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Spalding's World Tour: The Epic Adventure that Took Baseball Around the Globe - And Made It America's Game Hardcover – April 3, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition edition (April 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586483110
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586483111
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,576,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
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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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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Format: Paperback
Fantastic look at 19th century travel and well researched look at how Spalding (of the Spalding Sporting Goods Co. fame) came up with this crazy idea to send two teams on tour around the world promoting the game of baseball. The crowd sizes in some places blow your mind esp. for the 19th century.

You don't really need to be a baseball fan to read this. It's a travel essay than anything else. Interesting to note the labor unrest we think of as a modern thing in MLB was there back in the 1880s, too.

Fascinating for baseball fans as a few classic characters were on the tour--Cap Anson and John Montgomery Ward to name just two.
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