Harvey Frommer

Old Time Baseball : America's Pastime in the Gilded Age

(Taylor Publishing Company, 2006 Hardcover;  ISBN: 1589792548)


What they've said about this book:

"Harvey Frommer has authored over 30 books on sports and I've read at least 20 of them. All have been extraordinary, but his newest effort entitled "Old Time Baseball: America's Pastime In The Gilded Age" may be my favorite of them all. Focusing specifically on the origins of baseball, Frommer journeys back in time to before the Civil War while introducing us to a cast of characters who were instrumental in establishing the basis for the modern game that we recognize today. The content of this book is priceless, as over the years, the birth of our National Pastime has become a subject that is too often forgotten. Therefore Frommer's efforts must be applauded for not only preserving a fading part of sports history, but also more importantly, American history. From purists to historians (and even novices,) "Old Time Baseball" has something for everyone and will leave the reader with an even greater appreciation for our National Pastime."
-- Michael Aubrecht, Pinstripe Press

Fans of not just modern baseball but baseball history from bygone times will welcome OLD-TIME BASEBALL: AMERICA'S PASTIME IN THE GILDED AGE: it captures the heyday of early baseball, from its invention in 1842 by the descendant of a British sea captain to the first games played on a vacant lot in Madison in New York. The idea is not to be a dry survey so much as a timeline of high moments of the sport, so readers receive both a survey of events and dates and a lively exploration recapturing the excitement of a bygone era.
-- Diane C. Donovan, Editor, California Bookwatch.

Publishers Weekly

Old Time Baseball: America's Pastime in the Gilded Age HARVEY FROMMER. Taylor Trade, $22.95 (192p) ISBN 1-58979-254-8

Much has been made of the decline of the national pastime and all its modern sins: overpaid players, bottom-line-obsessed owners, greedy agents and riotous fans are just a few complaints. But as baseball historian Frommer illustrates in this wonderful book, many of the elements of Major League Baseball as it's now played can be traced to its 19th-century roots. For starters, Frommer dispels the myth that American baseball was founded in Cooperstown, N.Y., by Abner Doubteday and gives credit to 22-year-old Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr., who, along with friends, played what was perhaps the first game on a vacant Manhattan lot in 1842. It wasn't until June 19, 1846, that the sport's first "official" game was played between Cartwright's Knickerbockers Base Ball club and the New York Nine (the Knickerbockers lost, 23-1). By 1865, the game was big enough for a team to receive an invitation to visit President Andrew Johnson. But perhaps more importantly, around the time of the Civil War, baseball was a unifying force: after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered, Union and Confederate troops played a friendly game. Reading this book is a reminder of how little baseball-and the pleasure derived from it-has changed.


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