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The Tour to End All Tours: The Story of Major League Baseball's 1913-1914 World Tour Paperback – March 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803267487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803267480
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,053,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"It was baseball's greatest odyssey—a global excursion mounted by the Giants and White Sox on the eve of the outbreak of World War I. . . . The off-field hijinks, culture clashes and even a near-shipwreck are all part of this long-forgotten yet compelling chapter of baseball lore."—David Plaut,USA Today Sports Weekly
(David Plaut USA Today Sports Weekly)

"A lively [account] of the world-wide tour the NY Giants and Chicago Cubs took in 1913-14. A novelist couldn't make up its stories: The players met Pope Pius X, tea magnate Thomas Lipton and the last khedive of Egypt."—Bob Minzesheimer, www.USA Today.com
(Bob Minzesheimer www.USATODAY.com)

"Elfers gives readers interesting and at times amusing stories of famous Hall of Famers who took their games overseas. He also provides analysts of a more academic bent a coherent and balanced account of the ways business practices and a changing international climate helped to restructure the national game in the early twentieth century. . . . All will find Elfers's work an indispensible basis for rethinking this pivotal historical era."—Steve Pitti, Nine
(Steve Pitti NINE)

"A thought-provoking and colorful account."—Marty Dobrow, Aethlon
(Marty Dobrow Aethlon)

“The Sox and the Giants would barnstorm the globe at the conclusion of the 1913 regular season. The story of that long forgotten adventure is skillfully excavated by James Elfers in [this] superb volume.”—State
(State)

“A well-told tale about baseball and the struggles it took to put on a suitable performance under some appallingly bad conditions…. Elfers has an easy style of writing and punctuates the narrative nicely with historical quotes. He even manages an interview with one-hundred-year-old Ben Mall, of Blue Rapids, Kansas, ‘the last living witness to the Tour to End All Tours.’”—Elysian Fields Quarterly
(Elysian Fields Quarterly)

“The spirit of that long ago time and the men who played has been captured.”—UD Daily
(UD Daily)

“Elfer’s seems to have done a fine job with the tour itself, and that makes the book worth reading.”—R. J. Lesch, The Inside Game
(R. J. Lesch The Inside Game)

About the Author

James E. Elfers is a library analyst at the University of Delaware.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
About 25 years after A.G. Spalding's world tour of professional baseball, the New York Giants, Chicago White Sox and other superstars undertook another incredible odyssey that touched down in the Philippines, Europe, Egypt and U.S. cities.

Author James E. Elfers does a masterful job in reconstructing this forgotten diamond gem that lasted six months in 1913-1914 which found the players paving the way to the modern marketing of the game, along with trading yarns with millionaires like Thomas Lipton and being granted an audience with Pope Pius X. The pop culture fascination with athletic achievement is certainly not new.

The list of stars could be an all-time team today - Tris Speaker, Buck Weaver, Sam Crawford - and included arguably the greatest all-around athlete ever, Jim Thorpe. Elfers also has excerpts from an interview he conducted with the last living witness of the trek - Ben Mall - who was 100 years old at the time of the meeting.

This is a history that has been dusted off like home plate after the wintry months give way to spring, with the first batter smacking a long home run.
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Format: Paperback
Author James Elfers provides a detailed account of the six-month World Tour of the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox from 1913-1914. A similar tour today would be impressive, but 95 years ago, it was simply amazing.

Elfers descriptive narrative gives the reader a seat on the tour. From the little towns on the United States leg of the tour to Australia, the Philippines, Egypt and Europe, you get a taste of what it was like for the players. Elfers describes the weather, the games, the crowds, the ball fields, the receptions, the ships, the hotels and the off-the-field activities. And, he provides a dose of history for each stop.

Some of the better-known players on the Tour included Jim Thorpe, Buck Weaver, Fred Merkle, Tris Speaker, Mike Donlin, Sam Crawford, Germany Schaefer, Larry Doyle and George Wiltse. Thorpe and a couple other players were on their honeymoons.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in baseball in the Deadball Era or the Tour itself. This is an excellent addition to baseball history.
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Format: Paperback
The US was looking for things to do to take their minds off of the hardships of the time. Baseball was the perfect vehicle to do that. It involved teams with a large number of players, that lasted 2 hours or more. It would also allow a large fan base to surround the field in a picnic atmosphere, to see the action.
The author has conveyed different feelings as to what baseball was about in this time period of US history. To push our emerging sport out for the world to see was an incredible chance to elevate many things. First, that we loved to do things together for fun. Second, that the US was a strong and diverse country reaching out to other countries. It is amazing to think of the diversity of the audience this team played to.
These players who took part in this must have known what they were portraying to the world, THE LOVE OF THE GAME!
The author had to dig hard to research all of the information gathered from this time period. True baseball enthusiats will enjoy this book!
David Vogel
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Allen on November 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
The writing is mediocre, many "facts" are either inaccurate or exaggerated, and various passages reveal the author's lack of a deep understanding of baseball. Also, he couldn't resist injecting his puritanical views into the text. But for any devoted fan, the cast of characters and the adventures are fascinating, and the author's weaknesses are mostly irrelevant to the potential to enjoy the book.
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Format: Paperback
I've been a huge baseball fan since 1969 but had only heard vague references to the 1913-14 world tour of the Giants and White Sox, so this book held particular interest. It's quite entertaining and well-documented, and it moves along at a good pace. You get a good idea of what life was like a century ago, at least for ballplayers and owners, and a trip like this was a logistical marvel given that air travel was still years away. It's interesting that while it appears baseball seemed fairly well received in most of the countries the tourists played in, only Japan has taken to the game (where it already had a strong presence). In hindsight the tour can't really be deemed "successful" in planting the seed for baseball's growth worldwide, but the tourists mostly had a good time overseas and apparently did a lot of shopping and drinking.

Side note: What I find curious is that while (on a White Sox fan website in early 2014) Elfers made the comments that he grew to like Charles Comiskey as he wrote the book while he felt John McGraw treated Jim Thorpe poorly on the tour, there is nothing in this book that makes the remarkably stingy and conceited Comiskey remotely likeable and there's nothing said about McGraw's treatment of Thorpe during the trip. I'd have been interested in reading how the author came to these conclusions since he wasn't hesitant to insert his personal opinion of people like Ted Sullivan, who played a large role in putting this tour together and is a fairly important (if obscure) figure in baseball history but is largely portrayed as an oafish clod.

All in all, though, I'd recommend this. My quibbles are minor compared to the book's overall worth as a good read about the last real attempt to bring baseball to other nations via a global tour. You'll learn things and be entertained, two hallmarks of a good history book.
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