John Thorn

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For other people named John Thorn, see John Thorn (disambiguation).
Thorn in August 2010

John Thorn (born April 17, 1947) is a sports historian, author, and cultural commentator. Since March 1, 2011, he has been the Official Baseball Historian for Major League Baseball.[1][2][3] He lives in Saugerties, New York[4]

Early life[edit]

Thorn was born in Stuttgart, West Germany,[3] where his Polish Jewish parents had come as refugees.[2] Thorn immigrated to the United States in 1949. He graduated from Beloit College in 1968.[2][5]


Thorn is the author and editor of numerous books, including Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball,[2] Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Football, Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame, The Hidden Game of Baseball,[2] The Glory Days: New York Baseball 1947–1957, and The Armchair Book of Baseball.[2] He founded Total Sports Publishing and served as its publisher from 1998–2002. Thorn served as the senior creative consultant for the Ken Burns documentary Baseball.[5]

In 2004 Thorn discovered documentation that traced the origins of baseball in America to 1791 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In June 2006 SABR awarded Thorn its highest award, the Bob Davids Award.[6] The award honors those whose contributions to SABR and baseball reflect the ingenuity, integrity, and self-sacrifice of the founder and past president of SABR, L. Robert "Bob" Davids.

On March 1, 2011, Thorn was named the Official Baseball Historian for Major League Baseball.[5] "Thorn succeeds the late Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times baseball writer Jerome Holtzman, who served as Official Baseball Historian from 1999 until his death in 2008."[1] Thorn's most recent baseball book, Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game, was published with Simon and Schuster on March 15, 2011.[3][7]

Thorn is also the co-author with Pete Palmer and Bob Carroll of The Hidden Game of Football and with them co-editors of Total Football. His book New York 400, a graphical history of the city timed for its quadricentennial, created with the Museum of the City of New York and Running Press, was published in September 2009. Thorn is a columnist for Voices, the publication of the New York Folklore Society.


  1. ^ a b "John Thorn Named Official Baseball Historian". Press release March 1, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Mike Shannon (2002). Baseball: The Writer's Game (2 ed.). Brassey's Books. ISBN 1574884212. [page needed]
      "Baseball: The Writer's Game". Google Books. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c George Robinson (March 29, 2011). "Batter Up, Historically Speaking". The Jewish Week. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ John Thorn | SABR Retrieved 2014-09-17.
  5. ^ a b c "Q&A with John Thorn, baseball historian". Star Tribune ( March 27, 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Bob Davids Award – John Thorn". Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  7. ^ Carson Cistulli (January 10, 2011). "Received: Baseball in the Garden of Eden". NOTGRAPHS. FanGraphs ( Retrieved January 10, 2011. 

External links[edit]