Today I'm sending the files for the newest incarnation of 21: The Illustrated Journal of Outsider Baseball to the printer. The idea for this journal began with a blog I started in February of 2010 with this very blog, “The Infinite Baseball Card Set”. While the website was and still is fun, I longed to create something that I could hold in my hands; so, in 2011, I put out a 20 page test edition of 21, which featured Jewish ballplayers. While a good first step, I wasn’t quite happy with the result and followed it up in 2012 with a 40-page hardcover volume 2 of 21. I was much happier with this, but it proved too costly to self-publish, and the run was limited to 100 copies. What this second volume did do was convince Simon and Schuster to publish The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes, my 240 page hardcover book that was very well reviewed when released in 2015.
Moving forward, I decided that I wanted to try another edition of 21. At 72 pages, this shorter journal format allows me to (hopefully) publish a few issues a year and gives me the flexibility to do some additional features, such as a demonstration of an illustration in process, historical uniform research, and book reviews. I spent more than two years experimenting with different layouts, finally settling on this final one.
Although this volume was written and illustrated solely by myself, in the future I would like to collaborate with other baseball historians, fans, and writers. I think 21 can bring something new to the table that fans of baseball history have been waiting for. I’m not aiming to start an academic journal; there are plenty of those already. Instead, I would like 21 to be a colorful trip through baseball’s past, the stories told just like the ones passed down to me by my father and grandfather.
Some of the characters you’ll meet in 21 are well known, but I try to focus on their little-known aspects, such as Lou Gehrig’s college career. Other players will be more obscure: I’m pretty sure that no baseball historian has ever written about Al Gizelbach or Karl Scheel. Some, like Johnny Wright, have been mentioned in books or articles, but their whole story never told in full - until now. This is what 21 is for. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did putting it together.