Photo credit: Dion Ogust Photography
John Thorn brings
to Baseball in the Garden of Eden unparalleled authority as a historian
of the game, particularly in its formative years. Apart from his creation, with
Pete Palmer, of the long lived but lamentably demised Total Baseball,
he is often visible on MLBTV, ESPN, PBS, The History Channel, and other
television outlets as a sports commentator. He was also a major on-screen
presence in and chief consultant to Ken Burns’s 1994 PBS film, Baseball, recently
updated in a "Tenth Inning." In edition to co-editing Total
Baseball, he developed a companion website that was, for a time at the
dawn of the internet, the world’s largest website in terms of pages delivered.
Receiving the Bob Davids Award from the Society for American Baseball Research
in 2006, Thorn was described as "a baseball historian who, by restoring
early baseball to our awareness and by encouraging a new generation of
researchers, has done perhaps more than anyone else to help us grasp the unity
of our game's history and development; and a keen student of baseball
statistics, who through his writing and publication has given crucial impetus
to the sabermetric revolution."
Thorn co-wrote The Hidden Game of Baseball, which established
alternative statistics later recognized and adopted as official by Major League
Baseball, notably On Base Plus Slugging (OPS). His many books over the past
three decades also include Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame, The Game
for All America, Our Game, The Glory Days and, in 2009, New York 400
(a pictorial history of the city in conjunction with the Museum of the City of
New York). A complete bibliography appears here.
Thorn writes a regular column for VOICES, the publication
of the New York Folklore Society. He appears irregularly in the Boston
Globe, New York Times and New York Times Book Review. He is editor
of BASE BALL: A Journal of the Early Game, a scholarly semiannual in its
fifth yer of publication. In 1982 he created and for some time edited The
National Pastime, now completing its fourth decade of continuous
Thorn lives in Catskill, New York.