Author: Peter Morris
The book is very academic indeed: names, dates, footnotes, etc. The text is a bit dry, though I can't deny that I learned a lot. For instance, the rise of baseball was closely tied to developments in the newspaper industry. Before the Civil War, most newspapers were two pages - one sheet, front and back. During the conflict, the public was eager for war news and newspapers added pages. After the fighting was over, they suddenly had empty space to fill and baseball was a perfect fit. Enclosed stadiums and railroads allowed for pro teams to develop.
It was a different game in the 19th century. No fielding gloves. It was even quite a while before the catcher wore protective gear. Before the introduction of the "dead ball," one made with less rubber, scores in the double digits were commonplace and games typically lasted four or five hours. Not surprisingly, the dignified, wealthy types who first took up the game were resentful when the more athletic laborer types got involved, betraying a class snobbery that hasn't entirely disappeared from the professional/amateur distinction in sports. The recent court decisions against the NCAA may indicate the industry is finally heading in a more sensible direction.
You'd need to really love baseball to even give this book a try, I think. While I admire the intellectual effort, I shall seek less academic material in the future.