Now that new baseball season is upon us, I would like to recommend the awesome Library of Congress digitized collection of Progressive Era baseball cards. It is a fun way to get to know the "Deadball Era," as well as an instructive lesson in sports print culture and the birth of the consumer economy. Here is the link:
Most of the greats are represented, including Ty Cobb (looking spiffy on some cards and gritty in others), Roger Connor (who had the home run record before Babe Ruth crushed it), Walther Johnson (my candidate for the best pitcher ever), Christy Matthewson, Cy Young (all time wins leader), and Smokey Joe Wood (the Red Sox pitcher who gave up the mound for the outfield and inspired Babe Ruth to do likewise), just to name a few. Don't look for Honus Wagner or Joe "Shoeless" Jackson. Few of the players look what we today would think of as athletic. These men did not have personal trainers, advanced exercise regimens, or specialized diets to maximize performance. Nor did they receive exorbitant salaries. On the other hand, they amassed stats that still stand to this day, such as TyCobb's batting average and Cy Young's win record. If you would like to read more of what I have to say on this website, here is a review I wrote for publichistory.org: http://www.publichistory.org/reviews/view_review.asp?DBID=26
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I am working on the index now for my upcoming book, The Most Defiant Devil: William Temple Hornaday and his Controversial Crusade to Save American Wildlife due out later this year from University of Virginia Press. I am very excited that the culmination of nearly twenty years of work will finally see print, but this is most gruelling part of the entire project.
Monday, March 4, 2013
On another point Queenan reawakened me to libraries. I used to go the library very often. In fact, for a very long period I did not buy any books at all because I borrowed bagfuls from the local library. But, then we bought a pug who chewed up some books. After spending $100 on repairing library books over several months, I shied away from borrowing books and opted to purchase them instead. At this point you might ask, why didn’t the genius put the books where the little dog could not get them? Well I did, but often one book was moved, or dropped, or fell from the shelf and ended up in range of the pug. After reading One for the Books I realized how much I missed roaming the stacks of the library looking for books to pull off the shelf, sample, and either return or check out. It is a very simple form of exploration and one I had forgotten how much I enjoyed.