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Ballists, Dead Beats, and Muffins: Inside Early Baseball in Illinois

Event date: 4/24/2023 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM Export event
Ballists, Dead Beats, and Muffins: Inside Early Baseball in Illinois
Elaine Evans
/ Categories: Events

Ballists, Dead Beats, and Muffins: Inside Early Baseball in Illinois

Robert D. Sampson talks about his new book, Ballists, Dead Beats, and Muffins, a first-ever history of early baseball in Illinois that adds the Prairie State game’s unique shadings and colorful stories to the history of the national pastime.

Baseball’s spread across Illinois paralleled the sport’s explosive growth in other parts of the country. Sampson taps a wealth of archival research to transport readers to an era when an epidemic of “base ball on the brain” raged from Alton to Yorkville. Focusing on the years 1865 to 1869, Illinoisans couldn’t get enough of baseball in the years after the Civil War. The story of its rise and decline includes gambling, physical confrontations, and lots of fun and humor. Sampson offers a vivid portrait of a game where local teams and civic ambition went hand in hand and teams of paid professionals displaced gentlemen’s clubs devoted to sporting fair play. This preoccupation with competition sparked rules disputes and controversies over imported players while the game itself mirrored society by excluding Black Americans and women. The new era nonetheless brought out paying crowds to watch the Rock Island Lively Turtles, Fairfield Snails, and other teams take the field up and down the state.

Location:
Washington Historical Society
128 Washington Square
Washington, IL (Map)

 

 

 

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