Cover for Kirsch: Baseball and Cricket: The Creation of American Team Sports, 1838-72. Click for larger imageGeorge Kirsch, author of the University of Illinois Press titles Golf in America and Baseball and Cricket: The Creation of American Team Sports, 1838-72, contributed an Opinionator column this week to The New York Times online which highlights the convergence of baseball, cricket, and war during the Civil War-era.

Thousands of members of northern cricket and baseball clubs volunteered for service in the Union Army, while a handful chose the Confederate side. In Cincinnati, Abraham G. Mills, a future president of the National League, packed a bat and ball with his Army gear before reporting for military duty. In late May Wilkes’ Spirit of the Times reported that the pitcher of St. Louis’ Union club planned to resign from his team to accept a commission in the Second Missouri Artillery after leading his team to victory in a city championship match.

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