Monday, December 15, 2014

The new cover . . .

Here’s the cover for Nine Innings for the King, a new book about baseball during the Great War by author Jim Leeke. Look for it in mid-2015. We’ll let you know as soon as publisher McFarland & Co. announces the release date.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New title ...

McFarland & Co. recently announced the title of our new WWI sports book. It’s Nine Innings for the King: The Day Wartime London Stopped for Baseball, July 4, 1918.
This first full account of what was later called the “King’s game” also explores the lives of several players, the brief history of the Anglo-American Baseball League, and armed-forces baseball played in England, France and the United States during the Great War. Altogether, it recreates the circumstances surrounding a unique, long-forgotten moment in American and British history.
Look for it in 2015!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Coming in 2015 . . .

Were happy to announce that McFarland & Co. will publish a second book about baseball in World War I. Written by author Jim Leeke, who brought you Ballplayers in the Great War, it will chronicle the history of the Anglo-American Baseball League. This American and Canadian military circuit played in and around London in 1918. The working title of the new book is The King’s Game.
The photo above was taken on July 4 at the Stamford Bridge football (soccer) ground in Chelsea. It shows King George V meeting U.S. Navy Yeoman First Class Mike McNally of the Boston Red Sox. That’s Admiral William Sims, commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe, watching the King shake hands with “Minooka Mike,” who also played later with the Yankees.
Check back again for more on the coming book.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Praise for 'Ballplayers' . . .

"The book is a worthy addition to the McFarland Historical Baseball Library series … recommended for hard-core baseball fans who will enjoy thinking of the Hall of Fame fantasy team they could put together from soldiers and sailors. … Part of the book’s fun is also learning about the lively personalities of lesser-known players." — Jhistory, H-Net Reviews

"Leeke’s book, using articles from more than six dozen publications, shows what happens when ballplayers are taken out of their element and thrown into another common, concentrated endeavor — one in which winning and losing have more lasting repercussions. Deadball devotees should consider it a necessary addition to the literature on the subject." — The Inside Game

Nominated for the 2014 Larry Ritter Book Award

Monday, November 11, 2013

The eleventh hour . . . .

Captain Eddie Grant,
New York Giants.
Killed in action, Argonne Forrest,
while attempting to rescue the Lost Battalion.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Front and center . . .

Some of baseball’s greatest names left the diamond for the armed forces or contributed to the effort in other useful ways during the First World War. Ballplayers in the Great War tells how all these men served:
  • Ty Cobb
  • Christy Mathewson
  • Tris Speaker
  • Eddie Collins
  • Johnny Evers
  • Rabbit Maranville
  • Casey Stengel
  • Hank Gowdy
  • Eddie Grant
  • Joe Jackson
  • Wally Pipp
  • Herb Pennock
  • Branch Rickey
  • George Sisler
Read all their stories and more. Order your copy of Ballplayers in the Great War today!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Leading the way . . .

Ballplayers in the Great War gives you actual news articles about big-league players in the armed forces during the World War—the first one, before they had numbers. Many of these men naturally played ball during their time in uniform, and a few even managed teams.
Here are five players who became skippers in the army and navy:
  • Jack Barry, Red Sox – Charlestown Navy Yard, Massachusetts
  • Hal Janvrin, Red Sox – Camp Devens, Massachusetts
  • Duffy Lewis, Red Sox – Mare Island Navy Yard, California
  • Phil Chouinard, White Sox – Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Illinois
  • John Lavan, Senators – Great Lakes, following Chouinard
Read about these military managers and others in Ballplayers in the Great War.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Over there . . .

Ballplayers in the Great War offers hundreds of articles about big leaguers in the armed forces from 1917 to 1919. A few stories are sad, many are funny, and most are forgotten today. Here are a few favorites:
  • Eddie Grant and Moose McCormick in France, where one died and the other was shell-shocked
  • Leon Cadore’s service in the trenches, leading African-American troops
  • Hank Gowdy and his army life in Germany after the armistice
  • Johnny Evers “over there,” and the story of the dead doughboy’s baseball
  • A peacetime truck crash in France that almost killed two major leaguers
Read about these incidents and more in Ballplayers in the Great War.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The little corporal . . .

Not everyone profiled in Ballplayers in the Great War actually played in the big leagues. Brownie Burke was instead a former mascot for the Cincinnati Reds. Unlike modern costumed characters like the San Diego Chicken or Phillie Phanatic, he was more a good-luck charm and clubhouse friend.
Brownie was a tiny man from Helena, Montana, “hardly more than a midget in size.” For a while he also performed on the vaudeville stage. Despite his size, he talked his way into the army. He made corporal and served “over there” in France with the 90th Division.
Read more of Brownie Burke’s remarkable story in Ballplayers in the Great War.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day is done . . .

Ballplayers in the Great War tells about several big leaguers who died during the “war to end all wars.” You probably know Eddie Grant, but maybe not the others. Most played briefly in the majors, a couple in only a single game. Here are their names:
·      Alex Burr – NY Yankees, air crash
·      Larry Chappell – White Sox and Braves, influenza
·      Eddie Grant – NY Giants, killed in action
·      Newt Halliday – Pittsburgh Pirates, pneumonia
·      Mark Milligan – Pittsburgh Pirates prospect, air crash
·      Ralph Sharman – Philadelphia Athletics, drowned in training
·      Bun Troy – Detroit Tigers, killed in action
Read about their service and passing in Ballplayers in the Great War.