Sunday, March 31, 2013

Play Ball!

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

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