Current Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos is indeed a tyrannical assface, but he’s certainly not the first egomaniacal baseball money man to torment Charm City. In Where They Ain’t: The Fabled Life and Untimely Death of the Original Baltimore Orioles, the Team That Gave Birth to Modern Baseball, author Burt Solomon, a political reporter for the National Journal, uses sparse, precise prose to tell the bittersweet tale of the Birds in the 1890s, when Baltimore’s original boys of summer were considered the best in the land. But after the team won three straight National League pennants from 1894 to 1896—with the help of players like Wee Willie Keeler and Hughey Jennings—O’s magnate Harry von der Horst, Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers mastermind Charley Ebbets, and other money-stuffed honchos agreed to consolidate team ownership in order to reap monopolistic profits. Long story short? In just a few disappointing years, the badly burned Orioles would limp out of Baltimore bankrupt, early victims of baseball’s fascination with the almighty buck. Beware the past and bemoan the future when Solomon discusses and signs Where They Ain’t at 6 p.m. at Bridge Street Books, 2814 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. (202) 965-5200. (Sean Daly)

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