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The Great 19th Century Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball Hardcover – March 1, 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
While those are certainly convenient benchmarks, they arbitrarily overlook what came before as somehow "irrelevant" or not "modern". David Nemec's book proves that baseball is a story of gradual evolution, rather than an overnight coming of age. It can be argued that modern baseball began in 1871, the year that the first professional baseball (or Base Ball) league began play. The National Association of Base Ball Players officially recognized baseball as a business -- even if the Supreme Court still refuses to do so. Players were openly paid to play what many had argued was an amateur sport of gentlemen, clubs, exercise, and grand feasts. The NA had its share of problems -- gambling, contract-jumping, rowdiness, and organizational chaos. Teams came and went -- Philadelphia had three separate teams in 1875. One team, the Boston Red Stockings, was dominant in a field of teams with questionable talent. All a team needed to do was pay a $10 fee and they were in the association. Hence teams from Chicago and Boston were forced to play squads from Middletown (Connecticut), Fort Wayne (Indiana) and Keokuk (Iowa).
The National League of 1876 changed all of that. Unlike its predecessor, it centered around teams, not players.Read more ›
A historical and statistical must! END
David Nemec is one of the most readable and entertaining historians of the game's prehistoric days, and this is a great blend of Nemec's text, vintage photos and copious stats. Yearly standings and leaders plus individual and team stats resemble the same presentation seen in the later editions of the MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedias from the late 60's through the mid 90's, solid but not as thorough as Total Baseball. The reason I give this edition four stars instead of five is because the section listing individual player stats is very brief, with cursory info on each player and a single line of career numbers, very similar to the Neft/Cohen Sport Encyclopedia: Baseball...there's just not a lot of "there" there.
What separates the 19th Century Baseball Encyclopedia is Nemec's writing, which (as mentioned) is much fun to read. Neither MacMillan nor Neft/Cohen include such a great narrative as this, and it's enhanced by several sidebar charts and stories that help fill things out. It's not like reading one of Bill James Historical Baseball Abstracts, which are far more opinionated and even preachy at times, but Nemec loads up story after story to weave an impression of what the game and the men who played it were like over 115 years ago.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fascinating read. If you love the lore an the changes in baseball over time you should read this book.Published 14 days ago by MECChristian
This would be a far better work of it was annotated. Without the benefit of notes, I find it hard to take much of what is in the narrative at face value.Published 3 months ago by concerned historian
The Great 19th Century Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball
The Great 19th century Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball is a must for ANYONE calling themselves a Baseball... Read more
A teriffic account of the begining of professional base ball. Every season from 1871 - 1900 is reviewed accompanied by numerous photographs. Read morePublished on November 23, 2001 by Eric Miklich
A true treasure house of information regarding an era that has been overlooked for WAY too long------my congrats to Mr. NemecPublished on May 29, 2000 by gordon sheppard
This book is outstanding and provided the answers to many questions I have had about the shaping of the modern game of Base Ball (to use the 19th Century wording). Read morePublished on May 26, 1999 by Parker J. Bena