Shakespeare and Baseball: Reflections of a Shakespeare Professor and Detroit Tigers Fan

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April 15, 2024
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Humanities Commons
5155 Gullen Mall
Detroit, MI 48202
Event category: Lecture
RSVP is closed.

Come and be part of an exhilarating discussion with Professor Samuel Crowl, where he passionately explores the worlds of Shakespeare and Tigers baseball, sharing his deep appreciation for both subjects. It's a unique opportunity to delve into the fascinating intersection of literature and sports with an engaging speaker.

Shakespeare and baseball are monuments of high and popular culture: Shakespeare is the most widely read and staged playwright in the world, and baseball is America’s game. Ohio University Professor Samuel Crowl, a prize-winning teacher and international scholar of Shakespeare on film, explores his life as a champion of the Bard and a fan of the Detroit Tigers. He saw his first Tigers game in the summer of 1950 (Hal Newhouser beat the Chicago White Sox) and his first Shakespeare play in 1953 (Alec Guinness as Richard III at Ontario’s Stratford Festival) and has spent almost seventy-five years enjoying and writing about the pleasures of play that each provides. 

Shakespeare and Baseball is an unusual hybrid combining Crowl’s education as a Shakespeare and baseball fan, the resonances he perceives between the playwright and the game, the unexpected pleasures both forms of play have afforded his extended family of children and grandchildren, and a selection from the seventy letters he has written to them about Tigers games he has seen, from old Tiger Stadium, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and ballparks in Cleveland. Crowl finds unexpected connections between his twin subjects, including beer, which funded and fueled both the establishment of Major League baseball clubs, like the Yankees and Cardinals, and the creation of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, visited by Shakespeare enthusiasts from around the world. A deeper linkage is that Shakespeare’s festive comedies kept the ideas, rituals, and customs of rural England alive in the dense urban world of Elizabethan London, just as baseball kept the image of the garden―the rural American past in which the game took shape­―alive in the twentieth-century American city. The book is written in a style that captures what one reader has called Crowl’s “warm, rich midwestern voice” and will be of interest to fans of the game and of the Bard, from high schoolers on up.


Hannah Olszewski


April 2024