One of the best managers in the early years of professional baseball, Frank Selee (1859–1909) built two great teams. The Boston Beaneaters of the 1890s won five National League pennants during his tenure. The Chicago Cubs won four National League pennants and two World Series immediately after his period as manager—mostly with players he assembled. Selee’s teams earned reputations for sportsmanship during an era known for dirty play, and Selee himself was known as a congenial man at a time when many managers and players had were considered loutish or combative. This biography tells the story of one of baseball’s notable nice guys, who honed his craft to succeed in a ruthlessly competitive business.
Female students today never knew a time without Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which protects students from sex-based discrimination and exclusion in education programs or activities. It benefits all women, especially female athletes. This dual memoir recounts the lives of Celeste Callahan and Dottie Dorion, who were athletes before Title IX was passed. Callahan and Dorion were runners and triathletes who constantly battled gender norms and stereotypes. The memoirs of the two athletes’ oral and written accounts are stitched together to detail their journey through sport against societal standards and pressures.
Zack Wheat was long considered the greatest player in Dodgers history. The Missouri native parlayed his tenacious work ethic and raw skills into a major league career. For almost two decades, the mild-mannered outfielder was a mainstay for the Dodgers, bringing stability to a team that was at times unhinged. To this day, Wheat is the franchise leader in several batting categories.
Greatly respected by his peers and adored by fans, Wheat served as Brooklyn’s captain for several years, leading the club to two pennants (1916 and 1920). After his playing days, Wheat found difficulty working his way back into the game and was nearly killed in an automobile accident as a member of the Kansas City police force before finding redemption in election to the Hall of Fame in 1959.
America and Canada both saw historic sports milestones in 1993. While the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bulls reigned supreme, the Toronto Blue Jays won a second consecutive World Series on a walk-off homer, and the Montreal Canadiens emerged as the last Canadian team to win a Stanley Cup. While stars like Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Joe Montana overcame physical and emotional challenges to make history, teams were performing unprecedented feats, from the Buffalo Bills’ unrivaled comeback on Wild Card Weekend to the Baltimore Orioles’ unveiling of their transformative ballpark design during All-Star Week. Drawing on original interviews with dozens of former players and coaches, this book revisits an exceptional sports year for fans across North America, with memorable stories involving some of the most iconic sports figures of the 1990s.
The Knicks of the 1990s competed like champions but fell short of their goal. An eclectic group who took divergent, in many cases fascinating paths to New York, they forged an identity as a rugged, relentless squad. Led by a superstar center Patrick Ewing and two captivating coaches—Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy—they played David to the Chicago Bulls’ Goliath. Despite not winning a championship, they were embraced as champions by New Yorkers and their rivalries with the Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat defined NBA basketball for a decade. Drawing on original interviews with players, coaches and others, this narrative rediscovers the brilliance of the Knicks, Ewing and his colorful supporting cast—Charles Oakley, John Starks, Larry Johnson and Latrell Sprewell—in the glory days of Madison Square Garden.
Many books have discussed boxing in the ancient world, but this is the first to describe how boxing was reborn in the modern world. Modern boxing began in the Middle Ages in England as a criminal activity. It then became a sport supported by the kings and aristocracy. Later it was again outlawed and only in the 20th century has it become a sport popular around the world.
This book describes how modern boxing began in England as an outgrowth of the native English sense of fair play. It demonstrates that boxing was the common man’s alternative to the sword duel of honor, and argues that boxing and fair play helped Englishmen avoid the revolutions common to France, Italy and Germany during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. English enthusiasm for boxing largely drove out the pistol and sword duels from English society. And although boxing remains a brutal sport, it has made England one of the safest countries in the world.
It also examines how the rituals of boxing developed: the meaning of the parade to the ring; the meaning of the ring itself; why only two men fight at one time; why the fighters shake hands before each fight; why a boxing match is called a prizefight; and why a knock-down does not end the bout. Its sources include material from medieval manuscripts, and its notes and bibliography are extensive.
Signal caller, gunslinger, field general—the quarterback goes by many lofty nicknames. It’s arguably the toughest, most high-pressure position to play among all sports. The quarterback touches the ball on every offensive snap, is responsible for reading the defense, adjusting the play, and executing complex schemes that require tremendous physical and mental prowess. He is expected to be the undisputed team leader, whether he’s an established veteran or an untested rookie. If he succeeds, he’s the most likely player on the field to be canonized by fans and broadcasters. If he fails, he’ll be vilified in the press and his home field fans will start cheering for the backup.
This book traces the interesting history of the professional quarterback, from the early years when the quarterback was a blocker (and the appellations quarterback, halfback, and fullback were literal and geographically correct) to the modern-day player who must be the eyes, ears, brains, and, of course, the accurate, strong arm of the offense. The narrative history in Section I is rich with statistical analysis. The author employs realistic metrics for statistical comparison across multiple eras, and includes all-time rankings as well as specific rankings among different styles of quarterbacks. Section II compares quarterbacks within their respective eras, putting their accomplishments in context with those of their contemporaries. Section III breaks down the quarterback position, team-by-team, for current NFL franchises. Appendices provide detailed passing records; additional statistics on everything from relative passer ratings to fourth quarter comebacks; and listings of first round draft picks, trades involving quarterbacks, awards, and uniform numbers.
Philadelphia has been a hockey town since 1897. Before and even during the Philadelphia Flyers’ tenure, other teams—the Ramblers, the Quakers and the Firebirds, among others—called the city home, for better or for worse. The first of its kind, this comprehensive history covers the teams and players that graced the ice from the turn of the 20th century through the 2009 demise of the Philadelphia Phantoms. Offering something for every Philly hockey fan, the author tells the stories of the 10 pro teams that played the world’s fastest game in the City of Brotherly Love.
Negro Leaguers and the Hall of Fame: The Case for Inducting 24 Overlooked Ballplayers
Steven R. Greenes
Since 1971, 35 Negro League baseball players and executives have been admitted to the Hall of Fame. The Negro League Hall of Fame admissions process, which has now been conducted in four phases over a 50-year period, can be characterized as idiosyncratic at best. Drawing on baseball analytics and surveys of both Negro League historians and veterans, this book presents an historical overview of NLHOF voting, with an evaluation of whether the 35 NL players selected were the best choices. Using modern metrics such as Wins Above Replacement (WAR), 24 additional Negro Leaguers are identified who have Hall of Fame qualifications. Brief biographies are included for HOF–quality players and executives who have been passed over, along with reasons why they may have been excluded. A proposal is set forth for a consistent and orderly HOF voting process for the Negro Leagues.
Eddie Cicotte, who pitched in the American League 1905–1920, was one of the tragic figures of baseball. A family man and a fan favorite, he ascended to stardom with nothing more than a mediocre fastball, endless guile and a repertoire of trick pitches. He won 29 games in 1919 and led the Chicago White Sox to the pennant. Although he pitched poorly in the World Series that October, fans did not hold it against him—a slump can happen to anybody.
A year later, the public learned the truth: Cicotte’s poor performance was no slump. He had taken a bribe to throw the Series. Along with seven teammates, he was implicated in what became known as the Black Sox Scandal, the most disgraceful episode in the history of the sport. Overnight, he became a pariah and would remain so for the rest of his life. This is the first full-length biography of Cicotte, best known today not as a great pitcher but as one of the “Eight Men Out.”
For six decades the World Colored Heavyweight Championship was a useful tool of racial oppression—the existence of the title far more important to the white public than its succession of champions. It took some extraordinary individuals, most notably Jack Johnson, to challenge “the color line” in the ring, although the title and the black fighters who contended for it continued until the reign of Joe Louis a generation later. This history traces the advent and demise of the Championship, the stories of the 28 professional athletes who won it, and the demarcation of the color line both in and out of the ring.
