Turbulent Seasons

Baseball in 1890–1891


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SKU: 9781476662466 Categories: , Tag:

About the Book

This history recaptures a colorful era in early baseball when club owners quarreled, players berated umpires, sportswriters criticized and ridiculed both owners and players, and the game made halting progress toward the sport and business it became. The two seasons saw the formation in 1890 of the Players League by the Brotherhood of Professional Ball Players, America’s first sports union; the failure of the players’ efforts to stand up to the owners; the collapse of a new National Agreement between the National League and the American Association; and the eventual amalgamation of four Association franchises into the National League, creating a decade of relative peace. This title is now available as a paperback and ebook exclusively from McFarland.

About the Author(s)

Charles C. Alexander, Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, Ohio University, has written 14 books, the last eight of which have dealt with American baseball history. He lives in Hamilton, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Charles C. Alexander
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 17 b&w photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6246-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2245-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface  ix

1. 1889: The National Game  1
2. 1890: “Seven Stories with a Mansard Roof”  27
3. 1890: “Trying for Years to Get into a First-class League”  53
4. 1890: “Rotting as Fast as Nature Will Let Them”  77
5. 1890–91: “Lunkheads of the First Water”  105
6. 1891: “Mad Clean Through”  119
7. 1891: “I Should Expect to Be Hanged”  153
8. 1891–92: “Men of Money Have About Come to Their Senses”  187

Appendix: Some Lives Afterward 199
Bibliography  211
Index  217

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Charles Alexander has an uncanny knack of putting his subject into its historical context. He shines a bright and often amusing light on a cast of characters comprising some of baseball’s most colorful players and owners, including a hard-living, fun-loving group of players who literally attempted to hijack baseball and almost pulled it off over the course of one very ‘turbulent season.’”—Rick Huhn, author of Eddie Collins and The Sizzler: George Sisler, Baseball’s Forgotten Great
  • “One of baseball’s most respected historians turns his attention to two pivotal years in the nineteenth century. Alexander’s typically exhaustive research and clear, vigorous prose bring the 1890 and 1891 seasons to life and demonstrate their crucial role in the development of our National Pastime. Turbulent Seasons succeeds in bringing the turmoil of those long ago seasons into focus for contemporary baseball lovers.”—C. Paul Rogers III, co-author of The Whiz Kids and the 1950 Pennant
  • “A clear and detailed account of the events leading to and resulting from the formation of the Players’ League. The years 1889–1892 were a time of labor unrest in the country and baseball was not exempt. Alexander offers an account of the conflicts between owners and players, owners and owners, and players and players, while illuminating the exploits and foibles of all. A.G. Spalding, John Montgomery Ward, King Kelly, Cap Anson, Charles Comiskey, numerous other legendary figures, and a series of exciting pennant races all come to life in this very informative and entertaining book.”—Lyle Spatz, author of Bad Bill Dahlen: The Rollicking Life and Times of a Early Baseball Star
  • Turbulent Seasons recovers for us the energy, excitement, and drama of a brief period in the early history of major league baseball when, before the eyes of a nation of adoring fans, the owners and the players battled over compensation and organizational structures. When the period began, two leagues dominated the scene. Then, at the initiative of the players, a third circuit emerged. And, when the dust finally settled, twenty-three franchises had been conflated into a mere twelve, and a single organization—the sprawling National League—ruled the baseball world. Turbulent Seasons has all a fan could want from a book—colorful stories, tense competition, memorable characters, and compelling analysis.”—Reed S. Browning, author of Cy Young: A Baseball Life