Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Batter Up!

It's baseball season again (my family are Red Sox fans, my husband a Yankee fan, so you can imagine I get an earful all summer). Way back in the pre-steroid days, when the game was truly dodgy, the marquis MLB teams didn't exist. Instead, communities had baseball 'clubs', rules were vague, but women doted on the players just as much as they do now. But Didn't We Have Fun? an informal history of baseball's pioneer era, 1843-1870 takes a look at what became America's pastime. Author Peter Morris, who wrote the award-winning A Game of Inches, takes the reader along as he charts the evolution of baseball from children's game to amateur athletic clubs to the first professional teams. He uses newspaper accounts, photos and old interviews (not conducted by Morris, obviously) to piece together a description of what old-time baseball was like to play and watch. Two teams in particular - the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the New York Knickerbockers - were particularly influential. The Knickerbockers have been credited with creating the game of baseball as we know it, since they were the team to come up with standardized rules (1845). The Red Stockings were the first professional team. Together, these two teams changed baseball and American sport.

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