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Thread: Origins of Baseball

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmiller1610 View Post
    I didn't have the thesis to present. Brock's book is far more comprehensive and detailed. There are are over 100 cites covering the middle ages to 1870. The first book I read focused mainly on the competing "Rounders versus Doubleday" dispute (Thorn: Baseball in the Garden of Eden). But honestly I've only read two books. Got anything better?
    Not to hand. In this conversation I've relied in books I read long ago and no longer have easy access to. One was

    Frommer, Harvey.Primitive Baseball: The First Quarter-Century of the National Pastime. Antheneum, 1988.

    I object largely to your presentation, which in the late part of this thread has seemed more like a game of "Dance while I tell you why you're wrong." It doesn't feel enlightening at all. It feels like an intellectual game you've rigged for your own amusement.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasselas View Post
    Not to hand. In this conversation I've relied in books I read long ago and no longer have easy access to. One was

    Frommer, Harvey.Primitive Baseball: The First Quarter-Century of the National Pastime. Antheneum, 1988.

    I object largely to your presentation, which in the late part of this thread has seemed more like a game of "Dance while I tell you why you're wrong." It doesn't feel enlightening at all. It feels like an intellectual game you've rigged for your own amusement.
    Quite cynical. I watched Burns baseball, started the first book and invited people to put their oars in. That's all there is to it. I am certainly not an expert.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasselas View Post
    Not to hand. In this conversation I've relied in books I read long ago and no longer have easy access to. One was

    Frommer, Harvey.Primitive Baseball: The First Quarter-Century of the National Pastime. Antheneum, 1988.

    I object largely to your presentation, which in the late part of this thread has seemed more like a game of "Dance while I tell you why you're wrong." It doesn't feel enlightening at all. It feels like an intellectual game you've rigged for your own amusement.
    I have ordered a copy of your book and will read it. When I start a thread like this, it's really just a way of documenting an exploration and probably, having an audience for my exploration. You know the way it is with us quasi-intellectual actor types. We are irritatingly arrogant and showoffs. Apologies.

  4. #54
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    "Glory of their times" was wonderful. I am now onto this book, which is about the winningest pitcher in major league history, Charles Radbourn, a man who won 59 games in 1884. I am guessing someone in the negro leagues may have broken this record.

    This actually sounds like it would be pretty boring, but it includes tons of stories and historical contexts.

    The team at the center of this book is the Providence Grays. In a 111 game season, the Grays had two main pitchers and one reserve. This seems so foreign to the modern game. These guys were pitching hurt all the time, pitching both ends of a doubleheader and playing the field when they weren't pitching. They also worked at the gate and did other duties. Many pitchers of that era had careers of 2 or 3 years. Once you were under contract those who owned your employment were free to work you to your own destruction. The protagonist of this book didn't appreciate his employers. That's him, in the upper left, giving the finger to the publicity shot.

    Old_Hoss_Radbourn_finger.jpg

    http://www.amazon.com/Fifty-nine-84-...=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

  5. #55
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    Long live the reserve clause.
    Thanks from kmiller1610

  6. #56
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    Got my copy of Primitive Baseball from Amazon. Copyright 1988.

    This is easy reading and it's a fairly short treatment (145 pages), but the first thing I noticed was that most of the pictures were used in Ken Burns "Baseball" which was produced in 1994. This is not an academic treatment, but a summary. There are no appendices, nor a bibliography. It's a much better light treatment than Block's Baseball Before We Knew it (Copyright 2005), which includes 7 appendices, Notes, Bibliography and an index, all of which are over 160 pages, in addition to the narrative, which provides the first 162 pages of the book.

    Honestly, I ran out of gas on Block's book. It's too much. But if you want to read a review of every ancient bat and ball game and like that much detail, it's quite a tome.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmiller1610 View Post
    Got my copy of Primitive Baseball from Amazon. Copyright 1988.

    This is easy reading and it's a fairly short treatment (145 pages), but the first thing I noticed was that most of the pictures were used in Ken Burns "Baseball" which was produced in 1994. This is not an academic treatment, but a summary. There are no appendices, nor a bibliography. It's a much better light treatment than Block's Baseball Before We Knew it (Copyright 2005), which includes 7 appendices, Notes, Bibliography and an index, all of which are over 160 pages, in addition to the narrative, which provides the first 162 pages of the book.

    Honestly, I ran out of gas on Block's book. It's too much. But if you want to read a review of every ancient bat and ball game and like that much detail, it's quite a tome.
    Books like you describe aren't intended to be read from cover to cover. Not really. They are more like technical documentation, aimed at drilling down in extraordinary detail and providing a reference when you want an answer to a specific question. As such, they often come to unsatisfying conclusions because their aim is in providing all the arguments for all the possible stories rather than telling one particular story in a reasonably interesting way. In an academic tome like that, the bibliography IS the point. The narrative just provides the skeleton for hanging all the references, like stars in a constellation.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasselas View Post
    Books like you describe aren't intended to be read from cover to cover. Not really. They are more like technical documentation, aimed at drilling down in extraordinary detail and providing a reference when you want an answer to a specific question. As such, they often come to unsatisfying conclusions because their aim is in providing all the arguments for all the possible stories rather than telling one particular story in a reasonably interesting way. In an academic tome like that, the bibliography IS the point. The narrative just provides the skeleton for hanging all the references, like stars in a constellation.
    You nailed it. In fact, Block said his original intent was to just publish a bibliography, which include every publication that mentioned a ball and/or base game going well back into the middle ages. I get the feeling he couldn't get it published, so he added a more conventional front end. Ah, google books has the page!

    https://books.google.com/books?id=DB...phy%22&f=false
    Last edited by kmiller1610; 24th May 2016 at 08:40 AM.

  9. #59
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    After having read a biography on Honus Wagner, with whom I share a German lineage, I am now finally reading Primitive Baseball cover to cover. Although some of my other books go into far greater depth, none of them includes the excellent summary of the evolution of rules that is detailed in the middle of the book. One of the most interesting is the fact that walks used to be considered the same as hits in computing batting averages.

    Honus Wagner, a totally unique baseball player, and a very decent and fair-minded man. Can you believe this powerfully built athlete had over 700 stolen bases?

    Honus_Wagner_by_Conlon_c1910-11.jpg
    Last edited by kmiller1610; 26th June 2016 at 04:15 AM.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Sampson Simpson View Post
    Have you watched Ken Burns Baseball?
    No, because I have ZERO interest in baseball. But I HAVE watched Ken Burns' history of jazz. Because I LOVE jazz.

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