Overview


Most baseball fans want to hear about stellar players and spectacular plays, statistics and storied franchises. Level Playing Fields sheds light on a usually unnoticed facet of the game, introducing fans and historians alike to the real fundamentals of baseball: dirt and grass. In this lively history, Peter Morris demonstrates that many of the game’s rules and customs actually arose as concessions to the daunting practical difficulties of ...
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Level Playing Fields

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Overview


Most baseball fans want to hear about stellar players and spectacular plays, statistics and storied franchises. Level Playing Fields sheds light on a usually unnoticed facet of the game, introducing fans and historians alike to the real fundamentals of baseball: dirt and grass. In this lively history, Peter Morris demonstrates that many of the game’s rules and customs actually arose as concessions to the daunting practical difficulties of creating a baseball diamond.
 
Recovering a nearly lost and decidedly quirky chapter of baseball history, Level Playing Fields tells the engaging story of Tom and Jack Murphy, brothers who made up baseball’s first great family of groundskeepers and who played a pivotal role in shaping America’s national pastime. Irish immigrants who tirelessly crafted home-field advantages for some of baseball’s earliest dynasties, the brothers Murphy were instrumental in developing pitching mounds, permanent spring training sites, and new irrigation techniques, and their careers were touched by such major innovations as tarpaulins and fireproof concrete-and-steel stadiums. Level Playing Fields is a real-life saga involving craftsmanship, resourcefulness, intrigue, and bitter rivalries (including attempted murder!) between such legendary figures as John McGraw, Connie Mack, Honus Wagner, and Ty Cobb. The Murphys’ story recreates a forgotten way of life and gives us a sense of why an entire generation of American men found so much meaning in the game of baseball.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Maverick baseball historian Morris (Game of Inches) here gets down to fundamentals that most histories overlook: the dirt and the grass. We learn how significant aspects of the game's evolution can be traced far back to practical decisions made by Irish immigrants Tom and Jack Murphy. These men knew the likes of Connie Mack, Honus Wagner, and Ty Cobb, and their own contributions (which included pitching mounds and spring training camps) were just as influential. Morris's research and insights rescue these pioneer men from obscurity. For all larger baseball collections.


—Bob Cottrell, Margaret Heilbrun, Paul Kaplan, Gilles Renaud Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803207363
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author



Peter Morris is the author of Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan and the two-volume Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball.
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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     viii
Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction: The Dirt beneath the Fingernails     xi
Invisible Men     1
The Pursuit of Pleasures under Difficulties     15
Inside Baseball     33
Who'll Stop the Rain?     48
A Diamond Situated in a River Bottom     60
Tom Murphy's Crime     64
Return to Exposition Park     71
No Suitable Ground on the Island     77
John Murphy of the Polo Grounds     89
Marlin Springs     101
The Later Years     107
The Murphys' Legacy     110
Epilogue     123
Afterword: Cold Cases     141
Notes     153
Selected Bibliography     171
Index     179
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