Featuring interviews with the creators of 35 popular video games—including John Madden Football, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, WCW/nWo Revenge, and RBI Baseball—this book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) sports video games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.
The three-point shot has been an NBA institution for more than 40 years, with the first long-distance bombs fired on October 12, 1979. The game has since changed dramatically. Critics today contend that three-pointers have gotten out of hand. Attempts rose from 2.8 per game in the 1979–1980 season to 18.4 in 2011–2012 to 32 in 2018–2019. Charting this development, this volume focuses on examples of 12 performances by 12 exceptional shooters—with mention of many more. Starting with Chris Ford and ending with Steph Curry, the author shows how these athletes have changed the NBA one shot at a time.
The first deaf baseball player joined the pro ranks in 1883. By 1901, four played in the major leagues, most notably outfielder William “Dummy” Hoy and pitcher Luther “Dummy” Taylor. Along the way, deaf players developed a distinctive approach, bringing visual acuity and sign language to the sport. They crossed paths with other pioneers, including Moses Fleetwood Walker and Jackie Robinson.
This book recounts their great moments in the game, from the first all-deaf barnstorming team to the only meeting of a deaf batter and a deaf pitcher in a major league game. The true story—often dismissed as legend—of Hoy, together with umpire “Silk” O’Loughlin, bringing hand signals to baseball is told.
Bursting onto the scene as a 20-year-old rookie, Arky Vaughan quickly established himself as the next great Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop. In 1935 his .385 batting average eclipsed even that of the immortal Honus Wagner, who was a steadying influence for Vaughan during his 10 seasons with the Pirates. Vaughan never hit under .300 with Pittsburgh and his versatility later made him an asset to the Brooklyn Dodgers. One of the quietest men in baseball, the nine-time All-Star eschewed the limelight but received plenty of attention for his on-field performance, for his one-man mutiny against Brooklyn manager Leo Durocher, and for walking away from the game to take care of his family and his beloved ranch during World War II. Drawing on dozens of articles, personal writings, recorded interviews and his daughter’s unpublished biography, this book covers the life and career of an often overlooked Hall of Famer who died in a tragic boating accident at age 40.
The St. Louis Cardinals, despite winning more World Series than any Major League franchise except for the New York Yankees, have seen their share of dry spells when they were shut out of the postseason. Like the American economy, the Cardinals have seen their fortunes cycle through prolonged ups and downs, with booms in 1885–1888, 1926–1946, 1964–1968, 1982–1987 and 1996–2011, and busts in 1889–1925, 1947–1963, 1969–1981 and 1988–1995. Drawing on years of research, this book chronicles the Cardinals’ periods of success and failure and explains the reasons behind them.
This first-ever volume focusing on sports pulp fiction devoted to America’s two most popular pastimes of the 1935–1957 era—baseball and football—provides extensive detail on authors, along with examination of key plots, themes, trends and categories. Commentary relates the works to real-life baseball and football of the period.
The history of the genre is traced, beginning with the debut of Dime Sport (later renamed Dime Sports), the first magazine from a major publisher to provide competition for Street & Smith’s long-established Sport Story Magazine. Complementing the text is a complete catalog of fiction from the six major publishers who competed with S&S, also noting the cover themes for 1,054 issues.
Why do modern-day sluggers like Aaron Judge prefer maple bats over the traditional ash bats swung by Ted Williams and others? Why did the surge of broken bats in the early 21st century create a crisis for Major League Baseball and what steps were taken to address the issue? Are different woods being considered by players and manufacturers? Do insects, disease and climate change pose a problem long-term?
These and other questions are answered in this exhaustive examination of the history and future of wooden bats, written for both lifelong baseball fans and curious newcomers.
An early celebrity pitcher, Denton “Cy” Young (1867–1955) established supreme standards on the mound. A small-town Ohio farmer made good, he set Major League pitching records in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that will likely last forever.
The winner of 511 games—nearly one hundred more than the second-ranked hurler—Young pitched the first perfect game of the modern era, as well as three no-hitters. His talents helped establish the American League in 1901.
Among the Hall of Fame’s first inductees, he remained a sought-after interviewee decades after retirement. A year after his death, the Cy Young Award was dedicated as baseball’s most prestigious honor for pitchers.
At their basic level, sporting events are about numbers: wins and losses, percentages and points, shots and saves, clocks and countdowns. However, sports narratives quickly leave the realm of statistics. The stories we tell and retell, sometimes for decades, make sports dramatic and compelling. Just like any great drama, sports imply conflict, not just battles on the field of play, but clashes of personalities, goals, and strategies. In telling these stories, we create heroes, but we also create villains. This book is about the latter, those players who transgress norms and expectations and who we label the “bad boys” of sports.
Using a variety of approaches, these 13 new essays examine the cultural, social, and rhetorical implications of sports villainy. Each chapter focuses on a different athlete and sport, questioning issues such as how notorious sports figures are defined to be “bad” within particular sports and within the larger culture, the role media play in creating antiheroes, fan reactions when players cross boundaries, and how those boundaries shift depending on the athlete’s gender, sexuality, and race.
In July 1950, a young Dutch intersex woman was expelled from elite competition by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. It turned out to be the beginning of a dark era in the history of women in sport. Young women were subjected to humiliating examinations and dozens of intersex athletes were suspended, although no fraud was ever uncovered.
This book presents a compelling argument against gender verification, showing the pernicious effects that suspension inflicted on the lives of young athletes. Some withdrew from the public eye, lived in solitude, or even committed suicide. Compassionate profiles of these banned athletes highlight the unfair play of gender verification and of their exclusion from competition.
Providing a comprehensive history of the Baltimore Black Sox from before the team’s founding in 1913 through its demise in 1936, this history examines the social and cultural forces that gave birth to the club and informed its development. The author describes aspects of Baltimore’s history in the first decades of the 20th century, details the team’s year-by-year performance, explores front-office and management dynamics and traces the shaping of the Negro Leagues. The history of the Black Sox’s home ballparks and of the people who worked for the team both on and off the field are included.
The 1960s were a tumultuous period in U.S. history and the sporting world was not immune to the decade’s upturn of tradition. As war in Southeast Asia, civil unrest at home and political assassinations rocked the nation, professional football struggled to attract fans. While some players fought for civil rights and others fought overseas, the ideological divides behind the protests and riots in the streets spilled into the locker rooms, and athletes increasingly brought their political beliefs into the sports world.
This history describes how a decade of social upheaval affected life on the gridiron, and the personalities and events that shaped the game. The debut of the Super Bowl, soon to become a fixture of American culture, marked a professional sport on the rise. Increasingly lucrative television contracts and innovations in the filming and broadcasting of games expanded pro football’s audiences. An authoritarian old guard, best represented by the revered Vince Lombardi, began to give way as star players like Joe Namath commanded new levels of pay and power. And at last, all teams fielded African American players, belatedly beginning the correction of the sport’s greatest wrong.
Rescued in 2010 from the small creek that runs next to Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, New York, a simple baseball launched an epic quest that spanned the United States and beyond. For eight years, “The Hall Ball” went on a journey to have its picture taken with every member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, both living and deceased. The goal? To enshrine the first crowd-sourced artifact ever donated to the Hall.
Part travelogue, part baseball history, part photo journal, this book tells the full story for the first time. The narratives that accompany the ball’s odyssey are as funny and moving as any in the history of the game.
In the words of former American League umpire Nestor Chylak, umpires are expected to “be perfect on the first day of the season and then get better every day.” Forced to deal with sullen managers and explosive players, they often take the blame for the failures of both. But let’s face it—umpires are only human.
