M Hofferber Books

Spalding's World Tour
The Epic Adventure that Took Baseball Around the Globe - And Made It America's Game
by Mark Lamster
In October of 1888, Albert Goodwill Spalding -- baseball star, sporting-goods magnate, promotional genius, serial fabulist - departed Chicago on a trip that would take him and twenty of the game's greatest players on a journey around the globe. Their mission: to bring baseball, and with it the American way, to the four corners of the earth. 

Spalding hoped this international adventure would fix the game of baseball in the American consciousness as the purest expression of the national spirit, and at the same time seed the world's markets for his nascent sporting-goods empire. To boost interest, he brought along an ill-fated "aerialist" who would leap from a hot-air balloon before each game (he wore a parachute, though it didn't always work); a young African-American minstrel; and stars such as New York Giants shortstop John Ward -- a notorious playboy and graduate of Columbia Law School who was simultaneously divorcing his starlet wife and plotting the overthrow of Spalding's National League. 

In the course of their thirty-thousand mile journey, Spalding and this motley group of cultural ambassadors played before kings and queens, visited the Coliseum and the Eiffel Tower, and took pot shots with their baseballs at the great Sphinx in Egypt. Upon their triumphant return, they were greeted as heroes by the likes of Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, and Benjamin Harrison. Getting themselves into scrapes and narrowly escaping international incident all around the globe, these innocents abroad gave the world an early peek at the American century just around the corner.

Chronicled with dash and wit, Spalding's World Tour is an irresistible adventure and an unflinching portrait of one of the most colorful figures in the history of American sports.

Spalding's World Tour
The Epic Adventure that Took Baseball Around the Globe 
- And Made It America's Game 
by Mark Lamster
Public Affairs Press, 2006
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