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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
In 1903, a small league in California defied Organized Baseball by adding teams in Portland and Seattle to become the strongest minor league of the twentieth century. Calling itself the Pacific Coast League, this outlaw association frequently outdrew its major league counterparts and continued to challenge the authority of Organized Baseball until the majors expanded into California in 1958.
The Pacific Coast League introduced the world to Joe, Vince and Dom DiMaggio, Paul and Lloyd Waner, Ted Williams, Tony Lazzeri, Lefty O’Doul, Mickey Cochrane, Bobby Doerr, and many other baseball stars, all of whom originally signed with PCL teams. This thorough history of the Pacific Coast League chronicles its foremost personalities, governance, and contentious relationship with the majors, proving that the history of the game involves far more than the happenings in the American and National leagues.
Henry Neil “Soapy” Castles grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and became involved in its pioneering auto racing scene at an early age. Graduating from soapbox derby cars to midgets and sprints and finally to stock cars, he sometimes crashed, sometimes won, saw friends die horribly, and became a champion.
Eventually he left the racetrack for Hollywood where he became a stuntman working alongside such stars as Rory Calhoun, Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, Richard Pryor and Andy Griffith. In the 1990s, groundwater contamination at Castle’s truck repair business from an Exxon oil storage facility cost him an eye and most of his lungs. His decade-long class action lawsuit won him millions in compensation. Now in his mid-eighties, Castles is still going strong, procuring vehicles for movie and television projects.
McFarland’s biographies and memoirs cover the fascinating life stories of both iconic personalities and quiet heroes. On sale now, browse hundreds of titles from history, sports, movies, music, science & technology, literature, military history, transportation and more. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code BIOGRAPHY, print editions of all biographies, autobiographies and memoirs are 20% off now through February 15.
While many of his peers began their careers as farmers and factory workers, Leo Florian Houck became a boxing sensation at age 14, enabling him to support his mother and six siblings after his father’s death. Houck’s career really took off in 1911 with a 20–round victory over world-class welterweight Harry Lewis in Paris. During 1913 Leo became the leading middleweight contender in America.
This biography details Houck’s early years in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, his long career in the ring—including 200 fights—and his 27 years as Penn State’s legendary boxing coach.
The success of the PGA TOUR lies in the compelling narratives of the golfers’ individual quests for achievement—making the tournament cut, qualifying for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and the ultimate challenge of making it onto the TOUR, where victory is often determined by a single stroke. Based on interviews with more than twenty alumni, this book provides new insight into the TOUR system, the events affecting tournament outcomes, and the career-changing opportunities that result.
Gene Kiniski (1928–2010) was internationally known to a generation of wrestling fans and to Canadians everywhere as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete.” Older fans and wrestling historians remember him best for his accomplishments in the ring, his run-’em-over approach to the game, his growly demeanor, and his razor wit he could unleash at will. Drawing on recollections from fellow wrestlers, promoters, and friends, this first biography of Kiniski gives a full account of the life of a champion pro wrestler who won over fans throughout the U.S., Canada, and Japan in a career spanning more than three decades.
Roberto “Bobby” Maduro (1916–1986) was a visionary baseball team owner and executive. His dedication to promoting the game internationally from the 1950s through the 1970s remains unrivaled. He headed Havana-based clubs in the Cuban Winter League and teams in the U.S. minor leagues, which helped brand Caribbean baseball in the eyes of North American fans. He co-built the first million-dollar ballpark in Latin America. His Havana stadium was confiscated by Castro’s revolution, along with all his accumulated wealth.
Maduro began a new life in exile in the U.S., first as a minor league owner, then as a front office executive. He founded the short-lived Inter-American League in 1979, composed of five Caribbean-basin teams and one U.S. entry from his adopted hometown of Miami. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn said of his many achievements, “No one was more dedicated, more knowledgeable or more concerned about the game than Bobby Maduro.”
The Infield Fly Rule is the most misunderstood rule in baseball and perhaps in all of sports. That also makes it the most infamous. Drawing on interviews with experts, legal arguments and a study of every infield fly play in eight Major League seasons, this book tells the complete story of the rule. The author covers the rule’s history from the 19th century to the modern game, its underlying logic and supporting arguments, recent criticisms and calls for repeal, the controversies and confusion it creates, and its effect on how the game is played.
