I haven’t done a book review in a while, so here’s a year-end review of one. You still have time to pick it up for the holidays.
Paul Batesel has written Players and Teams of the National Association: 1871-1875. The book is from 2012 and published my McFarland and Company of North Carolina. The book is composed of two sections. The first is a series of short (half page average length) biographies of the men who played in the first professional league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players. Each biography concentrates on the baseball aspects of the man’s career, so these are not comprehensive bios of the earliest professionals, but baseball bios. Some are quite short, as there is little known about the man. Others are somewhat longer. In some cases there is a picture of the man, in other cases no picture is available.
The second part of the book is, to me, the more interesting. It’s a biography of each of the teams that played in the National Association. The list is alphabetical by team name and includes a brief history of the team, a short squib on the stadium, a list of managers, a description of the team uniform, and then a year-by-year synopsis of the team’s actions in the NA. There is, when available, a picture of at least one player in uniform so that you have a visual of the uniform as well as the description. For the stadia, there are contemporary pictures of the town. Sometimes you can pick out the field, other times the picture description tells you where in the picture the stadium was located. I found this to be one of the more interesting aspects of the book.
If you are interested in the National Association, the book is worth a look. It’s not stat heavy, but relies more on the bios of both players and team. It’s available from Amazon.com for $31.50 and is 228 pages long.
Tags: National Association