The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Book Reviews

Diverging interpretations do not detract from Foster's important his-
toriographical contribution concerning the organizational, administra-
tive, and social aspects of Lost Cause commemorations. And perhaps
his themes will fuel additional scholarship, out of which may emerge a
cogent synthesis of the myriad analyses of an era that has so long
haunted the southern soul.
Mississippi State University MICHAEL B. BALLARD
The Texas League: A Century of Baseball, 1888-1987. By Bill O'Neal.
(Austin: Eakin Press, 1987. Pp. xiv+389. Foreword, acknowledg-
ments, photographs, illustrations, tables, bibliography, index.
$17.95, cloth; $12.95, paper.)
The Texas League has been one of the most identifiable and endur-
ing of all professional baseball leagues, and indeed is renowned na-
tionally if for no other reason than having provided a permanent name
for a bloop base hit dumped just over the heads of the infielders. From
coast to coast this phenomenon is known as a Texas Leaguer. Now Bill
O'Neal has compiled a history of the league's one hundred years of
existence.
Play began haphazardly and without much in the way of format or
continuity. The league solidified itself during the early 19o00s, and for a
half-century, from about 1910 through 1960, was one of the premier
minor leagues in the country. Together with the Southern Association,
with whose pennant winners its first-place club played a widely popular
Dixie Series from 1920 through 1958, it occupied a position in the
baseball hierarchy just below the Pacific Coast and International leagues
and the American Association.
Although the league still exists, its identity has now been all but lost.
With major-league clubs in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Atlanta,
the South and Southwest are no longer "minor" in relation to the
Northeast and Midwest. The coming of televised major-league baseball
and other cultural and economic developments ended the isolation that
made for passionate localism. Today minor-league baseball is no more
than a prep school for the major-league clubs, and players are moved
in and out of farm clubs with no regard whatever for minor-league
pennant races or fan identification.
It wasn't always that way, however, and O'Neal documents an era
when for decades most Texas League clubs were home-operated enti-
ties, with personnel either locally owned or dispatched there on season-
long working agreements with the major-league clubs. Clubs such as
the Fort Worth Panthers, which under Jake Atz's field management
dominated the league in the early 192os, had their own star perform-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed November 22, 2014.