One of the e-books I'm currently reading is A Ball Player's Career
, the "autobiography" of the 19th century baseball star Cap Anson. (That it's ghost-written is painfully obvious.) It's moderately interesting, reading, for example, Anson's descriptions and evaluations of his fellow players (a few of whom I've actually heard of, like Al Spalding and "Old Hoss" Radbourne). But I've hit a couple of passages that stand out a little more than that.
First: I knew that Anson was a virulent racist, and was one of the main reasons baseball imposed the color bar, refusing to play against another team that had a black player. Naturally, most of the narrative doesn't touch this, but there's a passage where he enlists a young black man as the team mascot, and the language with which he describes the youngster - well, the phrase that begins with "no-account" is the mildest of it. Nasty man....
There's another bit, describing a barnstorming tour that led them across the continent and all the way to Australia. At one point, they spend a couple of weeks in San Francisco; Anson found its geography and architecture disappointing. The passage reads:
The really fine buildings, too, were few and far between, the majority of them being low wooden structures that looked like veritable fire-traps. They are built of redwood, however, and this, according to the natives, is hard to burn. The fact that the towns had not burned down yet would seem to bear out the truth of their assertion, though the Baldwin Hotel was built of the same material, and that went up in flames a little over a year ago[...]"
The book was published in 1900. (Anson played for the Chicago team, though he went there some years after that city's great fire.)
It isn't an eye-opening book, but it's decently interesting.