Base Ball Pioneers, 1850-1870: The Clubs and Players Who Spread the Sport Nationwide

Overview

By 1871, the popularity of baseball had spread so thoroughly across America that one writer observed, "It is as much our national game as cricket is that of the English." While major league teams and athletes that played after this prophetic statement was made have been exhaustively documented and analyzed, those that led the game during its pioneer phase from 1850 to 1870 have received relatively little attention. In this welcome work, leading historians of early baseball provide profiles of more than fifty ...

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Overview

By 1871, the popularity of baseball had spread so thoroughly across America that one writer observed, "It is as much our national game as cricket is that of the English." While major league teams and athletes that played after this prophetic statement was made have been exhaustively documented and analyzed, those that led the game during its pioneer phase from 1850 to 1870 have received relatively little attention. In this welcome work, leading historians of early baseball provide profiles of more than fifty clubs and their players, from legendary teams such as the Red Stockings of Cincinnati and the Nationals of Washington to forgotten nines like the Pecatonica (Illinois) Base Ball Club and the Morning Star Club of St. Louis. Engaging narratives bring these long-ago clubs back to life, stimulating more research on this fascinating era and creating a standard reference source for all who study America's national pastime.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Morris (A Game of Inches) and his colleague editors want the 1850 to 1870 decades of baseball to receive coverage similar to that of baseball's subsequent years. Contributors here present narrative club histories, including available biographical information, organized regionally from "Connecticut and Maine" to the "San Francisco Bay Area." Thus we learn that it wasn't until the waning of the Civil War that New York-style baseball (rather than barnball or roundball) can be documented in Maine and that Rochester, NY, had four significant pre-Civil War ball clubs. All pieces are carefully sourced, largely to contemporary newspapers. Although some libraries may not define the chapter-by-chapter narrative approach as reference, this is a scrupulous work that will enchant avid historians of early baseball. Rightly, there's no mention of Abner Doubleday. With all royalties to support SABR Negro League and deadball era projects documenting forgotten stars.—M.H.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786468430
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/13/2012
  • Pages: 364
  • Sales rank: 811,989
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Baseball historian Peter Morris is a two-time winner of the Seymour Medal for best baseball book of the year and was an inaugural winner of the Henry Chadwick Award for lifetime achievement in baseball research. He lives in Haslett, Michigan. William J. Ryczek is a banking executive in Wallingford, Connecticut, who writes about early baseball, football, the Yankees, and the Mets. Jan Finkel, a retired English professor, serves as chief editor of the SABR Biography Project. He lives in Swanton, Maryland. Len Levin, a retired newspaper editor, is a SABR member and twice a national officer of the society. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island. Richard Malatzky has worked with Bill Haber through SABR's Biographical Committee researching missing players. He lives in the Bronx, New York.

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