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.
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.
“With nearly two dozen scholars, sportswriters, and journalists (many with personal ties to the Baltimore area) covering sports from horse racing, football, and tennis to lacrosse, basketball, and swimming, as well as figures such as Orioles manager Earl Weaver and pugilist Joe Gans, Baltimore Sports emerges as one of the most ambitious volumes yet in Arkansas’ Sport, Culture, and Society series. … Baltimore Sports is more than stories about athletes and stadiums; the essays, whether elegiac, redemptive, or vindictive, intersect with labor history, urban planning, gender studies, race relations, sports writing, and personal memory, making the work equal to (if not broader than) the series’ aforementioned volumes. With such range, this collection will appeal to both academic and popular audiences”
—Journal of Sport History, Spring 2018
“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