The Nervous Breakdowns of 19th Century Professional Ballplayers

Pro baseball in the 19th century was very different than today. They hadn’t invented the hot dog or the national anthem yet. A guy would lead the league with something like a .500 batting average and could also lead the league with something like 1 homerun. A ticket could be had for 25 Indian head pennies, and a player wouldn’t be paid much more for the season. Teams were only in the easternmost cities and their uniforms were turtlenecks and elf stockings. The players originated from all regions and backgrounds, but they all retired for the same reason – nervous breakdown. 

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