Old Time Baseball: America's Pastime in the Gilded Age

Harvey Frommer, Author . Taylor Trade $22.95 (189p) ISBN 978-1-58979-254-8

Much has been made of the decline of the national pastime and all its modern sins: overpaid players, bottom-line–obsessed owners, greedy agents and riotous fans are just a few complaints. But as baseball historian Frommer illustrates in this wonderful book, many of the elements of Major League Baseball as it's now played can be traced to its 19th-century roots. For starters, Frommer dispels the myth that American baseball was founded in Cooperstown, N.Y., by Abner Doubleday and gives credit to 22-year-old Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr., who, along with friends, played what was perhaps the first game on a vacant Manhattan lot in 1842. It wasn't until June 19, 1846, that the sport's first "official" game was played between Cartwright's Knickerbockers Base Ball club and the New York Nine (the Knickerbockers lost, 23–1). By 1865, the game was big enough for a team to receive an invitation to visit President Andrew Johnson. But perhaps more importantly, around the time of the Civil War, baseball was a unifying force: after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered, Union and Confederate troops played a friendly game. Reading this book is a reminder of how little baseball—and the pleasure derived from it—has changed. B&w photos. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/12/2005
Release date: 12/01/2005
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4616-6211-2
Ebook - 222 pages - 978-1-63076-007-6
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-63076-006-9
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