Barney Dreyfuss

Pittsburgh’s Baseball Titan


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About the Book

A young German immigrant, Barney Dreyfuss was an American success story in business and in baseball. He fell in love with the game after settling in Paducah, Kentucky, where he discovered he had a knack for assembling good players on the diamond. Relocating to Louisville, he became involved in the professional game with the Colonels. Faced with ouster from the National League, he took his players to Pittsburgh, where he became owner of the Pirates and forged a winning tradition, leading the club to six pennants and two World Series. This first biography of Dreyfuss chronicles the innovative career of the Hall of Famer executive who built Forbes Field—the National League’s first concrete-and-steel ballpark, into which he put $1 million of his own money—pushed for creation of the office of commissioner to govern the game and helped initiate the modern World Series.

About the Author(s)

Award-winning journalist Brian Martin lives in London, Ontario. He is a member of the selection committee of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and the Society for American Baseball Research.

Bibliographic Details

Brian Martin
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 241
Bibliographic Info: 36 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7961-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4418-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Preface 1
1. An Unshakeable Belief in Baseball 3
2. The Little Clerk, Big Dreams 15
3. A Fine Diversion 24
4. Louisville 33
5. Buying In 44
6. “I am tired of losing so much money….” 53
7. 1899: One Door Closes… 65
8. …Another Door Opens: The Colonels and a Captain 76
9. Success at Last 86
10. 1903: Making History 96
11. Riding High in the First Division: 1904 to 1908 106
12. Politics, Dirty Business and Tragedy 120
13. Champions 133
14. Departures and Decline 144
15. Retooling 154
16. Back on Top 165
17. Last Hurrah 176
18. After the Little Colonel 187
Epilogue 199
Chapter Notes 205
Bibliography 221
Index 225

Book Reviews & Awards

• Finalist, Larry Ritter Book Award—SABR

• “In recent years there has been a welcome interest in the history of the business of baseball and those who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of the game…. These studies have tended to focus on the post-World War II period and generally neglect earlier eras. Brian Martin has made a major contribution to narrowing this gap with the first full length biography of Barney Dreyfuss, the Pittsburgh owner who helped transform the Pirates…. The reviewer recommends it highly.”—SABR Deadball Era Committee Newsletter

• “A much-needed biography of the Hall of Fame pioneer, Pittsburgh Pirates owner and National League official and baseball magnate.”—The Inside Game

• “What an absolute pleasure. It was delightful the way Brian Martin presented the life of Barney Dreyfuss, his Pittsburgh Pirates at the beginning of the 20th century, and his early organized baseball exploits so exactly and meticulously.”—Len Martin, creator, Forbes Field: Build-It-Yourself

• “A needed contribution to baseball history….[T]he author makes a strong case for Dreyfuss as a powerful owner and a worthy Hall of Famer.”—Gabriel Schechter, author, Spanking the Yankees: 365 Days of Bronx Bummers