By Barry Duchan
Editor's Note: We will publish a post from Barry Duchan every Sunday covering some aspect of Mets history. - M.S.
Thanks to a note in Mets Geek, I discovered that every issue of The Sporting News going back to 1886 and through 2003 is now available in a searchable data base that actually displays the pages from the original paper. To access this information (and it's free!), just go to paperofrecord.com and register. Then look under Missouri (the original home of TSN, also known as "the bible") for Sporting News.
Now, we can all relive every week of every season in baseball history. But more than that, for me, it means that I can now research pertinent news on players and teams from before I first started reading TSN, indeed from before I was born. What kind of coverage did the Negro leagues get? What was the reaction when the Yankees first hired Casey Stengel? What were the earliest references to all-time greats when they were still in the Minor Leagues? What were the roots of the Mets, and what was the reaction to the expansion draft?
Of course, you may have your own agenda, but just knowing this tool is available is fabulous news for every baseball fan who is interested in researching the past. If you're not familiar with the "old" Sporting News, be advised that it contained in-depth minor league as well as major league baseball coverage, not much of any other sport, and very little opinion or attitude, other than the prevailing conservative attitude of its publisher, although there were regular columns that provided some interesting notes that went beyond statistics.
I could not imagine better news. Of course, that's me, but I'm sure baseball fans everywhere will enjoy reading the reactions to trades, prospects, hirings, firings, an signings when they happened, not to mention just re-living seasons week by week as they developed.
For many years, I actually saved all my copies of the Sporting News going back to the 1960's when I first subscribed. Then, before I moved from Long Island, I sold them all to a dealer who made the trip from Michigan to pick them up. Once I started doing historical posts here on Metscentric, I would regret from time to time that I couldn't go back and read these issues. Now, with every copy available to me online, plus so much more, I am elated, not just free of thousands of pages of old newsprint.
I am very happy to be able to pass along this news. Enjoy!