Baseball and the House of David

The Legendary Barnstorming Teams, 1915–1956


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About the Book

House of David barnstorming baseball (1915-1957) was played without pre-determined schedules, leagues, player statistics or standings. The Davids quickly gained popularity for their hirsute appearance and flashy, fast-paced style of play. During their 200 seasons, they travelled as many as 30,000 miles, criss-crossing the United States, Canada and Mexico. The Benton Harbor teams invented the pepper game and were winners year after year, becoming legends in barnstorming baseball. Initially a loose affiliation of players, the Davids expanded to three teams–Western, Central and Eastern–as their reputation grew, and hired outsiders to fill the rosters. Prominent among them were pitchers Grover Cleveland Alexander and Charlie “Chief” Bender, both player managers in the early 1930s. They resisted the color barrier, eagerly facing Negro League teams everywhere. In 1934, before their largest crowd to date, they defeated the first Negro team invited to the famed Denver Post Tournament, the great Kansas City Monarchs, for the championship.

About the Author(s)

P.J. Dragseth is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), a former secondary school teacher, and writer for a small local newspaper. She lives in Rogue River, Oregon.

Bibliographic Details

P.J. Dragseth

Foreword by Brian Ziebart

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 230
Bibliographic Info: 104 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7011-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3922-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Brian Ziebart 1
Preface 2
Introduction 6
1. Commune History 13
2. Play Ball! The Legend Begins 39
3. The Twenties: The Bearded Beauties Roared on the Diamond 57
4. The Thirties: Baseball During the Depression 89
5. The Forties and Fifties: Two Abbreviated Decades End an Era 117
6. Memorable Players 133
Epilogue 162
Appendix 165
Chapter Notes 185
Bibliography 207
Index 215

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The first thorough recounting, season-by-season and game-by-game, of the fascinating House of David baseball teams. Based primarily on meticulous research in contemporary press accounts, the book also includes player profiles and an appendix with House of David rosters. It is entertaining reading for baseball fans and a gold mine for future researchers.”—William A. Young, J.L. Wilkinson and the Kansas City Monarchs