College football teams today play for tens of thousands of fans in palatial stadiums that rival those of pro teams. But most started out in humbler venues, from baseball parks to fairgrounds to cow pastures. This comprehensive guide traces the long and diverse history of playing grounds for more than 1000 varsity football schools, including bowl-eligible teams, as well as those in other divisions (FCS, D2, D3, NAIA).
The holidays are a special time at McFarland—in addition to publishing scholarship, many of us also participate in the tree harvest, as Ashe County produces more Christmas trees than any other county in the United States. If you live in the Southeast, you may have a little bit of McFarland in your living room right now! This season, please consider putting some McFarlandunder the tree for the readers in your life. To make your holiday shopping easier, we’re offering 25% off of ALL books through the end of the year! On our website, use coupon code HOLIDAY18, or call us at 800-253-2187. For inspiration, browse our new catalog of of gift ideas for readers. Happy holidays from your friends at McFarland!
Much has been written about the legendary players and managers of baseball’s Deadball Era (1901–1919). Far less attention has been given to the club owners, like Charles Ebbets. In 1898, after a 15 year apprenticeship, he became president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, taking over a chronic second division team in poor financial condition. Over the next 25 years, he organized four pennant-winning clubs and developed one of the most profitable franchises in the game—while building two state-of-the-art ballparks in Brooklyn.
Ebbets was also an effective steward of the national pastime, working tirelessly on innovations that would help all teams, not just his own. Despite his success, his personal weaknesses ultimately undermined much of what he had so painstakingly built.
This first full length biography provides an in-depth view of his life and career, filling a critical gap in the history of the Deadball Era and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
A lot happened in baseball in 1980. After being stabbed with a penknife in Mexico during spring training, the Indians’ “Super Joe” Charboneau captured Cleveland’s heart—and Rookie of the Year. Nolan Ryan became baseball’s first Million Dollar Man, Reggie Jackson twice found himself looking down the wrong end of a gun, and George Brett posted the highest single-season batting average since 1941. The Phillies and Expos battled up to the season’s final weekend while the Dodgers tilted against the Astros in a one-game playoff for the division title. In the American League, Brett led Kansas City past the mighty Yankees and into the Series, where slugger Mike Schmidt and the Phillies awaited. This book covers it all.
Written for coaches, this book—in its expanded third edition—presents more than 200 baseball and softball games and activities for preschoolers through college age, focusing on teaching, improvement of skills and enjoyment. Games emphasizing base running, bunting, catching, fielding, hitting, throwing and pitching are covered. Each section reviews fundamentals, introduces creative skills and drills for group practice, and details the age group, objective, equipment and rules for each activity.
For decades prior to the rise of Babe Ruth, the most recognized name in baseball was John McGraw. An outstanding player in the 1890s, McGraw—nicknamed “Mugsy”—was molded in the rough and tumble pre–20th century game where sportsmanship and fair play took a back seat to competition. Later, he became the successful manager of the New York Giants, dominating the National League in New York City for more than 30 years.
McGraw led the Giants with authoritarian swagger—earning another moniker, “Little Napoleon”—from 1902 through 1932, before illness forced his retirement. In his 31 seasons in New York, his teams won three world championships and 10 pennants and rarely finished out of the first division. He was a trailblazer in the use of bullpen and position player substitutions, and pushed hit-and-run strategies over the then prevalent dictums of sacrifice bunting. An unconventional leader, McGraw missed considerable bench time during his reign on account of injury, illness and fiery temperament.
Richly illustrated with nearly 1,000 examples of both autographs and forgeries, this new and expanded edition includes signature studies of all Hall of Famers from the 19th century to the present. Collectors can compare signatures to the examples to determine the genuineness of autographs.
Shoeless Joe and the rest of the Black Sox are explored in depth, along with Roger Maris, Gil Hodges and the top 50 non–Hall of Fame autographs.
A new price guide examines values of various signed mediums. A market population grid lists rare and seldom seen signatures.
Professional motorsports came to Las Vegas in the mid–1950s at a bankrupt horse track swarmed by gamblers—and soon became enmeshed with the government and organized crime. By 1965, the Vegas racing game moved from makeshift facilities to Stardust International Raceway, constructed with real grandstands, sanitary facilities and air-conditioned timing towers. Stardust would host the biggest racing names of the era—Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones, John Surtees, Mark Donohue, Bobby Unser, Dan Gurney and Don Garlits among them.
