by David Nemec
University of Alabama Press, 2006
Cloth: 978-0-8173-1499-6 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-8211-7
Library of Congress Classification GV863.A1N47 2006
Dewey Decimal Classification 796.357097309034


The authoritative compendium of facts, statistics, photographs, and analysis that defines baseball in its formative first decades


This comprehensive reference work covers the early years of major league baseball from the first game—May 4, 1871, a 2-0 victory for the Fort Wayne Kekiongas over the visiting Cleveland Forest City team—through the 1900 season. Baseball historian David Nemec presents complete team rosters and detailed player, manager, and umpire information, with a wealth of statistics to warm a fan’s heart.


Sidebars cover a variety of topics, from oddities—the team that had the best record but finished second—to analyses of why Cleveland didn’t win any pennants in the 1890s. Additional benefits include dozens of rare illustrations and narrative accounts of each year’s pennant race. Nemec also carefully charts the rule changes from year to year as the game developed by fits and starts to formulate the modern rules. The result is an essential work of reference and at the same time a treasury of baseball history.


This new edition adds much material unearthed since the first edition, fills gaps, and corrects errors, while presenting a number of new stories and fascinating details. David Nemec began the lifetime labor that helped produced this work in 1954 and admits it may never end, as there always will be some obscure player whose birth date has not yet been found. Until perfection is achieved, this work offers state-of-the-art accuracy and detail beyond that supplied by even modern baseball encyclopedias. As Casey Stengel, who was born during this era, was wont to say, “you could look it up.”  Now you can.


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