What kid doesn’t dream of making it to baseball’s Hall of Fame? Being fairly incompetent on the field, I had few illusions about making it to Cooperstown the conventional way, but I am very proud to go in through the side door of the library. It may not count as official enshrinement, but the research archive I put together in writing Spalding’s World Tour has been acquired by the Hall, and will henceforth be available to scholars as the Mark Lamster Papers, alongside the collections of Roger Angell, Roger Kahn, Robert Creamer, and others. It is a tremendous honor.
I’m also pleased that my work will continue to have a life, and perhaps be a source for writers of the future. The Spalding tour, with its intertwined themes of American diplomatic and commercial adventurism, not to mention its wonderful characters, is a subject that remains relevant and worthy of exploration, and I expect it will be so for years to come. It also seems appropriate to keep this material in Cooperstown, as that city’s claim as baseball’s place of invention is a product of Spalding’s fabricated history of the game. I am not the first to debunk the Doubleday myth, which has a disturbing staying power, but I am glad to have contributed, in some way, to the continuing efforts to bring enlightenment to the national game.