Established by a notorious racketeer, the track stood at the confluence of shadowy elements—wiretaps, casino skimming, Howard Hughes, and the beginnings of Watergate. The author traces the Stardust’s colorful history through the auto racing monthlies, national newspapers, extensive interviews and the files of the FBI.
Established in 1883, the Olympic Club catered to a variety of pursuits from target shooting to billiards to boxing—the most popular sport in New Orleans, despite legal prohibitions.
A revised city ordinance and a vague state statute permitting boxing sponsored by chartered athletic clubs were frequently tested at the Olympic, the epicenter of boxing in America. Between 1890 and 1894, the club’s 10,000–seat arena hosted six world championship and seven national or regional title bouts. The 1892 Fistic Carnival featured three world title fights on three consecutive days, culminating in the World Heavyweight Championship between John L. Sullivan and James J. Corbett.
Four new titles are reviewed in the September issue of Choice!
We Rise to Resist: Voices from a New Era in Women’s Political Action
“The volume serves not only as a springboard for classroom discussions but also as a unique documentary source for future generations. We Rise to Resist contextualizes third-wave feminism by highlighting the diversity of women’s experiences while offering a space for reflection and a call for political action…highly recommended.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers Encyclopedia
“Comprehensive…excellent…this is a well-conceived and concise compendium of all things related to this iconic baseball team and an invaluable reference for all libraries…highly recommended.”
The New York Yankees are baseball’s most storied team. They first played at Hilltop Park, then moved to the Polo Grounds, then Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, back to the renovated Yankee Stadium, and now in the new Yankee Stadium.
They also frequently opened the season in Boston’s historic Fenway Park, fondly remembered Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Griffith Stadium in Washington, and all around the expanded leagues after 1961.
This book details every opening-day celebration and game from 1903 to 2017, while noting how each was affected by war, the economy, political and social protest and population shifts. We see presidents and politicians, entertainers, celebrities, and fans, owners, managers, and most of all, the players.
Glen Sharp’s boxing career was a rise-and-fall story without so much rise in it. A sparring partner for light-heavyweight Hall of Famer Yaqui López, he “retired” with a record of one victory and two defeats. A decade later, having come to understand how and why he failed as a younger fighter, he attempted a comeback.
Told with heart and wit, his memoir is a treatise on boxing as both profession and purpose. Sharp uses economic theory to describe the sweet science as a case study in resource management while recounting his own struggle to win fistic glory and his father’s admiration.
Boxing might not have survived the 1930s if not for Max Baer. A contender for every heavyweight championship 1932–1941, California’s “Glamour Boy” brought back the “million-dollar gate” not seen since the 1920s. His radio voice sold millions of Gillette razor blades; his leading-man appeal made him a heartthrob in The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933). The film was banned in Nazi Germany—Baer had worn a Star of David on his trunks when he TKOed German former champ Max Schmeling.
Baer defeated 275-pound Primo Carnera in 1934 for the championship, losing it to Jim Braddock the next year. Contrary to Cinderella Man, (2005), Baer—favored 10 to 1—was not a villain and the fight was more controversial than the film suggested. His battle with Joe Louis three months later drew the highest gate of the decade.
This first comprehensive biography covers Baer’s complete ring record, his early life, his career on radio, film, stage and television, and his World War II army service.
In September 1972, Rodney Milburn of Opelousas, Louisiana, won the Olympic gold medal in the men’s 110-meter high hurdles. Raised amid segregation and poverty in the 1950s and 60s, Milburn honed his skills on a grass track over wooden hurdles. In a career that spanned more than a decade, he established himself as the greatest hurdler of his era and one of the greatest athletes in track history.
This biography chronicles Milburn’s rise from poverty to international athletic stardom. Loved ones, as well as track legends Renaldo Nehemiah, Dwight Stones, Tonie Campbell, Brian Oldfield and Bill Collins, relate Milburn’s remarkable achievements and humble nature.
Part sports journalism, part history, part memoir, this many-sided narrative follows one season with the Blue Devils of Moscow, Idaho—a rural American Legion baseball team. Showcasing baseball’s enduring place in American life, the author draws on the lore of the game, and conversations with diverse fans and players—an outdoorsman juggling his son’s schedule of games with bear hunting; a bewildered German college student, holding a baseball for the first time; former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher & Yale baseball coach John Stuper; the proud owner of a Derek Jeter jersey in Hokendauqua, Pennsylvania, to name a few.
