Cap Anson

The Grand Old Man of Baseball

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About the Book

Cap Anson’s plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame sums up his career with admirable simplicity: “The greatest hitter and greatest National League player-manager of the 19th century.” Anson helped make baseball the national pastime. He hit over .300 in all but three of his major league seasons, and upon his retirement in 1897, he held the all-time records for games played, times at bat, hits, runs scored, doubles and runs batted in. For much of his career, he also served as manager of the National League’s Chicago White Stockings (now known as the Cubs), winning five pennants and finishing in the top half of the league in 15 of his 19 seasons.
Anson’s career coincided with baseball’s rise to prominence. As the sport’s first superstar, he was one of the best known and most widely admired men in the United States. He took advantage of his fame, starring in a Broadway play and touring on the vaudeville circuit. He toured England, Europe, Egypt, and Australia, introducing baseball throughout the world. Regrettably, he also vehemently opposed the presence of African Americans in the game and played a significant role in its segregation in the 1880s. From Marshalltown, Iowa, to superstar status, this work traces the life and times of Anson and the growth of the national pastime.

About the Author(s)

David L. Fleitz is a web developer and database analyst who lives in Troy, Michigan. A longtime SABR member, he has written eight other books on baseball history.

Bibliographic Details

David L. Fleitz
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 346
Bibliographic Info: photos, tables, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2238-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1267-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Introduction      1

1. Beginnings      3

2. From Marshalltown to Rockford      16

3. The Philadelphia Athletics      29

4. Across the Ocean      41

5. William Hulbert and the White Stockings      53

6. Manager in Training      68

7. Captain of the Chicagos      81

8. Champions of the National League      94

9. Controversy      107

10. Back on Top      120

11. King of Kickers      133

12. A New Beginning      145

13. Second Place      158

14. Around the World      172

15. The Brotherhood War      188

16. A Disputed Pennant Race      203

17. The Grand Old Man      214

18. Anson and His Colts      225

19. Cap Anson on Broadway      239

20. The Final Season      252

21. An Unemployed Manager      265

22. Baseball, Business, and Politics      278

23. “The Best I Can”      292

24. Epilogue      306

Appendix A: Cap Anson’s First Professional Baseball Contract      313

Appendix B: Cap Anson’s Statistical Record      315

Appendix C: Cap Anson’s Statistical Record (Projected to 162–Game Seasons)      317

Chapter Notes      319

Bibliography      329

Index      333

Book Reviews & Awards

“prodigiously researched…[Fleitz] helps us understand how the game of baseball both shaped and embodied American culture in what Mark Twain called the ‘raging, tearing’ 19th century.”—Edward Achorn, Providence Journal; “well-researched and well-written volume”—SABR Deadball Committee Newsletter; “definitive”—Chicago Cubs Official Website; “David Fleitz has become something of a chronicler of the flawed idols of a century ago. Cap Anson, the Grand Old Man of Baseball is a worthy successor to his fine biographies of Shoeless Joe Jackson and Louis Sockalexis…instructive…pleasurable”—Elysian Fields Quarterly; “this is a fine biography…excellent”—Miami Herald.