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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nemec and Rucker bring a long dead baseball league to life
Many a baseball fan, frustrated by conniving team owners and spoiled multimillionaire players, must have wished that someone would start a new baseball league. In 1882, someone did--and the resulting American Association provided stiff competition for the then dominant National League for the following ten years.
The League, to be sure, quickly coopted the...
Published on July 22, 1998 by Jim Klann

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3.0 out of 5 stars 19th Century Baseball
This book will give you a solid overview of the American Association, a baseball major league that existed from 1882-1891. The American Association rivaled the existing National League, but was far more innovative and edgy. For instance, the Association allowed Sunday games and the sale of alcohol at games, two things that were not permitted in the National League. There...
Published 23 months ago by Mark R. Brewer


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nemec and Rucker bring a long dead baseball league to life, July 22, 1998
By 
Jim Klann (Glendale Heights, Illinois) - See all my reviews
Many a baseball fan, frustrated by conniving team owners and spoiled multimillionaire players, must have wished that someone would start a new baseball league. In 1882, someone did--and the resulting American Association provided stiff competition for the then dominant National League for the following ten years.
The League, to be sure, quickly coopted the Association in some ways. The two circuits agreed to honor each others' player contracts--including the "reserve clause" which bound players to their teams even after their contracts expired--and the league champions met in a postseason playoff which foreshadowed the Twentieth Century World Series. The leagues competed for fans, however, with entirely salutary results--lower admission prices, Sunday baseball, and better umpiring and administration.
Most A.A. players have receded into the mists of time. The only player in "The Beer and Whisky League" whom most readers will recognize will be ! Charlie Comiskey, the player-manager of the St. Louis Browns who subsequently founded the Chicago White Sox. Nemec and Rucker, however, do an outstanding job of bringing the lost players to life and involving the reader in long forgotten pennant races and controversies. Any fan with an interest in baseball history can enjoy this book.
"The Beer and Whisky League" features a large number of photographs accompanied by captions illuminating interesting anecdotes about A.A. players and teams. The pictures, however, are not well integrated with the text.
The brief presence of African American players in the American Association--sixty years before Jackie Robinson--is bound to intrigue contemporary readers. Nemec and Rucker, perhaps hindered by a lack of documentary evidence, unfortunately devote only a couple of paragraphs to this aspect of Association history.
In 1890, the National League--but not the Association--attempted to impose a salary cap on its players! , who rebelled and formed yet a third major league. The th! ree leagues drove each other toward bankruptcy. The resulting financial squeeze led the League and the Association to raid each others' players and franchises, and the better heeled National League eventually prevailed. Four American Association teams defected to the National League in 1892. The Association itself folded and faded into obscurity, from which Nemec and Rucker have rescued it in this enjoyable book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beauty in Every Way, December 25, 1999
By A Customer
The baseball element in this book is only part of its charm. The author, with help from the publisher, has also assembled an aesthetic treat for the reader. As the cover suggests, the book is an artful prose and pictorial rendering of an early epoch in our National Pastime. A must I would think for every even mildly serious collector--and that is how I'd describe myself. I'm very glad to have found it and added it to my shelf.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive work on baseball in the 1880s and early '90s, August 7, 1999
By A Customer
The slew of rarely seen photos alone make this book a treasure. The captions accompanying the photos are so dense with insights and new information that they are really invaluable sidebars. The author's prose and story-telling ability is a full two or three cuts above that of most baseball historians, even the very top ones. Put all that together and it makes you just wish the American Association had lasted 20 years instead of ten so this book would have had to be "double the pleasure, double the fun."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great photos and stories, October 31, 1999
By A Customer
I just discovered this book. In 1995 when it first appeared it was probably state of the art, but now some of the stats need to be updated because they don't match what's in the new edition of Total Baseball, etc. Otherwise this book is terrific.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A question, June 27, 2003
By A Customer
Anyone out there know if this book is scheduled to be updated or reissued? Some of the stats are no longer current or consistent with what's in other reference books and I'd sure appreciate it if they were. Otherwise this book is blue ribbon all the way even if I wish it gave more on Va.'s only major league team ever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and entertaining, May 11, 2010
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The beer and wiskey league is the forgotten league, the league whose players are subject of total indifference from the Hall of Fame.

That's a shame. Many great players, colorful personnalities played in the American Association. Learn about Pete Browning, Guy Hecker, Toad Ramsey, Tip O'Neil, Bob Caruthers, Fleet Walker and others who left their prints into the baseball picture.

The book will introduce you to players who deserve to be remember.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, March 7, 2013
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A fascinating look at early baseball history. A must for fans, especially of the pre-1900 era. You'll learn a lot
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3.0 out of 5 stars 19th Century Baseball, February 13, 2013
By 
Mark R. Brewer (Pitman, New Jersey) - See all my reviews
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This book will give you a solid overview of the American Association, a baseball major league that existed from 1882-1891. The American Association rivaled the existing National League, but was far more innovative and edgy. For instance, the Association allowed Sunday games and the sale of alcohol at games, two things that were not permitted in the National League. There were some great teams, some dramatic pennant races, and some first-rate ball players. For some years, there was even a post season "World's Series" between the winners of the National League and the Association.

David Nemec seasons his writing with words and phrases from the time, which gives the book a distinct 19th century flavor. The book also contains a marvelous collection of photos and drawings of Association players and personalities. This is the greatest strength of the book. Still, the bottom line is that the book is but an overview of each season. There are very few players, managers, or owners that the reader comes to know. This is the biggest weakness of the book. For a more in-depth examination of the Association and 19th century baseball, I recommend BASEBALL: THE EARLY YEARS by Harold Seymour, who was once called "the Edward Gibbon of baseball history."
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5.0 out of 5 stars interesting learning of the early days, October 15, 2011
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This book gives an intersting look at the early days of professional baseball in the late 1800's. The information makes for a good read and the pictures are nice also.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great history of baseball, July 25, 2011
if you love early base ball like I do.you will love this book.great stories about baseball pioneers who most people have never heard of but should read about for many reasons.david nemec hits an inside the park homerun!
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The Beer and Whisky League: The Illustrated History of the American Association--Baseball's Renegade Major League
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