Baseball's fall classic was born in October 1903, when the Boston Americans, the American League champions, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the National League pennant winners, played the first World Series. The games drew thousands of loyal, high-spirited fans to the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston, the "Athens of America," and to Exposition Park in Pittsburgh, the "Smokey City." Local newspapers of the day devoted as much coverage to the shenanigans of the spectators as they did to the exciting action on the diamond. In this vivid and lively account, Roger I. Abrams recaptures the drama and color of this historic sporting event. He shows how the series, which was won in eight games by the Boston Americans, provides a unique lens to view American life and culture at the dawn of the twentieth century. This is a fascinating story brimming with colorful, larger-than-life characters: legendary players Honus Wagner, Cy Young, Jimmy Collins, Fred Clarke, Big Bill Dineen, and Deacon Phillippe on the field; and Mike "Nuf Ced" McGreevey, "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, and the boisterous Boston Royal Rooters, cheering, chanting, and singing in the grandstands. This is also the story of how the post-season play gave disparate classes in society-Brahmins, industrialists, Irish politicians, Jewish immigrants-the rare opportunity to join together in common support of their local teams and heroes. Published in the centennial year of the World Series, this thoroughly entertaining and insightful look back at the sports spectacle that firmly established baseball as America's national pastime will appeal to sports enthusiasts and historians alike.
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Published February 13, 2003
History, Sports & Outdoors.