Charles C. Alexander (1935- ) began his career as a baseball author with one big advantage: He’d already spent 20 years teaching, researching, and writing various aspects of 20th-century American history. So when Alexander turned his attentions to his beloved baseball — specifically, to a scholarly, comprehensive biography of Ty Cobb, ultimately published in 1984 — he was already well familiar with the many tools available to the historian. Alexander would follow up with biographies of John McGraw (1988), Rogers Hornsby (1996) and Tris Speaker (2007), inspiring a veritable flood of copiously researched baseball biographies written by authors who learned from Alexander that it was okay to take baseball seriously. In 2003, Alexander’s Breaking the Slump: Baseball in the Depression Era garnered the Seymour Medal, awarded by the SABR to “the best work of baseball history or biography published in the preceding year.” Today, Alexander is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Ohio University. In the summer of 2011, Southern Methodist University Press will publish Alexander’s latest work, Turbulent Seasons: Baseball in 1890-1891.
Click here to read Rob Neyer’s profile of Alexander in the Spring 2011 edition of the Baseball Research Journal.