Some of you may share a guilty failing of our editors. When they receive proposals and manuscripts, while reading about almost any car–learning how it took shape, its quirks and qualities, how it changed over the production run–desire starts to sprout. Previously ignored vehicles (and even disliked vehicles) show their hidden appeal. On more than one occasion, an editor has looked at ads and undertaken calculations (financial, emotional, marital) for said cars.
If you’re the same, peruse our transportation catalog with caution! In addition to a broad range of books about automobiles, you’ll find offerings about aircraft, locomotives, bicycles, ships, military vehicles and transportation-related topics. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code TRANSPORT25, print editions of all transportation books are 25% off July 16 through July 31. Happy motoring and happy reading!
During the 19th century, baseball was a game with few rules, many rowdy players and just one umpire. Dirty tricks were simply part of a winning strategy—spiking, body-blocking, cutting bases short or hiding an extra ball to be used when needed were all OK. Deliberately failing to catch a fly in order to have the game called due to darkness was also acceptable. And drinking before a game was perhaps expected. Providing brief bios of dozens of players, managers, umpires and owners, this book chronicles some of the flamboyant, unruly and occasionally criminal behavior of baseball’s early years.
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 10, brings together 14 articles on a wide range of topics, including the role of physicians in spreading early baseball; the game’s financial revolution of 1866, when teams began charging a 25-cent admission price; the prejudice that greeted Japan’s Waseda University team during its American tour in 1905; the Addie Joss benefit game and its place in baseball lore; the 1867 western tour of the National Base Ball Club; and entrenched ideas about class and early baseball, with a focus on the supposedly blue-collar Pennsylvania Base Ball Club.
“Orioles Magic” is a phrase fans still associate with the 1979–1983 seasons, Baltimore’s last championship era, when they played excellent, exciting ball with a penchant for late-inning heroics. This book analyzes the Orioles not just as a great team but as the team to be marked by the fabled “Oriole Way,” an organizational commitment to fundamentally sound baseball that guided them for nearly 30 years.
The Magic years are discussed in the context of Baltimore sports, fan culture and baseball history, recalling the thrills of a splendid squad that delighted fans and reminding us why Peter Gammons called the 1979–1983 Orioles one of the major league’s “last fun teams.”
Like the age-old feud between the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet, the enduring rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers makes for great drama. Macbeth’s career began with promise but ended in ruin—not unlike Pete Rose’s. Twelfth Night’s Viola’s disguise as a boy to enter into a man’s world is echoed in Babe Didrikson Zaharias’ challenge to the pro golf patriarchy when she competed in the Los Angeles Open.
Exploring parallels between Shakespeare’s plays and famous events in the world of sports, this book introduces seven of the best-known plays to the sports enthusiast and offers a fresh perspective to Shakespeare devotees.
The 1958 Baltimore Colts were one of the greatest teams ever in professional football. Owned by the controversial Carroll Rosenbloom and led by head coach Weeb Ewbank and six future Hall of Fame players—Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore, Jim Parker, Art Donovan and Gino Marchetti—they won the NFL title that season, defeating the New York Giants in the first sudden death championship game in NFL history. The Colts laid the foundation for the ultra-popular spectacle football would become with the American public.
They were a talented group of players. Many had been rejected or underappreciated at various points in their careers though they were loved and respected by the blue collar fans of Baltimore. This book tells the complete story of the ‘58 Colts and the city’s love affair with the team.
This collection of new interviews—conducted by the author—recounts some of the pivotal moments in the careers of professional baseball players and in American history.
Negro League players Leon Day, Buck O’Neil, Monte Irvin, Wilmer Fields and Joe Black speak about their experiences on the other side of the color line. Hank Aaron relates how the challenge of breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record was not only on the diamond. Bob Feller, Cecil Travis, Tommy Henrich and Jerry Coleman describe the effects of World War II on their careers. Bobby Thompson and Ralph Branca address the “Shot Heard Round the World” in the Giants vs. Dodgers playoff of 1951.
Digital role-playing games such as Rift, Diablo III, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning help players develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, digital literacy, and lifelong learning. The author examines both the benefits and the drawbacks of role-playing games and their application to real-world teaching techniques. Readers will learn how to incorporate games-based instruction into their own classes and workplace training, as well as approaches to redesigning curriculum and programs.
