The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000 Page: 192
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
to build a ball park on an unimproved tract of city property and to orga-
nize a team in less than three months, it kept professional baseball in
Austin for twenty years. Such support was not rare in postwar America.
Similar promotional activities took place throughout the United States
during the late 1940s and the 1950s. As the nation prospered, the dis-
posable income and free time of many Americans increased, resulting in
the booming growth of the entertainment business. As a part of that
leisure-time industry and because it was recognized as the National
Pastime in a period of overt patriotism, professional baseball in general
and the minors in particular experienced unprecedented popularity. In
small towns and cities across the country, civic-minded individuals and
organizations, in an attempt to attract or keep a professional franchise,
connected baseball with what they felt was good about their communities
and their nation. These endeavors to tout baseball were part of a con-
certed effort to promote local prosperity. Ironically, that same prosperity
eventually caused minor league attendance to dwindle and clubs to fold
or relocate. Austin's story is representative of those cities' experience.
Initially, professional baseball in Austin benefited from the shifting
circumstances of the country following World War II. Pent-up demand
for consumer goods, conversion to peace-time production, and govern-
ment favoritism towards business encouraged the vast economic expan-
sion of the postwar era. Prosperity increased the profits of business own-
ers and the wages of workers, whose ranks now swelled from the glut of
returning war veterans. Greater disposable income, war-time savings,
and an increased number of consumers created a prodigious demand
for leisure-time activities. The returning soldiers not only provided many
of the patrons of this new Golden Age for the entertainment industry,
they also supplied a wealth of the talent. Dance halls, movie theaters,
amusement centers, and professional baseball all experienced tremen-
dous increases in business.4
The minor leagues in particular witnessed an astounding splurge of
new teams and leagues. Mostly confined to the urban centers of the
Northeast and Midwest before the war, the owners increasingly ventured
into new markets. Lured by newly emerging cities in the West and
Southwest, established teams relocated, prosperous leagues expanded,
and new associations organized, even bringing small towns "not big
enough to support minor league baseball . .. into the fold." The num-
ber of these professional associations grew from twelve in 1945 to an all-
'James Gilbert, Another Chance: Postwar Amercan, 1945-1960 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
4 Ibid., 12; David Nasaw, Gosng Out: The Rse and Fall of Publie Amusements (New York.
BasicBooks, 1993), 243-255.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000, periodical, 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/m1/228/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.