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Spalding's World Tour: The Epic Adventure that Took Baseball Around the Globe - And Made it America's Game [Kindle Edition]

Mark Lamster
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In October of 1888, Albert Goodwill Spalding—baseball star, sporting-goods magnate, promotional genius, serial fabulist—departed Chicago on a trip that would take him and two baseball teams on a journey clear around the globe. Their mission, closely followed in the American and international press, had two (secret) goals: to fix the game in the American consciousness as the purest expression of the national spirit, and to seed markets for Spalding's products near and far. In the process, these first cultural ambassadors played before kings and queens, visited the Coliseumand the Eiffel Tower, and took pot shots with their baseballs at the great Sphinx in Egypt. This expedition to lands both exotic and familiar is chronicled with dash and wit in Mark Lamster's Spalding's World Tour, a book filled with larger-than-life characters often competing harder for love and money off the baseball diamond than for runs on it. Getting themselves into scrapes and narrowly escaping international incident all around the globe, these innocents abroad gave the world an early peek at the American century just around the corner. For anyone interested in the history of the game—or the history of brand marketing—Spalding's World Tour hits the sweet spot.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lamster paints a picture of sporting goods icon Albert Goodwill Spalding at the end of the nineteenth century, suited up and on a mission to spread the American gospel of baseball (and expand his business opportunities in the process). For six months in 1888, Spalding and two baseball teams went on a globe-spanning goodwill tour, endorsed by President Cleveland, to introduce the national American sport to the world. As Spalding books a convoy of camels to carry the touring group to the pyramids in Egypt and attempts to hire out the Coliseum in Rome, his grandiloquent business sense is rendered in all its color and force. Lamster's descriptions are careful and precise, but overly detailed scenes can become tiresome-from a sumptuous gala at Delmonico's in New York to Clicquot toasts in Australia with the mayor of Sydney, Lamster indulges in pages of the tourists' luxuriating. Influenced by P. T. Barnum and credited with fabricating the mythology of baseball that we still hold dear, Spalding's impact on the sport is obvious, and this account of his world tour should please fans of baseball and marketing mavens alike.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

In the late nineteenth century, Albert Spalding, a sporting-goods magnate and former baseball star, decided to improve business by anointing himself ambassador for baseball and taking two teams of professional players on a six-month world tour. He brought along sideshow attractions, including an aerialist who hung on a trapeze from a hot-air balloon before the game, and he paid a prominent journalist to lend his support in print. Spalding's success is debatable; spectators in Britain, for instance, were hard-pressed to follow the action and declared the game a knockoff of rounders. Spalding's jaunt was an early example of the globalization of sports (the Olympics weren't far behind), but Lamster's history, while thorough and detailed, doesn't substantively address what its reception might have suggested about overseas attitudes toward America's burgeoning cultural clout.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker

Product Details

  • File Size: 2655 KB
  • Print Length: 364 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1586484338
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (August 5, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003P9XC5S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,318,783 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating window on the past July 3, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Mark Lamster has written a fascinating account of Albert Spalding's 1888-89 world tour. I had long assumed that all but the most general details of this event were lost to history, but the author's prodigious research and lively style has resulted in a vivid account that I couldn't put down. Not only was the tour brought to life for me, but the ball players' personalities as well. Lamster's coverage of the tour also serves as a window on society and life in the 19th century, in a most revealing way. In a word, this amazing book is delightful.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating And A Great Read April 4, 2006
A fascinating and exceptionally well written view into America in the late 19th century. If you love either history or baseball then you should read. If you love both then this book is made for you. If you love neither but have interest, then I strongly reccommend because the author does a terrific job of making the characters and scenes come to life. I very much enjoyed this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting even for those who are not baseball fans February 9, 2011
This is a surprisingly interesting book even if you aren't a baseball fan. An enterprising team owner and upcoming sports equipment magnate, Spalding sought to gain more visibility for the American pastime by doing exhibition games around the world over the course of six months in 1888-89. The book really is much more about the experiences of a group of Americans, mostly young men (several wives came along), visiting exotic places and behaving like, well, a bunch of young men would on a rather incredible road trip. Lamster is a very good writer who carries the story along with fun anecdotes and never bogs down in moralizing or schmaltz. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Historical Book March 19, 2014
By CatMan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you like to read about something a little different about baseball history this book is for you. This about an around the world trip professional baseball took in the 1888-89 off season. Al Spalding organized the tour. It started as a tour to Australia but ended as a world tour to the middle east and Europe. All the adventures they had are told here. It was a different time and era. They brought baseball to the world. Many places had never or hardly seen it. It is told in a narrative way and very enjoyable.
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