A few weeks ago the highly-touted St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras died in a tragic auto accident at the age of 22. Having been a lifelong Cardinals fan who happened to be at the playoff game in which Taveras hit his last home run, the news of his death shocked and saddened me. Following his death ideas starting coming to me for an essay about public commemorations in sports and the ways fans establish imagined communities of belonging through a shared love of their favorite sports teams. The good folks at Sport in American History generously read a draft of this essay, provided some thoughtful suggestions to make it better, and posted it to their website today. You can read it here. I put my heart into this essay and I hope regular readers of Exploring the Past enjoy it.
I’d also like to give a special thank you to Andrew McGregor, a history Ph.D. candidate at Purdue University and founder of Sport in American History. Andrew is an emerging sports historian and all around great scholar who helped me immensely during the writing process.