A Ball Player's Career - Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscences of Adrian Anson

Adrian C. Anson (Ghostwritten), Era Publishing Company, 1900, 339 Pages

Cap's biography, the second book-length biography of a ballplayer ever (Mike Kelly’s 1888 "Stories Of The Ball Field" being the first) provides a colorful account of his youth, baseball career and travels on an 1888-89 world tour led by then-Chicago President Albert G. Spalding. Interesting for its use of period language, Anson’s blunt speaking style and firsthand accounts of events from organized baseball's earliest days. First edition copies of this book are collectible items that often sell from $500-$1000.

Cap Anson 1: When Captaining a Team Meant Something: Leadership in Baseball’s Early Years

Howard W. Rosenberg, Tile Books, 2003, 394 Pages

Features Anson’s leadership role as captain-manager of Chicago from 1879 to 1897. The overall theme of the book is the varying roles played by nonpaying managers, captains and captain-managers in Anson’s day, on and off the field. Chicago is featured at length because its players’ off-the-field exploits, especially related to drinking in an age when the club’s rules for players were strict, generated rich coverage. Also examined is the relationship Anson had with the three club presidents he served under: William Hulbert, Albert Spalding and James Hart. Hulbert and Spalding have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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Cap Anson 2: The Theatrical and Kingly Mike Kelly: U.S. Team Sport's First Media Sensation and Baseball's Original Casey at the Bat

Howard W. Rosenberg, Tile Books, 2004, 436 Pages

The definitive biography of Mike Kelly, who played for Chicago from 1880 to 1886 and then mainly for Boston through his last big league season, 1893. Kelly is considered by many the game’s most colorful huge star, on the order of Babe Ruth, before Ruth. Anson and Kelly are featured for their off-the-field interests including acting on stage, and in Anson’s case, especially for his trapshooting. The appendix details more than 160 bets on regular-season baseball by active players, managers or team officials through 1900, and Anson is the featured bettor. The book is also the definitive presentation of baseball’s ties to the theatrical profession through 1900, with long profiles of two of the most famous actor-fans, De Wolf Hopper and Digby Bell.

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Cap Anson 3: Muggsy John McGraw and the Tricksters: Baseball's Fun Age of Rule Bending

Howard W. Rosenberg, Tile Books, 2005, 472 Pages

Cap Anson 3 explores trickery and dirty play in baseball for the sport's formative 25 years through 1900 (the first quarter-century of the National League). Featured teams include the 1890s Orioles, and Chicago from the late 1870s through 1900. Featured players include Hall of Famers John McGraw (of Baltimore), Cap Anson (of Chicago) and Mike Kelly (of Chicago and Boston). In an age of more liberal playing rules and usually just one umpire, players in the 19th century were able to get away with lots of interesting things or take justice into their own hands. Readers will delight in the retelling of some of baseball's most colorful characters and their exploits.

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Cap Anson 4: Bigger Than Babe Ruth: Captain Anson of Chicago

Howard W. Rosenberg, Tile Books, 2006, 560 Pages

This impeccably researched installment presents the argument that Cap Anson, in his day, received media coverage that was both of greater quantity and quality than that received by Babe Ruth in his heyday. Chapters 1-7 add insight into Anson's legacy by exploring such topics as 19th Century Media coverage, Anson's image and moods, and writer's roasts of the veritable captain. Chapters 8-16 present a more or less straightforward biography of Anson's life, with fascinating details gleaned largely from the era's newspaper coverage. No other author matches Rosenberg's meticulous and comprehensive scope of research, and his mining of the era's published works leaves the reader with a treasure trove of Anson anecdotes and remembrances.

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Cap Anson: The Grand Old Man of Baseball

David L. Fleitz, McFarland Publishing, 2005, 338 Pages

Anson’s career coincided with baseball’s rise to prominence. As the sport’s first superstar, he was one of the best known and most widely admired men in the United States. He took advantage of his fame, starring in a Broadway play and touring on the vaudeville circuit. He toured England, Europe, Egypt, and Australia, introducing baseball throughout the world. Regrettably, he also vehemently opposed the presence of African Americans in the game and played a significant role in its segregation in the 1880s. This book is a clear, detailed account of Anson's life and baseball career. From his childhood in Marshalltown, Iowa to his superstar status with the Chicago White Stockings, Cap Anson: The Grand Old Man of Baseball traces the life of this complex, historic figure.

