Nostalgia was in the air at Camden County College on Wednesday, March 24th. Bruce Kuklick, author and professor, lectured CCC students about Philadelphia baseball during the Great Depression. His speech included a brief history of the two teams located in Philadelphia and a very detailed description of what life was like during that time for all aspects of baseball. The Phillies were one of two teams, the other being the Philadelphia Athletics, who played in the American League during this era. Kuklick described the Phillies to be the much less prestigious team when it came to baseball in Philadelphia.
His lecture was also focused on the four ways to survive the Depression in baseball: Hours of Operation, Concession Sales, Advertising, and Consolidation. A very interesting story that was thrown into this mix of four ideas was regarding concession sales. During the Prohibition, then President, Herbert Hoover attended a game in which he “was not cheered for or booed for, the fans simply chanted, ‘Beer Beer! We Want Beer!'” said Kuklick. Another major topic discussed was what Kuklick called “the default position.” The default position was practiced by then A’s owner, Connie Mack. This referred to teams spending little money on players and relying on their die-hard fans to produce the amount of money needed to keep franchises in business.Kuklick exposed many details that are often left behind when discussing the history of Philadelphia baseball. He informed the crowd about when “major league baseball forced owners to sell the Phillies franchise due to a betting scandal,” which quickly raised heads in the Civic Center.
Bruce Kuklick brought a sense of unity to the older members of the group during the question and answer session that took place after his lecture. Many audience members raised their hands with smiles on their faces asking questions about times they remembered, but about points they needed to be cleared up. A “fan favorite” when it came to the question and answer portion was one involving players’ salaries during the Depression; a mere $2,ooo. This event was informative and helped listeners become more involved in a team who is loved unconditionally in this area. Kuklick brought a new aspect of baseball knowledge to Camden County College and brought another successful event to the Civic Center.