Blogs and Sites of Note
Back in 2010 when I started my modest little blog, many of the “bloggers” did a thing called “exchanging links.” In other words, one blogger would feature a like-minded fellow writer’s blog on their own site. I looked forward to these posts because it would introduce me to new writers and blogs I hadn’t heard of before. Today, blogging is still around of course, but many of the old sites are gone or inactive. Along with the attrition rate of good baseball history blogs, the old idea of a “link exchange” seems to be gone as well. And that’s a shame because I’m always looking for interesting sites I haven’t stumbled on before.
So, as my wife says, “stop complaining and do something about it.”
Without further preamble, and in no particular order, I’ll highlight a few of my current “go-go” websites when it comes to baseball history.
This site was a great find to me. The author covers many of the same or ancillary characters that I like to on my site. Even his by-line sounds like I penned it myself: “For every Babe Ruth there is a Bunny Brief. For every Willie Mays, a Bris “The Human Eyeball” Lord. For every Sandy Koufax, an Astyanax Douglass. The 1927 Yankees are justly famous, but the Longview Cannibals, the Raton Swastikas, the Texarkana Casketmakers and the Staunton Lunatics should not be forgotten either.”
He had me at “Bris “The Human Eyeball” Lord.”
The format is unique in that each article is a downloaded multi-page pdf, and it’s choke-full of newspaper clippings and photos. It’s always a good day and all work in my studio stops when there’s a new Diamonds in the Dusk story posted. CLICK HERE TO VISIT SITE
This is the Cadillac (pre SUV and when they still made the Brougham) of baseball history sites. It’s written by John Thorn, the Official Historian of Major League Baseball and is overflowing with articles covering every aspect of our National Pastime. Anyone who knows John’s work knows he’s the expert on the game’s early days, and there are a lot of 19th and early 20th century material to be found. But, John’s not MLB’s history guy for nothing – you’ll find every era covered in the same detail and careful research that makes his 19th century articles not only informative but ground breaking as well. Always lavishly illustrated with photos and artifacts you’ve never seen before, any time you stop by Our Game you’re bound to come away markedly more informed on the history of the National Pastime. CLICK HERE TO VISIT SITE
When I first started out as an internet writer in 2010, I found two guys who I thought embodied everything I wanted my writing, research and blog to be: Scott Simkus and Gary Ashwill. Both of those fellas were generous enough to answer my questions and this selfless sharing of information in turn made me into a person who is more than willing to share my own research and experience with others. If it wasn’t for my experience meeting those two, I doubt I would have maintained the passion needed to sustain a blog for over a decade, nor write my book and all the other stuff I do with baseball history. Scott’s blog is no more, but Gary Ashwill’s has continued to thrive. You’ve likely heard or seen Gary Ashwill talk on TV, radio or a podcast recently because he’s the man when it comes to Negro League statistics. Gary was instrumental in helping Seamheads.com and Baseball-Reference.com roll out the expanded Negro League statistics after MLB recognized seven Blackball leagues as “major league.” but besides all that, Gary’s blog, Agate Type, has long been one of my favorites. Though he’s known for his Negro League research, there’s no telling what Gary’s going to turn up every time he posts something: 19th century Cuban ball, touring teams, death records of ballplayers, forgotten stars or Black baseball and the 1918 pandemic. It’s always a surprise and it’s always darn interesting. CLICK HERE TO VISIT SITE
Gary Bedingfield’s site is an outstanding resource for World War II baseball played in Europe, the US and Pacific. Gary’s painstakingly created a database of thousands of GI ballplayers, many having a well researched biography that you wont find anywhere else. He covers all the big names like Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio, but the gems are the unknown ballplayers who interrupted their careers to serve their country, many of whom found they were too old to resume pro ball, suffered a debilitating war wound, or failed to return all together. It’s a poignant website that both pays tribute to the wartime ballplayers but also is a celebration of how our National Pastime not only endured during the war, but helped give the troops a taste of home when stationed so far away. Gary puts out a newsletter and publishes regularly on wartime baseball, and I highly recommend his books as a companion to his site. Also, don’t miss Gary’s affiliated site, Baseball’s Greatest Sacrifice, which “remembers baseball players who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.” CLICK HERE TO VISIT SITE
This site delivers exactly what it says: baseball history daily. But, if you’re looking for one of those tired “#OTD,” ESPN “on this day” pap about Hank Aaron’s birthday or Bryce Harper’s first home run, skip it. It ain’t for you. This site features good, old time baseball stories you’ve likely never heard before. And if you have, the author no doubt gets into it much deeper than what you might have read before. Each entry is a different era, though he does stick to the pre-1940s usually. Whatever he features, it’s bound to be well illustrated with pictures and clippings. Most of the stories are taken directly from contemporary newspaper articles, the kind of stuff most mainstream historians have passed over or don’t bother to dig for. For instance, one recent post was about an article in the Pittsburgh Courier in which an oldtime Blackball player gives his two cents on some of the big stars of his era. He ain’t all complimentary, and that’s something I’ve never read before. So that’s the kind of stuff you’ll find at Baseball History Daily. CLICK HERE TO VISIT SITE
This first-class website features Craig Brown’s groundbreaking 19th century uniform study. Consider it the indispensable brother to Marc Okkonen’s Baseball Uniforms of The 20th Century. Craig’s work ends in 1901 where Okkonen’s book begins. If you are looking for reference on what caps the 1865 Empires wore, or was wondering what where the colors of the 1883 Toledo Toledoes, this is the site you want. The sheer work and research that goes into each uniform Craig covers is amazing, and he tells you what the sources were and how close he thinks it is to being 100% accurate. Needs to be seen to be believed. CLICK HERE TO VISIT SITE
This is another wartime baseball blog, but where Baseball in Wartime gives good overall coverage of many different players and teams, each Chevrons and Diamonds post concentrates on a single team, player or actual artifact, and then goes deep into it. The author is a vet himself, and this adds a touch of personal knowledge and reverence for the subject. Besides being a good writer, the author is a collector, and he features many pieces from his personal collection such as signed balls and one of a kind snapshots. Each article is like a full-length magazine spread, well written with many illustrations you’ll not find anywhere else. CLICK HERE TO VISIT SITE
This is author Bill Staples’ site. If you’ve ever looked into Japanese or Japanese-American baseball, you’ve no doubt read something by Bill. Besides being the foremost historian on Nisei (1st generation Japanese-Americans) baseball, Bill also goes deep into the influence of the Negro League teams that toured Japan in the 1920s and 30s. There really isn’t anyone else who has covered that subject, and I have much respect for an historian like Bill who chooses an extremely obscure subject and goes on to make it both relevant and timely. Every post on International Baseball is an experience that broadens your horizon of baseball and its place in the world. CLICK HERE TO VISIT SITE
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Please note: None of these sites or their authors shelled out any payola to be included in this piece. Nor is this a shake-down attemp on my part to have my site covered on their blogs. These are the sites I tend to check daily. There are many others that I have bookmarked and very much enjoy, but I wanted to stick to the ones currently active and that have been updated recently. I’d be interested to hear what are your “go-to” sites, and maybe we can spread word of blogs and sites that we haven’t come across yet.