For well over a century, the fortunes of Major League teams—and the fabric of baseball history itself—have been dramatically affected by the flawed decisions of officials. While the use of video replay in recent decades has reduced the number of bitter disputes, many situations remain exempt from review and are subject to swirling controversy. In the heat of the moment mistakes are often made, sometimes with monumental consequences. This book details some of these more controversial calls and the men who made them.
This work brings a fresh perspective to the history of modern prizefighting, a sport which has evolved over several centuries to become one of mankind’s most lasting and valued sporting attractions. With his primary focus outside the ropes, the author shows how organizers, publicity agents, and political allies overcame both legal and moral roadblocks to make fisticuffing a lively commercial enterprise.
The book begins with the clandestine bare-knuckle fights in eighteenth-century London, and ends with the vibrant, large-scale productions of modern Las Vegas “fight nights.” Along the way, he explains many of the myths about antiquarian prizefighters, describes the origins of slave fight folklore, and examines the forces that transformed Las Vegas into the world’s leading venue for important fights.
It’s June, gas prices are cheap, the highways are free of traffic, and holiday destinations are uncrowded. Let’s hit the road (in spirit, if not in deed)! Our automotive history line, including histories of marques famous and obscure, auto racing, biographies, reference works like J. Kelly Flory’s massive American Cars volumes, and much more, is complimented by many excellent works on locomotive, aviation, and maritime history; bicycles; and military transportation. This month, we’re offering ALL transportation titles at 40% off the list price with coupon code TRANSPORTATION40! Use this coupon code on our website through Sunday, June 28. Safe travels from your friends at McFarland!
This book describes the intense rivalry—and collaboration—of the four players who created the golden era when USSR chess players dominated the world. More than 200 annotated games are included, along with personal details—many for the first time in English.
Mikhail Tal, the roguish, doomed Latvian who changed the way chess players think about attack and sacrifice; Tigran Petrosian, the brilliant, henpecked Armenian whose wife drove him to become the world’s best player; Boris Spassky, the prodigy who survived near-starvation and later bouts of melancholia to succeed Petrosian—but is best remembered for losing to Bobby Fischer; and “Evil” Viktor Korchnoi, whose mixture of genius and jealousy helped him eventually surpass his three rivals (but fate denied him the title they achieved: world champion).
The first quarter of the 20th century was a time of dramatic change in auto racing, marked by the move from the horseless carriage to the supercharged Grand Prix racer, from the gentleman driver to the well-publicized professional, and from the dusty road course to the autodrome. This history of the evolution of European and American auto racing from 1900 to 1925 examines transatlantic influences, early dirt track racing, and the birth of the twin-cam engine and the straight-eight. It also explores the origins of the Bennett and Vanderbilt races, the early career of “America’s Speed King” Barney Oldfield, the rise of the speedway specials from Marmon, Mercer, Stutz and Duesenberg, and developments from Peugeot, Delage, Ballot, Fiat, and Bugatti. This informative work provides welcome insight into a defining period in motorsports.
Remember live sports? So do we, but just barely. With nothing on TV and the ballparks empty, we’re using this time to read, study and reminisce with some good books. Luckily, for the last forty years, we’ve celebrated sports by publishing the best scholarship available, with more than 1,000 titles covering all aspects of sport. Through Sunday, June 14, we’re offering 40% off the list price of ALL sports titles—use coupon code SPORTS40 at checkout! Thank you for continuing to support McFarland, and we look forward to sitting next to you at the ballpark again.
Despite the big market, bright lights and World Series rings, many Hall of Fame level players from the Mets and Yankees have been passed over by voters, often by good margins. The biggest reason: they didn’t accumulate those traditional lifetime stats in hits, home runs or wins that typically punch Hall of Fame tickets. New York fan favorites Keith Hernandez, Ron Guidry, David Cone and others had the misfortune of playing before today’s accepted measurement tools like on-base percentage, slugging percentage and ERA-plus (adjusting a pitcher’s earned run average to the league norm in a given year) became commonplace. Some players were overshadowed by bigger personalities who were better able to take advantage of the New York spotlight.
This book makes an in-depth case for the induction of seven Mets and Yankees, and evaluates many more who have been passed over for a spot in the Hall of Fame. Giving these players a fresh look, it uses advanced stats that weren’t around when these men were playing and places traditional stats in the context of their era.
This chronicle of sports at West Virginia’s 40 black high schools and three black colleges illuminates many issues in race relations and the struggle for social justice within the state and nation. Despite having inadequate resources, the black schools’ sports teams thrived during segregation and helped tie the state’s scattered black communities together. West Virginia hosted the nation’s first state-wide black high school basketball tournament, which flourished for 33 years, and both Bluefield State and West Virginia State won athletic championships in the prestigious Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association (now Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association). Black schools were gradually closed after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, and the desegregation of schools in West Virginia was an important step toward equality. For black athletes and their communities, the path to inclusion came with many costs.
April means we’re halfway to our next Halloween, and we think it’s a great time to celebrate all things macabre. This month, we’re offering readers 40% off our most riveting—and often downright frightening—books on real-life monsters and mayhem with our true crime sale. Through April 19th, use coupon code TRUECRIME40 on all of our reads about serial killers, unsolved crimes, famous robberies and more. Browse our true crime catalog here!
The Pittsburgh Penguins have captured the Stanley Cup five times since 1991—more than any NHL team during the same period. Joining the NHL in 1967 as an expansion team, they waddled their way through years of heavy losses both on and off the ice—bad trades, horrible draft picks, a revolving door of owners, general managers and coaches, and even a bankruptcy. Somehow, they hung on long enough to draft superstar Mario Lemieux in 1984 and eventually claim their first championship, attracting a large fanbase along the way.
Packed with colorful recollections from former players, reporters and team officials, this book tells the complete story of the Penguins’ first 25 years, chronicling their often hilarious, sometimes tragic transformation from bumbling upstarts to one of hockey’s most accomplished franchises.
Baltimore is home to some of the greatest football players ever to step onto the gridiron. From the Colts’ Johnny Unitas to the Ravens’ Ray Lewis, Charm City has been blessed with multiple championship teams and plenty of Hall of Fame players.
Between the Colts and Ravens, a brief but significant chapter of Baltimore football history was written—the Stallions. Formed in 1994, they posted the most successful single season in the history of the Canadian Football League, when in 1995 they became the only U.S. team to win the Grey Cup. By 1996 the Stallions were gone, undermined by the arrival of the Ravens and the overall failure of the CFL’s U.S. expansion efforts. Drawing on original interviews with players, coaches, journalists and fans, this book recalls how the Stallions both captured the imagination and broke the hearts of Baltimore football fans in just 24 months.
Canadian-born George “Mooney” Gibson (1880–1967) grew up playing baseball on the sandlots around London, Ontario, before going on to star with the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League. In an era known for tough, defensive catchers, Gibson was an ironman and set records for endurance. He helped the Pirates defeat Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers to win their first World Series in 1909. He played with and against some of the biggest names in the game and counted Cobb, Honus Wagner and John McGraw as friends. He then held numerous coaching and managing roles in New York, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Washington and Chicago—the last Canadian to manage full-time in the Major Leagues.
Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium was home to baseball’s College World Series from 1950 until 2010. Future Major League stars played pro ball there in all but seven seasons during the same period. The venue also hosted barnstorming games, football games, concerts and a variety of novelty events in its lifetime.
The history of the stadium is told by people who lived it. Essays and recollections by players and coaches who competed there, organizers of the Series and other events, and fans who enjoyed more than six decades of entertainment establish Rosenblatt’s place in the American cultural landscape.
