Dr. Harold Seymour

Baseball Historian

Stories about Harold Seymour
The Kid Teams of Brooklyn

On the Parade Grounds

As a boy Seymour not only played sandlot ball every chance he got, he read everything he could find about baseball techniques. He wanted not only to play high-class ball, he desired to help other boys play it well, too.

Starting while Seymour was in high school and continuing during part of his college career, in his "spare time" he started and ran boys' teams that played on the Parade Grounds of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, during the late twenties and early thirties. These teams-the Falcon A.C., the Creston B. B. Club, and the Fairmont Club--became well-known for their skill. The Crestons sometimes pretended to be an older, stronger club and played weekends as "the Camden Minor Leaguers." The letter "C" on their caps thus did double duty.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2011 18:35
Baseball at Drew University

Spalding's Guide to the Rescue

How could a boy graduating low in his high school class get into college? Through his knowledge of baseball!

Dr. William Tolley, then dean of Brothers College at Drew University, told in a book he wrote much later, At the Fountain of Youth, how Seymour appeared one day in his office with a sponsor (Tolley thought he remembered that the older person was Seymour's high school principal, but actually it was his minister).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 01:50
Coaching Wrestling, Not Baseball

History and Wrestling

Before he was able to find a teaching position at the college level, Seymour taught junior high school history in Norwich, New York. He accepted the position with the assurance that he would also be coaching baseball, but when he arrived to start work he learned that the chemistry teacher had been given the baseball position and that he, Seymour, was to coach wrestling-about which he knew nothing! So he enlisted the star wrestler to help him, learned the moves and how to help his boys, coached them and traveled to meets with them, and produced a winning team, popularly called "The Purple Matmen."

Last Updated on Sunday, 21 August 2011 02:09
That Baseball Ph.D.
At the time Seymour was about to be awarded his Ph.D. for the first dissertation on the history of American baseball, he was interviewed by the Cleveland News. After all, "The Rise of Major League Baseball to 1891" was a highly unusual title for a doctoral dissertation! News reporter Joe Madigan quoted Seymour as explaining, "No historian has ever deemed the subject worthy of scholarly investigation, despite the fact that baseball is a reflection of the development of American life. Learned men are sometimes very stuffy, you know."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 01:52
College Teaching without Baseball

Teaching College History

Fenn College in Cleveland became Seymour's second college-level teaching position; he had taught at Presbyterian College in South Carolina, and during world War II he left teaching to run his father's marine contracting business in New York City.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2011 05:50
Baseball on Radio and Television

Media Attention

Partly because we were living in the New York area when the second volume came out, Oxford University Press obtained considerable media attention for it, including radio and TV interviews. Mike Wallace interviewed Seymour on his radio show in August of 1971, complimenting Seymour afterwards on a good performance.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 01:59
Baseball Honors

The Casey Award

In 1991 The People's Game won The Casey Award, given annually by Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine. Editor Mike Shannon said it won conclusively over all finalists, including George Will's Men at Work. Since Seymour didn't feel up to traveling to accept the award at the Spitball banquet, I arranged to have a local photographer make a videotape of his necessarily-short acceptance speech; by then his health was in steep decline. I prepared his remarks in about five short sentences, writing them in very large type on a card, so that he could read them before the camera. He did so, weakly and ineffectively, but he accomplished the task. The Cooperstown Hall of Fame asked for a copy of this video for its archives, and I sent it.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2011 06:00
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