The Tour to End All Tours: The Story of Major League Baseball's 1913-1914 World Tour

The Tour to End All Tours: The Story of Major League Baseball's 1913-1914 World Tour

The Tour to End All Tours: The Story of Major League Baseball's 1913-1914 World Tour

The Tour to End All Tours: The Story of Major League Baseball's 1913-1914 World Tour


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.


Ninety years ago, some of the most colorful men ever to play the game of baseball performed a remarkable feat. During the world’s last golden winter of promise, when there was no such term as “world war,” Charles A. Comiskey and John J. McGraw took their baseball teams around the world. More amazingly, after an odyssey of thirty thousand miles through thirteen nations, their tour was promptly forgotten about.

This story has fascinated me ever since I came across the tale by accident more than ten years ago. While engaged in some research for Kevin Kerrane, an English professor at the University of Delaware and author of several wonderful baseball books, I stumbled across some moldering accounts of this baseball adventure in the stacks and files of the Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown, New York. I had heard of the tour before, but I had no idea that their adventures had been so robust. Delighted with the discovery, I was amazed that almost nothing had been written about this tour since 1914. It was almost as though the tour had never occurred.

I knew then that this was a story that had to be told. This tour was, after all, Jim Thorpe’s first exposure on the international stage after the loss of his Olympic medals in 1912. This is a tour that involved two of the first five inductees to Cooperstown. How could men such as these gallop across the nation and around the world only to have their adventure be almost completely forgotten?

Plunging through piles of microfilm, I discovered a tour far more lively than I had even imagined. An almost shipwreck, a broiled ox head, a midnight party on the roof of the Manila Hotel, unexplained doings by baseball players in Shanghai; it was a boys’ adventure writ large by men who played a child’s game for a living.

In telling this story, I relied entirely on firsthand accounts. Newspapers from towns large and small gave me insights into how this tour was perceived . . .

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