At six-feet-six, the hulking Martin Leo Boutilier (1872–1944) was hard to miss. Yet the many books written about Babe Ruth relegate the soft-spoken teacher and coach to the shadows. Ruth credited Boutilier—known as Brother Matthias in the Congregation of St. Francis Xavier—with making him the man and the baseball player he became. Matthias saw something in the troubled seven-year old and nurtured his athletic ability. Spending many extra hours on the ballfield with him over a dozen years, he taught Ruth how to hit and converted the young left-handed catcher into a formidable pitcher.
Overshadowed by a fellow Xavierian brother who was given the credit for discovering the baseball prodigy, Matthias never received his due from the public but didn’t complain. Ruth never forgot the father figure who continued to provide valuable counsel in later life. This is the first telling of the full story of the man who gave the world its most famous baseball star.
In 1927 Cuban national Ignacio S. Molinet was recruited to play with the Frankford Yellow Jackets of the old NFL for a single season. Mexican national José Martínez-Zorrilla achieved 1932 All-American honors. These are the beginnings of the Latino experience in American Football, which continues amidst a remarkable and diversified setting of Hispanic nationalities and ethnic groups. This history of Latinos in American Football dispels the myths that baseball, boxing, and soccer are the chosen and competent sports for Spanish-surname athletes. The book documents their fascination for the sport that initially denied their participation but that could not discourage their determination to master the game.
Ice skates made from animal bones were used in Europe for millennia before metal-bladed skates were invented. Archaeological sites have yielded thousands of examples, some of them dating to the Bronze Age. They are often mentioned in popular books on the Vikings and sometimes appear in children’s literature.
Even after metal skates became the norm, people in rural areas continued to use bone skates into the early 1970s. Today, bone skates help scientists and re-enactors understand migrations and interactions among ancient peoples.
This book explains how to make and use them and chronicles their history, from their likely invention in the Eurasian steppes to their disappearance in the modern era.
African Americans have made substantial contributions to the sporting world, and vice versa. This wide-ranging collection of new essays explores the inextricable ties between sports and African American life and culture. Contributors critically address important topics such as the historical context of African American participation in major U.S. sports, social justice and responsibility, gender and identity, and media and art.
Congratulations to author James E. Brunson III, whose book, Black Baseball, 1858–1900, received the Brown Award for Best Edited Reference/Primary Source by the Popular Culture Association!
Black Baseball previously received the Robert Peterson Recognition Award from the Society for American Baseball Research, was named an ALA Outstanding Reference Source, and was given an Honorable Mention for the Dartmouth Medal.
You may have cheered him. You may have booed him out of the building. But until now, you’ve never really known “The Most Dangerous Man in Wrestling.”
For the first time, Jerome “New Jack” Young opens up about his rise to stardom in Extreme Championship Wrestling. From his crazed dives off balconies and scaffolds to his bloody weapons matches that trampled the line between reality and entertainment, this candid memoir reveals the man behind the infamy, with new disclosures about the Mass Transit incident, the brutal beat-down of Gypsy Joe, and the stabbing of a fellow wrestler in Florida.
Beyond the gimmicks that united white supremacists and the NAACP against him, New Jack discusses his violent youth that nearly led him to a life of crime, his career as a bounty hunter, a near-fatal drug addiction, the last months of ECW, and his place in wrestling history.
When John Beilein arrived at University of Michigan in 2007, the once-proud men’s basketball program was adrift after failing to reach the NCAA Tournament for nine straight seasons. Over the next twelve years, he became the program’s all-time winningest coach, reached two national championship games, won four Big Ten championships and produced eight NBA first-round draft picks.
In an age of ethical lapses throughout college basketball, Beilein succeeded without a hint of impropriety. As much a teacher as a coach, he consistently identified undervalued recruits, taught them his innovative offensive system and carefully developed them into better players—an approach to the game that drove his unprecedented rise from high school junior varsity coach to head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This book examines his tenure at Michigan in detail for the first time.
Chronicling Yale football from its 1872 inception to the present, this volume offers a comprehensive coverage of the most important games, including all Yale-Harvard contests, most Yale-Princeton games, record-making performances, great plays and more. Human-interest anecdotes offer a sidebar to the game or era covered, giving color to the storied history of Yale football. The evolution is traced of rules that transformed a game combining soccer and rugby into the football we know today.
Examining the phenomenon of nationalism in the world of sport, this collection of new essays identifies moments when athletes became national symbols through their actions on and off the field. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and related global events of the 1980s and 1990s, scholars have explored how race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality shape and are shaped by nationalism and national participation.
Topics include: race, golf and the struggle for social justice in South Africa; sport as a battleground within the Israel/Palestine conflict; multiculturalism and the Olympic Games; and white privilege in sport. These case studies explore the strength (and fragility) associated with national identity, and how athletes become icons for their nations.
Cumberland Posey began his career in 1911 playing outfield for the Homestead Grays, a local black team in his Pennsylvania hometown. He soon became the squad’s driving force as they dominated semi-pro ball in the Pittsburgh area. By the late 1930s the Grays were at the top of the Negro Leagues with nine straight pennant wins.
Posey was also a League officer; he served 13 years as the first black member of the Homestead school board; and he wrote an outspoken sports column for the African American weekly, the Pittsburgh Courier. He was regarded as one of the best black basketball players in the East; he was the organizer of a team that held the consensus national black championship five years running. Ten years after his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame—one of only two athletes to be honored by two pro sports halls.
How do you invent an Olympic sport? For Katharine Whitney Curtis, it took the right idea, great talent, some good timing, and the determination to make it happen. The originator of synchronized swimming as we know it today, she even wrote the first book on the subject in 1936. But there was much more to her life and career. After the start of World War II, Curtis became a recreational director in the American Red Cross and followed the troops wherever the course of war took them, serving under Generals Patton and Eisenhower, before becoming a director of travel for the U.S. Army in Europe during the Cold War. Unbound by fear or the narrow expectations of society, this was a woman who lived ahead of her time, making things happen along the way. As her first biography, this book generously features Curtis’s own words, selected from more than 2,000 pages of letters, and contextualized by her surviving friends and family members.
Barbaric. Savage. Violent. Words often used by critics to describe the sport of mixed martial arts. To this can be added lucrative, popular and flourishing. MMA has seen astronomical growth since the 2000s, spurred on by its biggest promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).
Along the way, legal issues have plagued the sport. This book provides an overview of the most important cases and controversies arising both inside and outside of the cage—antitrust suits by fighters against promoters, fighters suing other fighters, drug testing, contractual issues, and the need for federal regulation.
The 1972 Green Bay Packers were not expected to challenge for a playoff spot, or even to top their four victories from the season before. But the players were an eclectic group of over-achievers, 20 of whom were brand new to the team. Despite disheartening decisions by a questionable head coach, they gelled almost immediately and by season’s end became the only Packers team throughout the 1970s to earn a division title. This book details how they succeeded beyond all expectations and tells one of the great stories in pro football history.
Much has been written about Roger Maris and the historic summer of 1961 when he broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record yet little is known about the pitchers on the other side of the tale. One of the many knocks against Maris was that he faced inferior pitching in an American League watered down by expansion from eight to 10 teams. But was that really the case? Did Maris face has-beens and never-weres while Ruth confronted the cream of AL pitching? Who were these starters and relievers and how good were they?
Drawing on first-hand accounts, interviews and a range of contemporary sources, this study covers each of Maris’ 63 home runs that season, including the lost one and his game-winning World Series dinger. Biographies of each of his 48 victims cover the pitcher’s career, pitching style and the circumstances of the game. Maris faced some really fine pitching that summer despite what many contended then—and now.
