Charles Ebbets

The Man Behind the Dodgers and Brooklyn’s Beloved Ballpark


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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

A long time member of the Society for American Baseball Research, John G. Zinn is the author of three books about the Brooklyn Dodgers and numerous articles and essays about the history of baseball. His blog on baseball history can be found at

Bibliographic Details

John G. Zinn

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 252
Bibliographic Info: 23 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9973-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3033-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1
I. “Where I learnt the first rudiments of baseball” 7
II. “The greatest mistake of our life” 17
III. “I have put every dollar I own into the club” 33
IV. “It is the fair name of the Brooklyn club at stake” 46
V. “Sooner than give into Freedman I would lose every dollar I have invested in the game” 65
VI. “Sabbatarians who wanted to regulate the morals of everyone” 80
VII. “I know we get robbed, I know it” 92
VIII. “We gentlemen are the guardians of this great national game” 107
IX. “A very important piece of news” 121
X. “An outside organization antagonistic to us coming into Brooklyn” 140
XI. “A wide smile on his face and giving the glad hand to all comers” 155
XII. “A man who can do that has more than ­twenty-five cents in his pocket” 169
XIII. “1920 will be the most wonderful season in the history of our great National game” 181
XIV. “Tell the fans that I am in baseball until I die” 192
XV. “The good squire of Flatbush” 207
Chapter Notes 215
Bibliography 236
Index 239

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Winner, Ron Gabriel Award—Society for American Baseball Research.
  • Finalist, Larry Ritter Book Award—SABR
  • “Thoroughly researched and gracefully written, the Ebbets bio fills a longstanding void in baseball scholarship, providing readers with the largely untold life story of the club owner…Zinn knows his subject well…compelling reading and a most deserving Gabriel Award winner.”—The Inside Game (SABR Deadball Era Committee Newsletter)
  • “John Zinn’s well-researched biography of Ebbets gives us a detailed look at a Dodgers owner who devoted 42 years of his life to Brooklyn baseball. Zinn skillfully recounts Ebbets’s role in helping guide the National League through the challenges presented by three rival leagues, as well as his long battle to bring Sunday baseball to New York.”—Lyle Spatz, author of Hugh Casey: The Triumphs and Tragedies of a Brooklyn Dodger.