As David Fleitz wrote in his biography of the ballplayer, Anson was baseball's first superstar. Though he was born in the midwest (Iowa), Anson had a deep-seated animosity toward blacks that was usually only present in southerners. After he reached status as baseball's most popular player in the 1880s, Anson used his influence to keep blacks out of professional baseball. As a player, Anson was large, strong, and agile for his era. He was frequently among batting leaders in the National League but was never considered a very good defensive first baseman. When he retired after the 1897 season after 27 years in pro ball, Anson was 45 and owned nearly every batting record in the books. His marks for games, hits, runs, and runs batted in were later eclipsed by the greats of the twentieth century.