When the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta after the 1965 season, many impassioned fans grew indifferent to baseball. Others—namely car dealer Bud Selig—decided to fight for the beloved sport. Selig formed an ownership group with the goal of winning a new franchise. They faced formidable opposition—American League President Joe Cronin, lawyer turned baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, and other AL team owners would not entertain the notion of another team for the city.
This first ever history of baseball’s return to Milwaukee covers the owners, teams and ballparks behind the rise and fall of their Braves, the five-year struggle to acquire a new team, the relocation of a major league club a week prior to the 1970 season and how the Brewers created an identity and built a fan base and a contending team.
In 2010, University of Kansas officials were shocked to learn that the FBI and IRS were on campus investigating Rodney Jones, former head of the Athletics Ticket Office, for stealing Jayhawks basketball tickets and selling them to brokers. Investigators found that for more than five years Jones and a small ring of university officials had conspired to loot the university of $2 million in tickets, reselling them for $3–5 million. In what was perhaps the biggest scandal in college sports history, all seven members of the “Kansas Ticket Gang” pleaded guilty to RICO Act indictments. Five went to prison—two were given probation for turning state’s evidence.
We’ve launched a new imprint! With a focus on the body, mind and spirit, Toplight Books offers well-researched works that cover the three core human dimensions in original and inspiring ways. Through November 1, get 20% off all Toplight titles with the coupon code TOPLIGHT20!
With the success of The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, baseball in Europe has begun to receive more attention. But few realize just how far back the sport’s history stretches on the continent. Baseball has been played in Europe since the 1870s, and in several countries the players and devoted followers have included royalty, Hall of Famers from the U.S. major leagues, and captains of industry.
Featuring approximately 80 new interviews and 70 new photos and images, this second edition builds extensively on the previous edition’s country-by-country histories of more than 40 European nations. Also included are two new appendices on European players signed by MLB organizations and European countries’ performance in worldwide rankings.
Gong fu, the indigenous martial art of China, was exported into American popular culture through numerous “kung fu” movies in the 20th century. Perhaps the most renowned of the martial arts in the U.S., gong fu remains often misunderstood, perhaps because of its esoteric practices that include aspects of Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism and other syncretic elements.
Using the science of embodiment—the study of the interaction between body, mind, cognition, behavior and environment—this book explores the relationships among practitioner, praxis, spirituality, philosophy and the body in gong fu. Drawing on familiar routines, films, artifacts and art, the author connects the reader to ancient Chinese culture, philosophy, myth, shamanism and ritual.
McFarland is exhibiting at the annual conference of the American Folklore Society October 16-19 in Baltimore, Maryland. You are invited to meet with senior acquisitions editor Gary Mitchem. Schedule an appointment by emailing us in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org) or stop by the McFarland booth in the exhibit room for a casual conversation with Gary.
Instructors are welcome to examine books for potential adoption, whether at the McFarland booth at AFS or electronically, by submitting a request via our web form.
Offering the best in original research and analysis, Base Ball is an annually published book series that promotes the study of baseball’s early history, from its protoball roots to 1920, and its rise to prominence within American popular culture.
This volume, number 11, includes a dozen articles on topics ranging from the uses and abuses of mascots and batboys, attempts to revive the major league American Association, and the meaning of early club names to the founding of the National League, the finances of the Union Association, and the early years of future Giants magnate John T. Brush. The volume also includes thoughtful reviews of recently published books on women’s baseball, the 1887 Detroit Wolverines, and the American League pennant race in 1908.
McFarland is exhibiting at a number of regional and national conferences in the coming months, and conferees are encouraged to take the opportunity to peruse our books and meet an editor. Schedule an appointment by emailing us in advance (Layla Milholen, Gary Mitchem, or Dré Person), or stop by the McFarland booth in the exhibit room for a casual conversation with an editor.
Popular Culture Association in the South Sept 26-28, Wilmington, NC, Layla Milholen Association for the Study of African American Life and History Oct 3-5, Charleston, SC, Dré Person Midwest Popular Culture Association Oct 10-13 Cincinnati, OH, Layla Milholen American Folklore Society Oct 16-19, Baltimore, MD, Gary Mitchem South Central Modern Language Association Oct 24-26, Little Rock, AR, Gary Mitchem Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association Nov 7-9, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA, Gary Mitchem Film and History Nov 13-17, Madison, WI, Dré Person National Women’s Studies Association Nov 14-17, San Francisco, CA, Layla Milholen South Atlantic Modern Language Association Nov 15–17, Atlanta, GA, Gary Mitchem American Philosophical Association Jan 8-11, Philadelphia, PA, Dré Person Modern Language Association Jan 9-12, Seattle, WA, Gary Mitchem
McFarland is exhibiting at the annual conference of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History October 3-5 in Charleston, South Carolina. You are invited to meet with editor Dré Person. Schedule an appointment by emailing us in advance (email@example.com) or stop by the McFarland booth in the exhibit room for a casual conversation with Dré.
Instructors are welcome to examine books for potential adoption, whether at the McFarland booth at ASALH or electronically, by submitting a request via our web form.
Snakes in American Culture: A Hisstory
“This book offers a valuable perspective on snakes that would be a welcome addition to any library collection. Excellent references and the careful consideration of historical topics are of particular merit…recommended.”
Bobby Maduro and the Cuban Sugar Kings
“Relying on contemporary newspaper accounts, baseball archives, and interviews with surviving players and members of the Maduro family, this book is both thoroughly researched and engaging…recommended.”
A tight, dramatic NFL playoff game is exciting on its own, but two of the most dramatic in the same afternoon might result in the most compelling day in football history. This book is the first to capture the excitement and tension of December 23, 1972, when Pittsburgh played Oakland and Dallas met San Francisco in a pair of first-round playoff games that captivated millions. One game saw Dallas rally from three scores down in the fourth quarter, while the other featured the most famous ending in league history—the Immaculate Reception. This book details both high-stakes games as well as the historic season that led each team to the 1972 playoffs. Also covered are the men behind the miracles—some captured the moment to become heroes and legends, while others let success slip through their grasp. Two games, one afternoon, countless memories.
The Appalachian Mountains are a well-known world treasure, perhaps the most biodiverse region on the planet. This book spans almost six years and 500 miles of hiking by the author along the southern portion of the Appalachian Trail. A fresh perspective is brought to the subculture of “AT” hikers.
The path of the trail crosses many areas that featured dramatic family events, and the author weaves in compelling stories of his ancestors who called this ancient mountain range home. Also explored are a multitude of topics ranging from environmental challenges to the modern day problems facing residents of the region.
The Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge is an endurance ride that takes participants across the United States. Riding 20 hours a day or more for 7–12 days straight, they traverse back roads, brave dangerous conditions and battle mental and physical exhaustion. Fewer than 10 percent of participants are women. They take on the challenge and they excel! Chronicling the journeys of 14 women who participated in the Hoka Hey (Lakota for “Let’s do it!”) from 2010 to 2013, this feminist cultural analysis relates their often harrowing stories of life on the road and draws comparisons to women in other sports.
The Ladies Professional Golfers Association (LPGA) was formed in 1950, 34 years after the men’s association. There were 13 founding members, one of whom was Patty Berg (1918–2006). After a glittering amateur career with 28 championships, Berg turned professional in 1940. Before the formation of the LPGA she made a living playing in an occasional tournament and conducting thousands of exhibitions and teaching clinics in the U.S.
Berg had one of the most successful careers in women’s golf. She won 57 tour titles and her 15 major pro championships remain a record. This first biography of Berg traces her career from “teenage sensation” to beloved and respected elder stateswoman of the game, chronicling her role among the founding members who created the multi-million dollar LPGA.
