On the Origins of Sports

The Early History and Original Rules of Everybody’s Favorite Games

By Gary Belsky Neil Fine

New York Times Bestseller

“Fascinating.”—Men’s Health, Best Beach Reads for Sports Fans

On the Origins of Sports is an illustrated book built around the original rules of 21 of the world’s most popular sports, from football and soccer to wrestling and mixed martial arts. Never before have the original rules for these sports coexisted in one volume. Brimming with history and miscellany, it is the ultimate sports book for the thinking fan.

Each sport’s chapter includes a short history, the sport’s original rules, and a deeper look into an element of the sport, such as the evolution of the baseball glove; sports with war roots; a compendium of sports balls; and iconic sports trophies.

Written by ESPN The Magazine’s former editor in chief, Gary Belsky, and executive editor, Neil Fine, and filled with period-style line drawings in a handsome package, On the Origins of Sports is a book that sports fans and history buffs alike will want to display on their coffee tables, showcase on their bookshelves, and treasure for generations.

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Meet the Authors
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Gary Belsky

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Review quotes
—Men’s Health, Best Beach Reads for Sports Fans
“Sports buffs will prize this in-depth look at competitive games, including the history of the baseball glove and iconic trophies.”
—Real Simple, Gifts for Dads

Origins thrills with fascinating baseball facts.”

“Not only . . . a deeply informative read, but also one that’s awash in trivia and entertaining facts. The book runs the gamut from playground favorites like kickball to mainstream monsters like football.”
—Athlon Sports & Life
“A book this informative has no right to be this much fun. On the Origins of Sports is a winner.”
—Dan Okrent, founder, Rotisserie Baseball

“Belsky and Fine are two of the sports world’s greatest sleuths, uncovering the kind of nuggets that will make anyone who reads this delightful book smarter, funnier, and the toast of any conversation.”
—Chad Millman, editor in chief, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine

“I found this book to be massively fun, educational, and inspiring—
and I don’t even like sports.”
—A. J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically and Drop Dead Healthy
Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
April 19, 2016