July 02, 2003

Lies, damn lies, and baseball.: This book about the 1903 World Series calls it "baseball's first World Series." Once upon a time I would have taken this ignorance for granted and just muttered a little, but with the increase of interest in nineteenth-century baseball in recent years there's no excuse for it. There's even a whole book about the World Series between the National League and the American Association, played beginning in 1884 (the Providence Greys vs. the New York Metropolitans). At first I thought "well, the publisher picked a dumb title," but I looked through the book and there was no mention of the earlier series, or even the existence of the American Association. Lies, all lies!

posted by languagehat to baseball at 04:09 PM - 3 comments

From the Lansche book:

Finally, Macmillan's claim that the 1903 games were the first to be called the World Series is nothing but semantics. The New York Clipper called the 1884 Series the "United States Championship", The Sporting News called the Providence Greys the "champions of the world" and referred to the Series itself as "the world's championship"; the Boston Journal, another impartial observer, called the series the "championship of the country". The New York Clipper referred to the 1885 St. Louis Browns as the "world's champions" and Spalding's Official Base Ball Guide 1886 called the series "the United States championship". The Reach Baseball Guide called the 1886 games "The Great World's Series" the first such use of the modern phrase I was able to locate in an objective source.... By 1887, there wasn't a newspaper in the country that didn't use the phrase "world's championship", and by 1886, The Sporting News was, for the first time, referring to the games as "The World's Series".
Long live the nineteenth century!

posted by languagehat at 04:11 PM on July 02, 2003

Not to appear ignorant, but to what increase in interest are you referring?

posted by garfield at 04:45 PM on July 02, 2003

Yeah, sorry about that, I was too indignant to post clearly. What I meant was the increased interest among that tiny segment of people who care about baseball history prior to their own early memories. There's no particular reason anyone here should be aware of 19th-century baseball at all, let alone the World Series of the 1880s, so I should have spelled that out. But the fact is that in the last 15-20 years there's been a lot of research on it (mainly thanks to the good folks at SABR), and as I said there's been an entire book on the earlier Series, so it's unconscionable that somebody would be able to write and publish a book in 2003 that completely ignores it. The average reader won't notice or care, but come on, if somebody wrote a book about the Model T called "The First Auto," don't you think somewhere along the way someone would have said "Uh, you know, there were cars before that"? [/rant]

posted by languagehat at 08:05 AM on July 04, 2003

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.