Hall of Fame middleweight prizefighter John Edward Kelly, better known as Nonpareil Jack Dempsey, was one of the most popular athletes in the United States during the late 19th century. To many observers, Dempsey is one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in ring history. Inside the ropes, he was fearless, poised, quick, agile, and had terrific punching power with both hands.
His story is rich—full of amazing highs and terrible lows. He was a poor immigrant Irish boy who scaled great heights to become one of this nation’s first sports celebrities. He became a household name, wealthy and popular. But much too soon, it all came crashing down. His violent profession, alcoholism, mental illness, and tuberculosis left little to recognize of the valiant hero of so many battles.
Commercial aspects of college football and basketball during the mid– to late 20th century were dominated by a few “get rich quick” schools. Though the NCAA was responsible for controlling such facets of college sports, the organization was unwilling and unable to control the excesses of the few who opposed the majority opinion. The result was a period of corruption, rules violations, unnecessary injuries and overspending. These events led to the formation of larger conferences, richer bowl games and rules intended to preserve the “money-making” value of college football and basketball.
This book explores gambling, academic fraud, illegal booster activity and the single-minded pursuit of television contracts in college sports, as well as the NCAA’s involvement—or lack thereof—in such cases.
The Birmingham Black Barons were a nationally known team in baseball’s Negro leagues from 1920 through 1962. Among its storied players were Hall of Famers Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, and Mule Suttles. The Black Barons played in the final Negro Leagues World Series in 1948 and were a major drawing card when barnstorming throughout the United States and parts of Canada. This book chronicles the team’s history and presents the only comprehensive roster of the hundreds of men who wore the Black Barons uniform.
Inside Madison Square Garden, the City Ring was the altar of pugilism from 1925 until 2007. Hosting countless championship fights, historic main events and memorable undercards, it was center stage of boxing history.
The ring now rests at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York—its 132 assembled pieces memorializing a key facet of 20th century American life. While many books have been written about great fistic contests that took place at Madison Square Garden, this is the first to focus on its Holy Grail.
As the Great Depression hit, Penn State College was cash-strapped and dilapidated. Cuts to athletic scholarships left the football program a shambles and the school a last resort for many students. In 1937, underfunded state police, fighting a losing battle against striking miners and steel workers in Johnstown, called in the National Guard.
There were not enough police to cover the state, and it showed. Then someone started killing young women in the area. Between November 1938 and May 1940, Rachel Taylor, Margaret Martin and Faye Gates were abducted and sexually assaulted, their bodies dumped within 50 miles of the college.
As the school grew into Pennsylvania State University and the Nittany Lions became a world-class team, two demoralized police agencies were merged, forming the precursor of the Pennsylvania State Police. Gates’s murderer was captured and convicted. The killer(s) of Taylor and Martin, however, have gone unidentified to this day.
In 1887, Tip O’Neill, left fielder for the St. Louis Browns, won the American Association batting championship with a .492 average—the highest ever for a single season in the Major Leagues.
Yet his record was set during a season when a base on balls counted as a hit and a time at bat. Over the next 130 years, the debate about O’Neill’s “correct” average diverted attention from the other batting feats of his record-breaking season, including numerous multi-hit games, streaks and long hits, as well as two cycles and the triple crown.
The Browns entered 1887 as the champions of St. Louis, the American Association and the world. Following the lead set by their manager, Charles Comiskey, the Browns did “anything to win,” combining skill with an aggressive style of play that included noisy coaching, incessant kicking, trickery and rough play. O’Neill did “everything to win” at the plate, leaving the no-holds-barred tactics to his rowdier teammates.
Charter members of the American League and the country’s last “neighborhood” pro baseball franchise, the White Sox are one of the few teams of the power hitting–focused modern era to win a pennant with speed, pitching and defense. Covering the 1959 White Sox from a range of perspectives, the author examines the club’s historical importance to Chicago and the significance of the ’59 “South Side Series”—the first in 40 years. Many behind-the-scenes details are discussed, from the refined media markets of Golden Age baseball to the team’s ancillary sources of revenue to the bitter legal feud between Charles Comiskey and Bill Veeck.
Interest in Sabermetrics has increased dramatically in recent years as the need to better compare baseball players has intensified among managers, agents and fans, and even other players. The authors explain how traditional measures—such as Earned Run Average, Slugging Percentage, and Fielding Percentage—along with new statistics—Wins Above Average, Fielding Independent Pitching, Wins Above Replacement, the Equivalence Coefficient and others—define the value of players. Actual player statistics are used in developing models, while examples and exercises are provided in each chapter. This book serves as a guide for both beginners and those who wish to be successful in fantasy leagues.
The Cincinnati Reds are recognized as one of the great teams in baseball history. Left fielder George Foster—an integral part of the Reds’ back-to-back World Championships in 1975–1976—has never received proper credit for his contribution to their legacy.
In 1977, Foster became the most feared slugger in the National League, batting .320, with 52 home runs and 149 runs batted in to win the NL MVP Award, establishing a new single-season home run record for the Reds’ franchise that still stands. Yet Foster’s big year was not enough to stem the emergence of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who roared out of the gate and ran away with the NL West Division pennant.
This book tells the story of Foster’s record-setting season and puts his pre-steroid era achievements in proper perspective. The author chronicles the subsequent decline of the Big Red Machine and the rest of Foster’s big league career, including his disappointing tenure with the New York Mets.
We expect sports to be fair and equal—everyone who tries out has a chance to play and everyone who plays hard has a chance to win. But is that really true? In reality, female athletes are paid far less than their male counterparts. Youth sports often cost too much for many families to participate in. African American athletes continue to face discrimination both on and off the field. Adaptive sports are considered to be only for those with disabilities.
But there are signs of progress as sports organizations try to promote equality and fairness. This study explores the intricacies of inclusion and exclusion in sports.
We’re turning 40, and we’re celebrating with a special fortieth anniversary sale! Through June 30, get a 25% discount on ALL books when you use the code ANN2019. And if you’ll be in our area (Ashe County, North Carolina, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains), we’d love to see you at our open house event on Friday, June 14. Thank you for supporting our first 40 years—we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you.
On June 14, 2019, McFarland will celebrate its fortieth anniversary with an open house party. From noon to five, our campus at 960 Hwy 88 W, Jefferson, NC will be open to the public with finger food, conversation and tours available, and many of our authors will be in attendance. To stay up-t0-date with event information, follow our event page. Below is a brief company history, with personal thoughts, by founder and editor-in-chief Robert Franklin.
McFarland Publishers Now Forty Years Old
by Robert Franklin
McFarland’s history (founder, Robbie Franklin, me): My close friends Biff and Alicia Stickel were burned out special ed teachers in Connecticut, early 70’s. What to do? Back to the land! They (and their little daughter Maranatha Shone Stickel) drove south till they loved the vibe and the scenery and wound up living on Peak Road from 1972 through part of 1978 (and birthing Micah Stickel). Alicia played piano at the local Baptist church and they were cofounders of the Creston Co-op. I visited them in ’72 (instantly fell for the land and people, the forefinger car salute, the almost drinkable river) and again every year after, and when wife Cheryl Roberts came into my life in 1975, we visited. Soon I was bragging about Ashe County to everybody – “If your car breaks down, the very next person to come along will stop and ask if you need help.” I hope a few readers can recognize the Stickels’ name (he goes by Richard now; they live in Toronto). They are the reason McFarland was begun in Ashe County. We present band of publishers, about fifty in number, owe them great honor.
I did not learn till after we moved here in 1979 that my Revolutionary War ancestor Lieutenant Robert McFarland, after whupping the king at Kings Mountain, lived up here in the 1790s. He then went overmountain to become the first ever sheriff of Greene/Washington County, Tennessee. (I was born in Memphis.)
