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Baseball: The Early Years (Oxford Paperbacks) Paperback – July 13, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0195059120 ISBN-10: 0195059123
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Baseball: The Early Years (Oxford Paperbacks) + Baseball: The Golden Age (Oxford Paperbacks) + Baseball: The People's Game
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Volume I:

"An important reference, very readable."--The New York Public Library

"Indispensable."--Dr. Daniel Boorstin, Director, Library of Congress

"Will remain the basic reference for baseball history."--New York Historical Review

"First-rate history....[Seymour] gives a full picture of player salaries, of owner deceits, of public frenzy."--The Baltimore Sun

"Half of what will be the most comprehensive, serious, authoritative, and sociological study of baseball ever put to paper."--San Francisco Chronicle

"It puts baseball...firmly in the American picture....[An] admirable book."--The Times Literary Supplement (London)

"[Seymour] has the intellectual's passion for facts, but he writes with the light touch of a sports writer."--New York Daily News

"Stands in a class by itself."--St. Petersburg Times

"Right off the bat, let me say that this history of baseball stands in a class by itself."--John Barkham, Saturday Review Syndicate

About the Author


Harold Seymour, Ph.D., baseball's leading historian, was a college history professor for more than fifteen years. Moreover, he knows baseball firsthand through experience as batboy for the Brooklyn Dodgers, high school PSAL and college player, organizer and field manager of amateur and semipro teams, and major-league bird dog.

Dorothy Seymour Mills is the author or co-author of 25 books, including historical novels and children's books. She is a member SABR, the North American Society for Sports History, and the Association for Women in Sports Media.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 13, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195059123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195059120
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth L. Lipshez on September 22, 1997
Format: Paperback
Aside from the most comprehensive view of early baseball, Harold Seymour provides incredible insight as he takes the reader through every vital detail about the game's heritage. For a book written 40 years ago, it shows the author's masterful foresight of what baseball would, and did, become. Particularly compelling is how he shreds the Abner Doubleday myth before doing so was popular. His compilation and timeless analyses of baseball's sometimes painful adolescence gives the reader a solid baseline for understanding the difficulties that the sport is enduring today. It's fascinating proof that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. Anybody interested in baseball history will want to run right out and get his second volume, "The Golden Age" as soon as they finish this one
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Todd Thompson on September 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not about baseball games or the competition of players on the field. Instead, it is great overview, with juicy details, about the coming of baseball in post-Civil War America and its early development as a business. In it, a thorough account is given of the struggles in the establishment of the National League, player procurement, the monopolization of the sport, and its eventual arrival on the scene as America's greatest pastime. It is good history, and it offers numerous launching points for further study of the 19th century.
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15 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Ross Prather on March 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
..., but it was not what I wanted to read. I love to read about baseball, and especially about 19th century baseball. However, this book deals more extensively with the management of the early leagues, and the development of the rules, administration, the problems of revolving, etc. I wanted to read about Ross Barnes, Deacon White, and the other great players of the era. I've seen the stats, but I am still looking for the book that will bring the National Association players back to life. (Any suggestions?)

Like I alluded to at the beginning, this may be just what you want to read. But if you are looking for a book about the players and what happened between the foul lines (and in the saloons), you might want to look somewhere else. (I much prefer David Nemec's "The Beer And Whisky League," on the narrower topic of the AA.)
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roderick T. Leupp on February 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A mustard stain might not show on this hardcover book, but I doubt if Dr. Seymour's trips to the ballyard allow for hot dogs anyway. Maybe baseball really should be kept away from academics, who have a tendency to suck the life out of the game. The Notre Dame history professor who wrote the "most scholarly" life of Babe Ruth at least knew how to turn a phrase, if not "two." If Dr. Seymour is a fan he keeps it carefully under wraps.
The best thing about this book is Seymour's careful "deconstruction" of some of baseball's cherished myths, chiefly Abner Doubleday's "invention" of it. The worst is that Seymour is altogether too enamored of the institutional side of the game. In the dialectic of style and structure he is so enmeshed in the structural aspects, the business aspects, even the legal aspects of the game, that the knothole gang is supplanted by the paneled boardroom. I wanted baseball lore but instead I got corporate logic. Not a satisfying read.
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Baseball: The Early Years (Oxford Paperbacks)
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