John Thorn: A Brief Introduction

Almost all baseball fans and scholars are familiar with the work of John Thorn. His many baseball books published over the past thirty years include Total Baseball: The Ultimate Baseball Encyclopedia, The Hidden Game of Baseball, and Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame. In addition to serving as chief editor to Total Baseball, he was the founder of Total Sports Publishing and served as its publisher from 1998 to 2002. Mr. Thorn has written numerous essays and op-eds for the Boston Globe, the New York Times, American Heritage, and The Sporting News. His newest book, Baseball in the Garden of Eden, was published in 2011.

Some may know Mr. Thorn as one of the primary “talking heads” in Ken Burns’ 1994 “Baseball” documentary, but his involvement was actually much greater. He was also the senior creative consultant for this most significant historical project. In June 2006 The Society For American Baseball Research (SABR) awarded Thorn its highest award, the Bob Davids Award. The award honors those whose contributions to SABR and baseball reflect the ingenuity, integrity, and self-sacrifice of the founder and past president of SABR, L. Robert "Bob" Davids. In our opinion, John Thorn is the single most knowledgeable and insightful baseball scholar in the world, and for many reasons, including the fact that he has had the benefit of studying collections at libraries all over the country for so many years, he may be the single most knowledgeable and accomplished scholar specializing in baseball in history to ever live. We are not alone! In March 2010, John Thorn was named the Official Baseball Historian for Major League Baseball.

It is a great honor and privilege for Robert Edward Auctions to have had the opportunity to present several essays by the esteemed John Thorn in the pages of REA’s catalogs, as well as to consult with him on numerous issues of historical import. We hope to eventually present a complete timeline of the history of Baseball as compiled by John Thorn. In the meantime, please visit John Thorn’s essays on the rich history of the game presented on Major League Baseball’s website.