The author, Benjamin G. Rader, does a delightful job on hitting on the highlights of baseball history without going too deep and losing his readers. He goes back to the Civil War era and lets us in on how it helped the spread of baseball to other parts of the country.
Then the rise of teams from New York and other cities like Cincinnati got together to hone their skills for the love of the game and the glee of the fans provided for the upswing in baseball interest.
He glides through the “Age of Ruth” with precision (here are tons written about Babe Ruth) and shares how his personality and those around him caused a fascination with the players for perhaps the first time in history,
My favorite part of the book deals with the baseball dynasties like the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees and how that time period found fans beginning to take sides more often and how hatred for other teams success turned into fanatical tendencies.
The racial divide and barriers that had to be overcome are relayed to us with issues black players had in Spring Training as they became part of baseball. Owners like O’Malley with the Dodgers pushed cities into accepting the black players or lose his money and go somewhere else.
The modern day is put into perspective leading off with issues like the reserve clause and how it took us to baseball today.
Every baseball fan and sports buff needs this on their shelf. It has been written well and chronicles “America’s Game” from inception to modern day.
About the Author: Benjamin G. Rader is James L. Sellers Professional Emeritus of History at the University of Lincoln, Nebraska, and the author with Pamela Grundy with American Sports: From the Age of Folk Games to the Age of Televised Sports.
I would like to thank the University of Illinois Press for sending this copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.