John Montgomery Ward (1860-1925) tossed
the second perfect game in major league history and later became the
game's best shortstop and a great, inventive manager. He led the
players into their own league in 1890 and came within a hair's
breadth of changing the structure of baseball forever. Two years
before that, however, in 1888, he published the book Base-Ball: How
to Become a Player. The book is one of the game's early classics, and
should be in every serious baseball library.
"The author ventures to present
this book to the public. because he believes there are many points in
the game of base-ball which can be told only by a player," wrote
Ward in his preface to the book. "He has given some space to a
consideration of the origin and early history of the game. because
they are subjects deserving of more attention than is generally
accorded them . His principal aim, howcver, has been to produce a
hand-book of the game, a picture of the plays seen by a player."
Illustrated with woodcuts, the book is
divided into chapters for each position on the field as well as
chapters on the origin of the game, theory and strategy, training,
base-running, and batting.
SABR previously published this book
under the title Ward's Baseball Book in 1993. This is the first SABR
"There is perhaps no existing team history more rich in play-by-play detail or more evocative in its nostalgic portrait of events surrounding baseball's three most popular teams."—The Minneapolis Review of Baseball
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