From the Introduction: Renewed interest in nineteenth century baseball--just a trickle when SABR's pioneering Nineteenth Century Stars was published--has become a steady stream. Every year since 1989 has seen the publication of one or more new books devoted entirely to the nineteenth century game, and books that treat the whole history of baseball ...
From the Introduction: Renewed interest in nineteenth century baseball--just a trickle when SABR's pioneering Nineteenth Century Stars was published--has become a steady stream. Every year since 1989 has seen the publication of one or more new books devoted entirely to the nineteenth century game, and books that treat the whole history of baseball are less likely than they were to undervalue the nineteenth century. It is even possible to witness authentic early baseball, as played by dozens of vintage ball clubs, many of them representing historic villages and museums.Most of the persons profiled are players, but there are also umpires, managers, club owners, league officials and baseball writers. There are men as prominent as Albert Goodwill Spalding, who after a brilliant pitching career founded what became the dominant sporting goods company, and then wrote the first history of baseball. And Michael King Kelly, the game's first superstar, who inspired the song Slide, Kelly, Slide. There are others whose names are no longer familiar, like William Cammeyer, who first had the bright idea of putting fence around a baseball park. And Al Spink, who founded The Sporting News. And pitched Bert Cunningham, who posted a losing record over all, but in one splendid season won more games than Cy Young--for a team that finished 33 games out of first place. Cy Young is also here. So is Adrian Anson, an awesome hitter who was known as Pop by the end of his 27-year major league career, and George Stovey, an awesome pitcher who never played a single major league game because of the racist views of men like Anson. Two umpires called Honest John--Gaffney and Kelly--are profiled here, and no fewer than four fathers of baseball': Alexander Cartwright, whose suggestion to his friends one day on a ball field led to the game we know today; Daniel L. Doc Adams, who biographer John Thorn argues is the real father of the game; Henry Chadwick, a journalist who, after his life was transformed by baseball, spent the next half century transforming baseball itself; and Harry Wright, the father of professional baseball, who made the pro game the wave of the future.
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