In the 1890s, the legendary Baltimore Orioles of the National League [sic] under the tutelage of manager Ned Hanlon, perfected a style of play known as "scientific baseball," featuring such innovations as the sacrifice bunt, the hit- and-run, the squeeze play, and the infamous Baltimore chop. Its best hitter, Wee Willie Keeler, had the motto "keep your eye clear and hit 'em where they ain't"--which he did. He and his colorful teammates, fierce third-baseman John McGraw, avuncular catcher Wibert Robinson, and heartthrob center fielder Joe Kelly, won three straight pennants from 1894 to 1896. But the Orioles were swept up and ultimately destroyed in a business intrigue involving the political machines of three large cities and collusion with the ambitious men who ran the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers. Burt Solomon narrates the rise and fall of this colorful franchise as a cautionary tale of greed and overreaching that speaks volumes as well about the enterprise of baseball a century later.
About Burt Solomon
BURT SOLOMON has been a staff correspondent for the National Journal since 1985, where he has covered the White House, lobbying, and ideas. A native of Baltimore and a lifelong Orioles fan, he lives in Arlington, Virginia.
"A rousing good story, a rich tapestry of charming rogues, hustlers, and gritty ballparks that brings to sparkling life the game of baseball as it was played a century ago."--Doris Kearns Goodwin
"A wonderfully intelligent combination of business and sports history. It possesses the pace, sense of character, and evocative power of a novel."--The Boston Globe
"This is a wonderful book, a fine historical account that not only throws light on some of the game's current issues--but also records the mercantile tradition and civic pride of one of America's earliest great cities."--Lee Smith, GQ
"Not only does Burt Solomon bring to life the legends of old-time baseball, he does so while detailing how the team owners double-crossed each other, stole players, and squeezed salaries to the bone. I discovered that the business of baseball at the turn of the century was as vicious and complicated as it is today."--Peter Golenbock, author of Bums