Baseball, Broadway and the Brotherhood in the 19th Century
By James Hawking
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John Ward—pitcher turned shortstop, author, lawyer and president of the first union for professional athletes—was married to the glamorous Helen Dauvray, a child star who re-invented herself on the Paris stage and as a leading lady and a wealthy producer on Broadway. On Albert Spalding’s World Tour, Ward captained a team that played by the pyramids and across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. Coming home for the 1889 season as conquering heros, the players started their rebellion against the autocratic owners led by Spalding.
This unique historical novel moves deftly between the field and the stands at actual games, turns to Ward’s tangled personal life and describes the events that led to the formation of the Players League. Each chapter contains a factual biographical sketch of a featured baseball figure, such as the racist Cap Anson, the verbose Orator O’Rourke, or the incomparable King Kelly. Sections called “Then and Now” make tongue-in-cheek comparisons between the 19th Century game and baseball today, not always in favor of the latter. This novel will be unforgettable for any fan of baseball, theater, love or American history in the late 19th Century.
James Hawking retired as professor from Chicago State University, where he taught, among other things, Chicago politics. He has taught in and administered adult education programs and was the director of the American Library Association’s Coalition for Literacy. He holds a masters in library science and a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University. An active member of the Historical Novel Society since its inception in 1997, he has contributed numerous reviews, author profiles and theoretical articles on the historical novel to its publications. He has also been an active member of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research, particularly its 19th Century Committee and a lifelong fan of the Chicago White Sox. He currently lives in
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