Baseball and the Color Line

Tom Gilbert, Franklin Watts Publishing, 1995, 176 Pages

Baseball and the Color Line tells the story of the beginning of segregation in the national pastime as well as its lifting. More so than other books on this topic, it puts segregation in baseball into the larger context of America's overall racial sentiment, exploring racial prejudice's rises and falls since 1865. Anson's role in "drawing the color line" is given a chapter. But Gilbert explains that with or without Anson, the game would have been segregated, and in fact for all intents and purposes was segregated at the major league level by the team owners since baseball's beginnings. A highly recommended read for anyone that believes only Anson is at fault for baseball's long standing color line.

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

Mark Lamster, Public Affairs/Perseus Books Group, 2006, 320 Pages

"Spalding's World Tour" provides a thoroughly enjoyable examination of both the most influential man (Albert Spalding) and event (1888-1889 World Baseball Tour) in Cap Anson's life. The tour was such an important event to Anson that he devoted 14 chapters to it in his 1900 autobiography, A Ball Player's Career. Lamster's book paints a vivid picture of the complex personality of Spalding, the man that would have a profound influence on Anson's fate and fortune both on the field and off. This rollicking tale of the round-the-world baseball tour features many other notable names of 19th century baseball, and the details unearthed by Lamster make this a must read for fans of baseball's early days. Lamster's conversational, informed narrative offers a delightful read cover to cover.

A.G. Spalding and the Rise of Baseball: The Promise of American Sport

Peter Levine, Oxford University Press, 1985, 184 Pages

No other man had more of an impact on Anson's professional career than A.G. Spalding. In the beginning, Anson and Spalding were inseperable friends. Yet as Anson's playing career wound down, unkept promises strained the relationship to the point that Anson felt betrayed by his one time mentor. The story of Spalding's career is the tale of the American Dream and the birth of the National Pastime. Peter Levine brings Spalding to life, exploring his childhood, following his baseball career both as player and manager, and tracing the rise of his sports equipment empire.

Cubs Journal: Year by Year & Day by Day with the Chicago Cubs Since 1876

John Snyder, Emmis Books, 2005, 720 Pages

An indespensible resource for anyone researching the Chicago NL franchise, this mammoth tome details every notable game played by the Cubs (and their forerunners the White Stockings, Colts and Orphans). Anson is well represented, with stories such as how he once saved two of his players from going to jail before a game - and winds up in jail himself (entry for June 26, 1879) and the day he played an entire game in a false beard and gray wig to make light of the newspaper men whom had been referring to him as an "old man" (entry for Septermber 4, 1891).

19th Century Baseball in Chicago

Mark Rucker and John Freyer, Images of Baseball Series, Arcadia Publishing, 2003, 128 Pages

Putting names to the faces of 19th century players isn't easy. But this book presents hundreds of terrific images from baseball's earliest days in Chicago. There are several images of Anson, and many more of his White Stocking teammates. These historic photos are accompanied by a short overview of baseball's beginnings in the Windy City, and its grip on the city prior to the turn of the century.

The Chicago Cubs

Warren Brown, Southern Illinois University Press, 2001, 256 Pages

One of the 15 team histories commissioned by G. P. Putnam's Sons in the 1940s and 1950, this book was originally published in 1946. It details the rise of the Chicago Cubs from the beginning of the National League in 1876 through the 1945 World Series in which the Cubs faced the Detroit Tigers. Anson is discussed in Chapters 3 through 9.

Wrigleyville: A Magical History Tour of the Chicago Cubs

Peter Golenbock, St. Martin's Press, 1999, 592 Pages

For any die-hard Cubbie fan, "Wrigleyville" is an amazingly comprehensive resource for delving into the history of the franchise. Each decade is covered in depth, and virtually every player of significance is given their proper due. Cap's contributions to the team, both as player and player/manager, are discussed in detail.