The Tour to End All Tours


The Tour to End All Tours

The Story of Major League Baseball's 1913-1914 World Tour

James E. Elfers

292 pages


March 2003


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

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.

Author Bio

James E. Elfers is a library analyst at the University of Delaware.


"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

"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


2004 Larry Ritter Book Award, sponsored by the Deadball Committee and Society for American Baseball Research, winner

2004 Seymour Medal, sponsored by the Society for American Baseball Research, finalist

2003 Casey Award, sponsored by SPITBALL, the Literary Baseball Magazine, finalist