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers is our official name. Founded in April 1979 right here. I had been the executive editor of a smallish scholarly publisher in New Jersey; my mentor/boss/friend Eric Moon (a charismatic Brit) knew before I did it was time for me to go off on “my own” (very misleading words!). The local Ashe County newspaper was failing by 1978 and at first I thought, o.k., I’m an editor type, maybe I can start up a new one. Between summer and Christmas the local fellow David Desautels decided the same thing and very successfully started The Jefferson Times. We became friends and McFarland’s earliest two or three books (including a biography of Soviet leader Brezhnev) were typeset using off-hours time on that new newspaper’s equipment. Katy Zell Taylor was our first fulltime employee (Ashe Central H.S. yearbook editor!) and did a lot of typesetting and correcting. Dental Care in Society was our first published book, in 1980 (ask me some day).
After deciding up in New Jersey to stay with book (versus newspaper) publishing, I phoned the Jefferson Post Office in February 1979 to set up a box number mailing address – they said people had to apply in person. Whew! So I flew from Newark to Tri-Cities, Tennessee (what did I know?), rented a car, drove to Jefferson (hours!), filled out a form, got back in the car, drove back to Tri-Cities, and got back home not long before day was done.
A couple of months later, on April 1, 1979, Cheryl and I packed our former life stuff (including hundreds of books—heavy!) in a small U-Haul, attached it to our VW bug, and began to drive south, the Stickels’ Ashe County on our minds.
My ninth-grade homeroom friend (Toledo, Ohio), Mike Strand, had helped with some financial and emotional support and we stopped at his place in Maryland overnight. Armed with an Ashe return address, I had written several hundred letters (yes!) on a yellow pad on my knees in the front seat while Cheryl drove, and Mike arranged for a nearby university used-to-weird-hours thesis typist to type them all overnight; we mailed them April 2 and drove on. We were headed to my parents’ (retired librarians) house in Charlottesville, with me again writing several hundred short letters on my lap. We had arranged for a similar heroic overnight typing fest (the two days: 905 letters to all the authors I had addresses for, saying my former employer will take good care of you, they’re wonderful publishers—But if by any chance they turn you down for something, give us a shot!).
The U-Haul was too much for the Bug and our left rear wheel came OFF 20 miles north of Charlottesville—but stayed in the wheel well (having nowhere else to go), behaving violently. Definitely exciting (it was my stint at the wheel). We lost two or three days; I split logs for my parents’ fireplace.
In Ashe County finally, we scooped up some reply mail from authors. Already! And we soon secured a sweet farmhouse in Dillard Holler (landlord Jesse Dillard; Mom-figure Clyde Dillard; horse-plus-himself quarter-acre-garden plower Jones Dillard). The Dillard families taught us a great deal about what being “conservative” actually means. (One day Jesse turned up with several hundred fence rails he stored near “our” (his) house; no immediate need, but “I got ’em for 25¢ each.” They stayed stacked for years…) The birth of our sons Charles (in ’81), Nicholas (’85) and William (’89) certainly emphasized the Dillards’ lessons. (Jesse routinely tossed hay bales up into pickup trucks in his 80’s. Lemme be him!)
McFarland itself started out next to the H & R Block office, near the florist, in Jefferson, a small space but enough for our first couple of years. The Jefferson Post Office turned out, under our loyal friend Charles Caudill, to be one of our greatest early assets. He was so supportive as McF struggled through ignorance of mass mailings, foreign registered packages (we learned together!), “library rate” book mailings, etc. McFarland moved in 1981 or ’82 to the Mountain View shopping center between the towns and quickly expanded there. In 1982 we lucked out by having Rhonda Herman agree to join the tiny staff, doing all the “business” stuff while I coddled authors, edited manuscripts and coached the typesetters. High school senior Cynthia Campbell became a stalwart and sixteen year old Cherie Scott was a wow of a typesetter, along with Katy Taylor, on our new typesetting equipment. Within three years we were producing 40 or so new books a year (in 2018 the total was nearly 400).
Meanwhile, the people of Ashe County all around us showed interest, great surprise (“A Publisher in Ashe County?” read one huge Jefferson Times headline), and affection. Highly significant was Hal Colvard, repeatedly trusting us, at Northwestern bank, another wonderful early friend of McFar. We warmly greeted each other on Saturday mornings at the post office for many years after he retired.
By 1984 we’d moved to our present location, which became five buildings on both sides of the road. We’re technically inside Jefferson town limits. We took Mackey McDonald’s trim brick ranch house, whacked walls left and right, pushed out here, there… Years later we added a second floor – my joke is, the main building now has more roof lines than an Italian hill village.
We are, or were, a library-oriented scholarly and reference book publisher. (We’ve grown much more into a straight-to-people operation today but libraries are still a critical component of our efforts.) Two of our earliest works were Library Display Ideas by my sister Linda Franklin and Free Magazines for Libraries, by Adeline Mercer Smith: they were terrific sales successes. Another 1982 biggie was Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete by William M. Taylor, M.D. We hit that topic just as it exploded nationwide. One of the most memorable early works was Keep Watching the Skies! by Bill Warren (1982). This huge book expertly, humorously covers in amazing depth every American science fiction movie of the 1950s and a lot of Hollywood Big Names spoke highly of it in print. We were famous! (Well, the author was…)
McFarland was an early strong supporter of the local arts scene. (There are hundreds of paintings hanging in four of our buildings.) Cheryl Roberts and I founded the publication ARTS/DATES for the Arts Council in 1980 or 1981, and for more than a decade paid all its expenses as it grew grander and ever more useful. Loyal Jane Lonon (Arts Council head) wangled twice for us an N.C. Governor’s Business Award for the Arts and Humanities (go to Raleigh; shake hands; pose for photos; eat dinner).
I joined the strong, active Ashe County Little Theatre and played Dracula for them in 1981, sporting fangs crafted by the late Brett Summey, who became a good friend, now truly missed. Jane Lonon and I wowed the crowd in The King and I and Tom Fowler and I rolled them in the aisles in Greater Tuna. When I played Macbeth, the high school English teacher promised extra credit to student attendees.
McFarland’s output grew rapidly—by the 1990s we were producing hundreds of new titles each year and our staff had doubled, then tripled in size. Margie Turnmire had arrived in the mid–’80s, a beautiful soul and a very smart lady: director of finance and administration. In 1995 the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce honored us with a Business of the Year award (I believe we were the third such) and in 1998 The Wall Street Journal ran a feature article on us, showing that we are a bit unusual in our range of offerings. We have a commanding position in, for example, Vietnam combat memoirs, chess history, baseball (teams, eras, bios), automotive history and popular culture (film, TV, comics, literature…). We’ve done many reference books (though with Wiki-Google etc. now such works are uneconomical to produce); a Library Journal book of the year was local John Stewart’s African States and Rulers in 1989. Lots of Civil War, World War II, American/European/World history, literary criticism. Authors from all over the world. That part’s fun! As I write this we have published 7,800 titles.
We had busted out of our onsite warehouse and used the old Ashe County Jail on Buffalo Road for several years in the 80s! Ultimately we had to move our shipping operation into the building next to the Arts Council owned by Jim Reeves. On its outer wall facing the Arts Center we had Jack Young do the town’s first mural (now painted over): “Ashe County through the Ages.” Finally, Mike Herman built us an entirely new warehouse across the road from our main building in about 1990. Fourteen years later, then-vice-president Rhonda Herman (now president) moved the company onto firmer financial footing by arranging to install state-of-the-art printing equipment in that warehouse (we’d always used out-of-house printing firms).
