Author: Larry G. Bowman
Title: Before the World Series: Pride, Profits, and Baseball's First Championships
Publisher/Date: Northern Illinois University Press, 2003
Before my father died in July 2002, he wrote a book on 19th century baseball history entitled Before the World Series. Northern Illinois University Press had agreed to publish it, and the manuscript was in the editing phase when my father was diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. I took over the editing and saw the book through the entire production process. It's been available for about a year. I'm posting information about it to my blog in the hope of encouraging sales, since my father isn't here to promote the book himself.
From 1884 to 1890 the American Association and the National League played a post-season series. The format differed from year to year, and the very possibility of a post-season series came to an end after the American Association collapsed in 1892. The book tells the story of a turbulent decade in baseball history, filled with labor disputes, the rise and fall of a players' league, and other dramatic twists and turns.
The press gave the book a nice design. Here's a shot of the cover:
It contains eighteen photographs as well as an illustration of the Dauvray Cup, the trophy for the winners that Helen Dauvray, a famous actress and the wife of John Montgomery Ward, had donated to the series. The cup vanished many, many years ago, and its appearance was unknown until my father discovered the drawing reproduced in the book.
It's a scholarly book with endnotes, a bibliography, and an index but it's also a fun book, since it tells a great story. I think that people will just enjoy reading the book.
This page on the NIUP website contains more information. You can order the book directly from the NIUP, or you can get it from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. At the moment, it's available only in hardback. Please recommend it to friends and local libraries. Every sale makes a paperback edition that much more likely.