But didn't we have fun?: an informal history of baseball's pioneer era, 1843-1870
The story of baseball in America begins not with the fabled Abner Doubleday but with a generation of mid-nineteenth-century Americans who moved from the countryside to the cities and brought a cherished but delightfully informal game with them.
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Being an "informal history" of baseball's very early days. Morris' thesis is that historians have underestimated the fun quotient in their accounts of early baseball. His approach pays very little attention to individual games or players, certainly not the prominent ones, but simply uses recollections of the players as well as newspaper accounts of the day to generate a mental picture of the old days out at the old ballyard. He succeeds in this quite richly. If one wanted to quibble a little, I could have done with less emphasis on examples from his home state and perhaps letting his thesis speak for itself rather than his occasional attempts to shoehorn material into it.
As a reader with more knowledge than the average base ball fan of modern times, I found that this book was written very well. It dives into more than just the evolution of our great American Pastime, but also illustrates the culture in America during base ball's earliest days. The writing is very good, telling facts and other pieces of information in a very reader-friendly format. This book was a joy to read, and will always be one of my favorites.
Before the Knickerbockers
The Knickerbockers Game Becomes the New York Game
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