Cheryl and I love Ashe County. We love the people. We love the trees, the river. (We came in first in the Mixed Expert class canoe race four or five years ago!) I even like the curves driving 23 miles to and fro our home to work (we live practically on the Tennessee line, up in the Flatwoods). The finger salute still works and the tire zing helps me think through business challenges. Our three boys, Charles, Nicky and William, also revere their place of birth. McFarland has about 50 employees, all of whom are exceptionally talented. When I got here to start the company, I truly had my pick of some of the best talent available anywhere, and I mean Anywhere. Our typesetters know every Hungarian or Swedish accent mark there is!
The local merchants have become business partners. Local artists have paintings hanging in our offices. The restaurants are great for business lunches. The weather—sublime (I learned to fell trees and the art of minimizing the lifting and stacking of logs our first year here); I like winter! Mike Herman built our house and the numerous renovations of our current space—impossible to imagine a better job. Stan Barker did some fabulous stone walls at our home. I feel both cozy and exhilarated just getting up in the morning! Ashe County, we’re for you!
McFarland is having an open house (snacks, drinks, tours) starting at noon on Friday, June 14th. We want to show our thanks to a community that has nurtured us for 40 years. Come one, come all!
The world heavyweight championship once transcended boxing and conferred global renown. This book gives detailed coverage to five legendary championship bouts that captivated audiences worldwide.
Coaxed out of retirement by the press, former champ James Jeffries challenged black titleholder Jack Johnson—universally despised by white audiences—in 1910, in hopes of returning the title to the white race. In 1921, dapper World War I hero and light-heavyweight champion Georges Carpentier hoped to upset heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey, widely considered a draft-dodger, in a fight that garnered the first “million dollar gate.” In perhaps the most politically charged bout ever, “Brown Bomber” Joe Louis, popular with both the white and black America, faced Nazi Germany’s Max Schmeling—the first ever to win the title by disqualification—at a sold-out Yankee stadium in 1936. A relentless brawler, undefeated Rocky Marciano in 1952 sought to bludgeon the title away from the stronger and savvier Joe Walcott, at 38 the oldest heavyweight champ in history. In a monumental clash of two undefeated world champions, Muhammad Ali—on the comeback trail after his title was stripped from him for refusing to be drafted during the Vietnam War—squared off with titleholder Joe Frazier in 1971.
How did Reggie Jackson go from superstar to icon? Why did Joe DiMaggio’s nickname change from “Deadpan Joe” to “Joltin’ Joe”? How did Seinfeld affect public perception of George Steinbrenner?
The New York Yankees’ dominance on the baseball diamond has been lauded, analyzed and chronicled. Yet the team’s broader impact on popular culture has been largely overlooked—until now. From Ruth’s called shot to the Reggie! candy bar, this collection of new essays offers untold histories, new interpretations and fresh analyses of baseball’s most successful franchise. Contributors explore the Yankee mystique in film, television, theater, music and advertising.
Ernie Banks is perhaps the most popular ballplayer in the history of the Chicago Cubs—a man as famous for his personality and trademark phrases as for his accomplishments on the field. Nicknamed “Mr. Cub,” Banks won two National League Most Valuable Player awards and slugged 512 home runs, all while battling discrimination and poverty. His conduct away from the field was so exemplary he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Based on extensive research and personal interviews conducted by the author, this biography details the life of the Texas-born shortstop and first baseman, from his childhood playing softball to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame to his death in 2015.
Marie Marvingt (1875–1973) set the world’s first women’s aviation records, won the only gold medal for outstanding performance in all sports, invented the airplane ambulance, was the first female bomber pilot in history, fought in World War I disguised as a man, took part in the Resistance of World War II, was the first to survive crossing the English Channel in a balloon, worked all her life as a journalist, spent years in North Africa and invented metal skis. Her life story was so unusually rich in exploits and accomplishments that some dismissed it as a hoax.
This biography explores the life of “the most incredible woman since Joan of Arc” and investigates the reasons she has been forgotten. Known as the “fiancée of danger,” she was the model for the silent film series The Perils of Pauline.
This is one of the most important baseball books to be published in a long time, taking a comprehensive look at black participation in the national pastime from 1858 through 1900. It provides team rosters and team histories, player biographies, a list of umpires and games they officiated and information on team managers and team secretaries. Well known organizations like the Washington’s Mutuals, Philadelphia Pythians, Chicago Uniques, St. Louis Black Stockings, Cuban Giants and Chicago Unions are documented, as well as lesser known teams like the Wilmington Mutuals, Newton Black Stockings, San Francisco Enterprise, Dallas Black Stockings, Galveston Flyaways, Louisville Brotherhoods and Helena Pastimes.
Player biographies trace their connections between teams across the country. Essays frame the biographies, discussing the social and cultural events that shaped black baseball. Waiters and barbers formed the earliest organized clubs and developed local, regional and national circuits. Some players belonged to both white and colored clubs, and some umpires officiated colored, white and interracial matches. High schools nurtured young players and transformed them into powerhouse teams, like Cincinnati’s Vigilant Base Ball Club. A special essay covers visual representations of black baseball and the artists who created them, including colored artists of color who were also baseballists.
In the 1800s, New Orleans’ local economy evolved from rural-agrarian into urban-industrial. With this transformation came newfound leisure time, which birthed the concept of organized sport. Though first considered a game for children, baseball became New Orleans’ most popular pastime, and by 1859, numerous baseball clubs had been established in the city. This book traces the development of baseball in New Orleans from its earliest recorded games in 1859 through the end of the 19th century, with a particular focus on the New Orleans Pelicans.
Widely acknowledged as the preeminent gathering of baseball scholars, the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture has made significant contributions to baseball research. This collection of 15 new essays selected from the 2017 and the 2018 symposia examines topics whose importance extend beyond the ballpark. Presented in six parts, the essays explore baseball’s cultural and social history and analyze the tools that encourage a more sophisticated understanding of baseball as a game and enterprise.
From 1915 through the early 1920s, American auto racing experienced rapid and exciting change. Competition by European vehicles forced American car manufacturers to incorporate new features, resulting in legendary engineering triumphs (and, essentially, works of art). Some of the greatest drivers in racing history were active during this time—Ralph DePalma, Dario Resta, Eddie Rickenbacker, the Chevrolet brothers, Jimmy Murphy.
Presenting dozens of races in detail and a wealth of engineering specs, this history recalls the era’s cigar-shaped speedway specials and monumental board tracks, the heavy-footed drivers, fearless mechanics, gifted engineers and enthusiastic backers.
Founded in 1869, the Chicago Cubs are a charter member of the National League and the last remaining of the eight original league clubs still playing in the city in which the franchise started. Drawing on newspaper articles, books and archival records, the author chronicles the team’s early years. He describes the club’s planning stages of 1868; covers the decades when the ballplayers were variously called White Stockings, Colts, and Orphans; and relates how a sportswriter first referred to the young players as Cubs in the March 27, 1902, issue of the Chicago Daily News.
Reprinted selections from firsthand accounts provide a colorful narrative of baseball in 19th-century America, as well as a documentary history of the Chicago team and its members before they were the Cubs.
In an era of unique baseball stadiums, the Polo Grounds in New York stood out from the rest. With its horseshoe shape, the Polo Grounds had extremely short distances down the foul lines and equally long distances up the alley and to center field. Some of baseball’s most historic moments—Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard Round the World, Willie Mays’ Catch, Fred Merkle’s infamous blunder—happened at the Polo Grounds.
This book offers descriptive text and photographs that give a sense of the glory of this classic ballpark. Additionally, it contains historical articles and memories submitted by more than 70 former players who played at the Polo Grounds.