While Spalding comes down firmly on the side of the owners, telling how the courageous and honest magnates triumphed morally over greedy and crooked players, Spink celebrates the accomplishments of the great players who helped to bring the game into the prominence it enjoyed in the first decade of the twentieth century.
Spink provides a history of baseball before 1910; position-by-position biographies of former players and of every major league player of that era; sketches of managers, magnates, journalists, and umpires; the lineup of every championship team from 1871 to 1910; and a complete record of all games played for championships from 1884 to the 1910 World Series. In his foreword, Steven P. Gietschier, director of historical records at The Sporting News, details Spink's career as a St. Louis journalist and as secretary and press agent for the St. Louis Browns until he left the team to start a weekly newspaper devoted entirely to sports: "The Sporting News, eight pages long, hit the streets for the first time on St. Patrick's Day, 1886". Spink left The Sporting News to write for the theater, achieving little success. In addition to TheNational Game, he wrote the three-volume Spink Sport Stories: 1000 Big and Little Ones in 1921.
The 1911 edition reprinted here features nearly two hundred black-and-white photographs.