Jules Tygiel, 59; linked baseball to culture

This is very sad for me. I was a terrific fan of his writing. When I was asked to list writers as possible contributors for my book, he was first on the list.

From the New York Times:

Jules Tygiel, a baseball historian and author who used the sport to illuminate larger issues of American culture and society, died of cancer Tuesday at his home in San Francisco. He was 59. "Jules . . . was able to pull off the double play of combining his two loves, history and baseball, to become the foremost baseball historian in the United States today," said John Gemello, provost of San Francisco State University, where Mr. Tygiel taught for 31 years.Mr.Tygiel's 1983 book "Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy," is regarded as one of the best about the man who altered the course of history when he became Major League Baseball's first black player in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

"Baseball was one of the first institutions in modern society to accept blacks on a relatively equal basis," Mr. Tygiel wrote in "Baseball's Great Experiment. "The 'noble experiment' thus reflects more than a saga of sport. It offers an opportunity to analyze the integration process in American life. An examination of the forces that led to Robinson's hiring, the reaction among both blacks and whites, the institutional response of the baseball establishment, and the resulting decline of the Jim Crow leagues reveals much about the United States in the 1940s and 1950s."

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