here cover not only the Orioles and the Ravens, but also lesser-known Baltimore athletes and teams. Toots Barger, known as the “Queen of the Duckpins,” makes an appearance. So do the Dunbar Poets, considered by some to be the greatest highschool basketball team ever.


Bringing together the work of both historians and journalists, including Michael Olesker, former Baltimore Sun columnist, and Rafael Alvarez, who was named Baltimore’s Best Writer by Baltimore Magazine in 2014, Baltimore Sports illuminates Charm City through this fascinating exploration of its teams, fans, and athletes.


Daniel A. Nathan is professor of American studies at Skidmore College. He is the author of Saying It’s So: A Cultural History of the Black Sox Scandal and editor of Rooting for the Home Team: Sport, Community, and Identity.


  1. ’Till Death Do Us Part: The Grand Tour of Baltimore’s Graveyard Greats — David Zang
  1. Jockeying for Position: The Preakness Stakes, Pimlico, and Baltimore — Ari de Wilde
  1. Black Knights and Engineers: The City-Poly Football Rivalry — Dean Bartoli Smith and Ted Patterson
  1. “For a White Boy’s Chance in the World”: Joe Gans, Baltimore’s Forgotten Fighter — William Gildea
  1. On the Courts of Druid Hill: Lucy Diggs Slowe and the Rise of Organized Black Tennis — Amira Rose Davis
  1. Sweat Equity: Physical Education at The Bryn Mawr School for Girls — Elizabeth M. Nix
  1. “More Than a Century of Champions”: Johns Hopkins University Lacrosse — Neil A. Grauer
  1. The Bears of Baltimore: Morgan State University Intercollegiate Athletics — Jerry Bembry
  1. The Team That Made Baltimore Proud: The Baltimore Bullets and the 1947-48 Championship Season — Chris Elzey
  1. Toots Barger: Queen of Duckpins — Stacy Karten
  1. “The Best Ambassador Baltimore Ever Had”: Art Donovan and the Colts — Michael Olesker
  1. Sam Lacy and John Steadman: Empathy and a Conscience on the Sports Pages — Dennis Gildea
  1. Baltimore’s Bard of Baseball: Jim Bready Remembers the O’s of Old — Rafael Alvarez
  1. Black Sport and Baltimore: Spats, The Judge, and The Pearl — James Coates, Hannah Doban, and Nevon Kipperman
  1. Orange and Black Forever: How a New Yorker Fell in Love with Earl Weaver’s Baltimore Orioles — Lee Lowenfish
  1. A Missed Opportunity: Baltimore’s Failed Stadium Project, 1969-1974 — Richard Hardesty
  1. The Greatest High School Basketball Team Ever: The Dunbar Poets, 1981-82 and 1982-83 — Chad Carlson
  1. Baltimore Baseball Icons: The Babe, Mr. Oriole, The Iron Man, and the Forgotten Day — Daniel A. Nathan
  1. The Ravens’ Flight to Normalcy: How Winning Restored Baltimore’s Football Culture — Charles Kupfer
  1. A Phelpsian Triptych: Mountain, Machine, and Man — Dean Bartoli Smith


Sport, Culture, and Society seeks to promote a greater understanding of the aforementioned issues and many others. Recognizing sport’s powerful influence and ability to change people’s lives in significant and important ways, the series focuses on topics ranging from urbanization and community development to biography and intercollegiate athletics. It includes both monographs and anthologies that are characterized by excellent scholarship, accessible to a wide audience, and interesting and thoughtful in design and interpretations. Singular features of the series are authors and editors representing a variety of disciplinary areas and who adopt different methodological approaches. The series also includes works by individuals at various stages of their careers, both sport studies scholars of outstanding talent just beginning to make their mark on the field and more experienced scholars of sport with established reputations.


“A magnificent collection of essays that documents the achievements, disappointments, failures, and triumphs of Baltimore sports at different moments in the city’s history.”

Sport in American History, December 2016

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