When it comes to baseball, history is far more than the Hall of Fame and the trivia of past World Series winners and MVPs and Cy Young Award winners. History is about the people who played the game, their stories, and how those stories were told. History is about the interactions between baseball and the society that loved it and fostered it ó how society shaped baseball, and vice-versa.
For most fans, our understanding of sports history comes from something resembling an oral tradition ó stories are passed down from our moms and our dads, from our older siblings or our friends, the people who teach us how and why we watch sports in the first place. As useful and important as these oral histories are, they are inevitable colored by the biases of the storyteller and shaped by the passage of time.
So if we really want to learn the history of the game, we need to examine its primary sources. We have to examine the documents of the time, whether itís to learn about why a rule changed, or how the steroid problem somehow went under the mediaís nose or why we still have bean ball wars 96 years after MLB threatened expulsion to those who intentionally threw at hitters.