In 1967, in the midst of a nail-biting six-week pennant race, the Red Sox, Tigers, Twins and White Sox stood deadlocked atop the American League. Never before or since have four teams tied for the lead in baseball’s final month. The stakes were high—there were no playoffs, the pennant winner went directly to the World Series.
Here, for the first time, all four teams are treated as equals. The author describes their contrasting skill sets, leadership and temperament. The stress of such stiff and sustained competition was constant, and there were overt psychological and physical intimidations playing a major role throughout the season. The standings were volatile and so were emotions. The players and managers varied: some wilted or broke, others responded heroically.
The Page Fence Giants, an all-star black baseball club sponsored by a woven-wire fence company in Adrian, Michigan, graced the diamond in the 1890s. Formed through a partnership between black and white boosters, the team’s respectable four-year run was an early integration success—before integration was phased out decades ahead of Jackie Robinson’s 1947 debut, and the growing Jim Crow sentiment blocked the Page Fence Giant’s best talent from the major leagues. This book tells the the story of a long-ignored team at the close of the 19th century, whose Hall of Famer second baseman Sol White was but one of their best players.
This first biography of W. Glenn Killinger highlights his tenure as a nine-time varsity letterman at Penn State, where he emerged as one of the best football, basketball and baseball players in the U.S. Situating Killinger in his time and place, the author explores the ways in which home-front culture during World War I—focused on heroism, masculinity and sporting culture—created the demand for sports and sports icons and drove the ascent college athletics in the first quarter of the 20th century.
The conclusion of the Sandy Koufax Era was a roller coaster ride for the LA Dodgers. Overly dependent on the fragile left arm of their Hall of Fame left-hander, they played dismally in 1964—their worst season since World War II—after losing Koufax to an injury. The next year, his shutout performance on short rest won them the World Series. He single-handedly saved the Dodger’s 1966 regular season in the final game, only to fail ignominiously during the Series.
In the last two seasons of his career, Koufax averaged an impressive 27 complete games, 27 wins and 350 strikeouts. Sixteen days after winning his second consecutive Cy Young Award, he shocked Major League Baseball by announcing his retirement. Like a supernova that had lit up the sports for six years, he burned out and was gone by age 30.
Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games—including Deus Ex, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam—this book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) 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.
A huge amount was published about chess in the United Kingdom before the First World War. The growing popularity of chess in Victorian Britain was reflected in an increasingly competitive market of books and periodicals aimed at players from beginner to expert. The author combines new information about the early history of the game with advice for researchers into chess history and traces the further development of chess literature well into the 20th century.
Topics include today’s leading chess libraries and the use of digitized chess texts and research on the Web. Special attention is given to the columns that appeared in newspapers (national and provincial) and magazines from 1813 onwards. These articles, usually weekly, provide a wealth of information on early chess, much of which is not to be found elsewhere. The lengthy first appendix, an A to Z of almost 600 chess columns, constitutes a detailed research aid. Other appendices include corrections and supplements to standard works of reference on chess.
Built in 1911, Detroit’s Tiger Stadium provided unmatched access for generations of baseball fans. Based on a classic grandstand design, its development through the 20th century reflected the booming industrial city around it. Emphasizing utility over adornment and offering more fans affordable seats near the field, it was in every sense a working class ballpark that made the game the central focus.
Drawing on the perspectives of historians, architects, fans and players, the author describes how Tiger Stadium grew, adapted and thrived, and how it was demolished in 2008—a casualty of racism and corporate welfare. Chronological diagrams illustrate the evolution of the playing field.
We have all caught springfever here at McFarland, and we’re certain that’s the case with many of our readers, as well! We’re offering a surprise sale coinciding with Opening Day. When you order direct from our website with the coupon code OpeningDay40, print editions of all baseball
books are 40% off beginning Opening Day, March 29 through Easter Monday April 2.
Mixed martial arts or MMA is widely regarded as the fastest growing sport. Events fill stadiums around the world and draw vast television audiences, earning strong revenue through pay-per-view at a time when other sports have abandoned it. In 2016, the Ultimate Fighting Championship was bought by the massive talent agency WME-IMG for $4 billion. Despite this success, much of the public remains uneasy with the sport, which critics have denounced as “human cockfighting.”
