MacK's Reviews > Spalding's World Tour: The Epic Adventure that Took Baseball Around the Globe - And Made It America's Game

Spalding's World Tour by Mark Lamster
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's review
Apr 26, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: baseball, non-fiction
Read in March, 2009

I preface this with the following statement: I am a giganticly huge, massively epic, insultingly grandiose nerd when it comes to baseball.

Because of that I enjoy reading books about baseball to pass the time before baseball season begins again. And not just any books about baseball, books about baseball back when the men all had handlebar mustaches, and wore linen belts.

Spalding's World Tour brings back some of those men and some of that era with vivid detail. The journeys of 20 daring do-ers of baseball deeds are chronicled through a string of postcards, letters and personal journals.

While the tour was a flop (Spalding lost money, the sport has only recently become popular beyond US shores) the book is a moderate success. Lamster describes a few ports of call clearly and gives an impressive amount of description of the struggles the players faced.

However, he struggles to make the characters come alive beyond the recitation of box scores. The stars: Cap Anson, John Montgomery Ward, and William Spalding are easy to understand. Others, the lesser known infielders and catchers who packed their steamer trunks in amongst the rest are given shorter shrift and developed far less than their historically legendary counterparts.

Still, for the wandering baseball fan who's not always in the States during the season, it's nice to envision the great great grandaddies of the game playing in the shadow of the Arc De Triomph, the streets of Ceylon on the gardens of melbourne. And for any fan stuck between seasons, it's worth a glance.

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