Baseball Extra: A Newspaper History of the Glorious Game from its
Beginning to the Present
From the Eric C. Caren Collection
Edison, N.J.: Castle Books; 2000. 437p. ISBN: 0-7858-1188-5 $30
Reviewed by John Matthew IV
Toronto, Ontario M58 1Y4
BUY IT! That would be the executive summary for this amazing book.
This book features 437 full-page reproductions of newspaper articles ranging from
Porter’s Spirit of the Times in 1857 to the New York Daily News in 1999.
Eric Caren began collecting old and rare newspapers when he was eleven. Now he is
considered to have the largest private collection of rare newspapers, with some dating
back to the sixteenth century.
There is no text or index in this book, just a table of contents and a page of
acknowledgements. The first page shows the Eagles playing the Gothams at the Elysian
Fields and then page after glorious page of baseball history follows.
The quality of the reproductions is incredible. Everything is adjusted to fit the 10½' x 14'
page size so sometimes the type is very small but everything is readable. Often, the
baseball content of the page is blown up in size for added readability. The illustration, for
example, of "The Boston Champions" from Harper’s Weekly from 1874 shows each of
the players in great detail. Later, there is an illustration of "A Ladies’ Baseball Match"
from Once A Week in 1890: all of the players are wearing full-length skirts and the
umpire has a parasol!
Also, the entire page is reproduced, not just the baseball part. So, for instance, the Detroit
Journal page (Jan. 29, 1901) that mentions the "Reorganization of American Ball
League" also shows a cartoon of a man holding many Cuban bonds knocking on the
doors of Congress with the caption that says, "The original Cuban patriot has arrived."
There is also a story about the funeral of Queen Victoria and one on the Holy Trinity
Episcopal Church being closed due to the congregation being divided over the issue of
This book shows the history of America, no