Through an exploration of violence, class, gender, race and nationalism, the author finds that MMA is both an expression of the positive values of martial arts and a spectacle defined by narcissism, hate and patriarchy. The long-term success of MMA will depend on the ability of promoters and athletes to resist indulging in spectacle at the expense of sport.
William A. Young’s J.L. Wilkinson and the Kansas City Monarchs has been named a 2018 SABR Baseball Research Award winner. The judges praised the book for providing “new insights into the relationship between the Negro Leagues and Judge Landis and the leagues’ role in Jackie Robinson’s ascension,” as well as for its focus on “the central role played by Wilkinson in maintaining the institution of Negro League baseball.” Read the announcement here.
Part sport, part performance art, professional wrestling’s appeal crosses national, racial and gender boundaries—in large part by playing to national, racial and gender stereotypes that resonate with audiences. Scholars who study competitive sports tend to dismiss wrestling, with its scripted outcomes, as “fake,” yet fail to recognize a key similarity: both present athletic displays for maximized profit through live events, television viewership and merchandise sales.
This collection of new essays contributes to the literature on pro wrestling with a broad exploration of identity in the sport. Topics include cultural appropriation in the ring, gender non-comformity, national stereotypes, and wrestling as transmission of cultural values.
Atlanta insurance salesman George Burnett found himself at the center of a football scandal when he overheard a phone conversation between University of Georgia athletic director Wally Butts and University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Butts seemed to be giving Bryant play formations that would help Alabama defeat Georgia 35-0 in the 1962 season opener.
When the Saturday Evening Post published Burnett’s story months later, Butts and Bryant successfully sued the magazine for libel. The case went to the Supreme Court where it was upheld in a landmark 5–4 decision that expanded the legal definition of “public figures.”
Referencing more than 3,000 pages of letters, depositions and trial transcripts, the author reveals new information about this scandal and its resulting trial.
Recent advances in baseball statistical analysis have made it possible to assess the totality of contribution each player makes to team success or failure. Using the metric Wins Above Average (WAA)—the number of wins that the 2016 Red Sox, for example, added because they had Mookie Betts in right field, instead of an average player—the author undertakes a fascinating review of major league baseball from 1901 through 2017. The great teams are analyzed, underscoring why they were successful. The great players of each generation are identified using simple, reliable metrics—from Ty Cobb through Mike Trout, and pitchers from Christy Mathewson to Clayton Kershaw.
Surprises abound. The importance of pitching is found to be vastly exaggerated. Many Hall of Fame pitchers (and some hitters) achieved immortality almost entirely on the backs of their teammates, while a few over-qualified players still await induction. Focusing on today’s rosters, the WAA assessment shows that the game is threatened by an unprecedented shortage of great players.
In the early 1930s, the Motor City was sputtering from the Great Depression. Then came a talented Detroit Tigers team, steered by player-manager Mickey Cochrane, to inject new pride into the Detroit psyche. It was a cast of colorful characters, with such nicknames as Schoolboy, Goose, Hammerin’ Hank and Little Tommy. Over two seasons in 1934 and 1935, the team powered its way to the top of the baseball world, becoming a symbol of a resurgent metropolis and winning the first-ever Tigers championship. This exhaustively researched account provides an in-depth look into a remarkable period in baseball history.
As Lou Brock was chasing 3000 career hits late in the 1979 season—his last after 18 years in the majors—the St. Louis Cardinals were looking for a new identity. Brock’s departure represented the final link to the team’s glory years of the 1960s, and a parade of new players now came in from the minor leagues. With the Cardinals mired in last place by the following June, owner August A. Busch, Jr., hired Whitey Herzog as field manager, and shortly handed him the general manager’s position, too.
Herzog was given free rein to rebuild the club to embrace the new running game trend in the majors. With an aggressive style of play and an unconventional approach to personnel moves, he catapulted the Cardinals back into prominence and defined a new age of baseball in St. Louis.
The All-America Football Conference and the National Football League battled for supremacy from 1946 through 1949. In the end, the players from the AAFC, as well as three teams, were brought into the NFL, including many future members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Through extensive research, the Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA) has corrected the statistics and coaching records, selected All-Pro Teams for all four seasons and an All-Conference team, and provided brief biographies and scouting reports for the members of the All-Conference Team. Unlike All-Pro teams selected at the time, in which offense and defense were merged into a single position, the PFRA has selected individual offensive and defensive All-Pro teams.