From the genesis of baseball in the 1840s, when so-called "kranks" cheered the teams of their choice, fans have been an ever-present component of the sport. As the number of fans has increased over the years, their influence has increased proportionally. Following the evolution of the game and its fans over more than a century, this book examines the role fans have played in the formation of modern baseball and the part the sport has played in the lives of its devotees.
How have fans influenced, reacted to, or been affected by baseball's changes through history? How do fans determine player popularity? Are there famous fans - and how do they manifest that interest? How has the evolution of baseball in the media, including newspapers, radio, and television, affected the fan base? The answers to these questions and more give a lively feel to this baseball history from a fan's perspective. The final chapter sums up the fan's importance to the sport of baseball.