During the winter of 1913 and the spring of 1914 the New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox took a trip around the world. Organized by crusty John McGraw of the Giants and the White Sox’s Charles Comiskey, it was a trip of epic proportions—a tour to end all tours recreated here in all its monumental sweep and comical detail.
This book follows the two teams, whose members include Christy Mathewson, Jim Thorpe, and half a dozen other future Hall-of-Famers, as they barnstorm across the United States and sail the seas to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, finishing with a game before twenty thousand fans and King George V. Along the way, baseball’s envoys meet such dignitaries as Pope Pius X, tea magnate Thomas Lipton, and the last khedive of Egypt. They play the tables of Monaco, survive a near-shipwreck, and cram a lifetime’s worth of adventures into six months. Their story, told here for the first time, gives readers a glimpse into baseball history and the innocence and spirit of a long-gone era.
"It was baseball's greatest odyssey—a global excursion mounted by the Giants and White Sox on the eve of the outbreak of World War I. . . . The off-field hijinks, culture clashes and even a near-shipwreck are all part of this long-forgotten yet compelling chapter of baseball lore."—David Plaut,USA Today Sports Weekly
"A lively [account] of the world-wide tour the NY Giants and Chicago Cubs took in 1913-14. A novelist couldn't make up its stories: The players met Pope Pius X, tea magnate Thomas Lipton and the last khedive of Egypt."—Bob Minzesheimer, www.USA Today.com
“A carefully researched record that captures the action on the diamond, the interaction between the athletes and their hosts, the small towns and mansions they visited, the modes of transportation and the accommodation they experienced nine decades ago.”—Brian Cooper, Telegraph Herald
"[T]he stories told in this volume are both revealing and humorous. Elfers depicts a sport and a world that was to change radically with the onset of World War I."—Library Journal
“Fans seeking to capture the flavor of big league baseball as staged in 1913—just before two wars combined to transform the game—will delight in Mr. Elfers’ recounting of the World Tour of the Giants and White Sox.”—David Q. Voigt, author of Baseball: An Illustrated History
“Jim Elfers has succeeded in recreating, with copious and vivid historical detail, the forgotten story of a unique event in American sports history. He paints a dramatic, funny, and ultimately moving panorama of some of baseball’s greatest characters as they introduce America’s pastime to a global audience. A must for all baseball history fans.”—Kate Buford, author of Burt Lancaster: An American Life
“A ripping good read, the clever combination of meticulous research and old-fashioned storytelling. Like a skilled archaeologist, James Elfers has unearthed the long-forgotten records of this bizarre, audacious round-the-world tour that promoted American baseball on the eve of the Great War.”—David Hurst Thomas, curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History
"Elfers gives readers interesting and at times amusing stories of famous Hall of Famers who took their games overseas. He also provides analysts of a more academic bent a coherent and balanced account of the ways business practices and a changing international climate helped to restructure the national game in the early twentieth century. . . . All will find Elfers's work an indispensible basis for rethinking this pivotal historical era."—Steve Pitti, Nine
"A thought-provoking and colorful account."—Marty Dobrow, Aethlon
“The Sox and the Giants would barnstorm the globe at the conclusion of the 1913 regular season. The story of that long forgotten adventure is skillfully excavated by James Elfers in [this] superb volume.”—State
“A well-told tale about baseball and the struggles it took to put on a suitable performance under some appallingly bad conditions…. Elfers has an easy style of writing and punctuates the narrative nicely with historical quotes. He even manages an interview with one-hundred-year-old Ben Mall, of Blue Rapids, Kansas, ‘the last living witness to the Tour to End All Tours.’”—Elysian Fields Quarterly
“The spirit of that long ago time and the men who played has been captured.”—UD Daily
“Elfer’s seems to have done a fine job with the tour itself, and that makes the book worth reading.”—R. J. Lesch, The Inside Game