Napoléon Lajoie – Québec’s Greatest Baseball Player – and Canada-US Identity
Claude Couture is Professor of Social Sciences and Canadian Studies at the Faculté Saint-Jean (French Campus) of the University of Alberta in Canada, and spent the 2004-2005 academic year as Fulbright Professor at the Center. He is the author of numerous books including, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Etienne Parent and Canadian Liberalism: Paddling with the Current (University of Alberta Press, 1998) and Espace et differences. Histoire du Canada (Presses de l’université Laval, 1996). He has also published extensively in academic journals and contributed chapters to edited books. He is Director of the Canadian Studies Institute of the University of Alberta and associate editor of the International Journal of Canadian Studies. His Fulbright project was to write a book about national identity in Canada and the US through an analysis of the media accounts of early 20th Century baseball star Napoléon Lajoie. In 1901, Lajoie batted .423, still the best average for a single season in the history of the American League. While Lajoie had French-Canadian origins, Americans and English-speaking Canadians claimed him as a national hero.