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The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It

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From the Preface: This new enlarged edition of The Glory of Their Times contains the complete text and all the photographs that were in the original book, published in 1966, plus for the first time the first-person stories of four additional major-league players - George Gibson, Babe Herman, Specs Toporcer, and Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.


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From the Preface: This new enlarged edition of The Glory of Their Times contains the complete text and all the photographs that were in the original book, published in 1966, plus for the first time the first-person stories of four additional major-league players - George Gibson, Babe Herman, Specs Toporcer, and Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.

30 review for The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    All these were honored in their generation, And were the glory of their times. Ecclesiasticus 44:7 Boston Red Sox, spring traing, 1915. Hot Springs Arkansas Highlighted players, left to right Smokey Joe Wood Dutch Leonard Babe Ruth Carl Mays Germany Schaefer (not on team, happened to be in town) (to enlarge photo, click, click again on Flickr) This is a TOP TEN book in my baseball library. Availability. IN PRINT – New, used, Kindle, audio – all available. Type. PLAYERS/ERA/HISTORY Use. READ/[EH?] _explan All these were honored in their generation, And were the glory of their times. Ecclesiasticus 44:7 Boston Red Sox, spring traing, 1915. Hot Springs Arkansas Highlighted players, left to right Smokey Joe Wood Dutch Leonard Babe Ruth Carl Mays Germany Schaefer (not on team, happened to be in town) (to enlarge photo, click, click again on Flickr) This is a TOP TEN book in my baseball library. Availability. IN PRINT – New, used, Kindle, audio – all available. Type. PLAYERS/ERA/HISTORY Use. READ/[EH?] _explanation_ The author, Lawrence Ritter (1922-2004), was born in New York City. Taught economics and finance for thirty years at New York University. During part of that time he held the chairmanship of the Department of Finance and Business at NYU’s Graduate School of Business Administration. (Adding the dates and years up suggests that Ritter continued his academic career into the middle or late 1970s.) He co-wrote, with two others, a college textbook, Principles of Money, Banking, and Financial Markets, published in 1974 and reprinted in many editions. But, like the evolutionary biologist Steven J. Gould, Ritter had a lifelong love affair with baseball. In the original preface to this book, he writes,I first thought of this book back in 1961, when Ty Cobb died in Atlanta Georgia, at the age of seventy-four. It seemed to me then that someone should do something, and do it quickly, to record for the future the remembrances of a sport that has played such a significant role in American life. Ty Cobb symbolized America from the turn of the century to World War I perhaps better than any other single figure, just as Babe Ruth symbolized America between the wars.Ritter took this task upon himself, and over the next several years found time to travel 75,000 miles with a tape recorder, tracking down men who had played the game in the early part of the century. When he found them (seldom easily) his style was to make them comfortable in conversation, then just let the tape roll. He writes that his role was that of “catalyst, audience, and chronicler.” He didn’t ask them specific questions, just wanted them to talk. (view spoiler)[The original tapes are now kept in the Baseball Hall of Fame. (hide spoiler)] Tracking them down was not always easy. (view spoiler)[In his preface to the 1986 edition, Ritter mentions his discovery (after failing to find players by contacting teams they had played for) that the best way of finding out where these players might be was to consult phone books in the places they grew up, and contact anyone with the same last name. But, Not that it was any bed of roses from there on in … consider the tracking down of Sam Crawford … I was told that Sam lived in Los Angeles … but when I arrived at the address, his wife said he didn’t like big cities, so she seldom saw him … she wouldn’t tell me where he was, “he’d be furious” … After I pleaded for hours, Mrs. Crawford relented somewhat … giving me “one small hint”. If I drove north somewhere between 175 and 225 miles, I’d be “warm” … A long drive and inquiries at post offices, real-estate agencies, and grocery stores placed me, two days later, in the small town of Baywood Park, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. For two days I made no further progress. On the morning of the fifth day I took some wash to the local Laundromat and sat disgustedly watching the clothes spin. Seated next to me was a tall, elderly gentleman reading a frayed paperback. Idly, I asked if he had ever heard of Sam Crawford, the old ballplayer. “Well, I should certainly hope so,” he said, “bein’ as I’m him”. Crawford’s chapter starts with, “I don’t know how you found me, but since you’re here you might as well come in and sit down.” (hide spoiler)] The book has tons of great photos, and 26 chapters, each chronicling the taped words of a player. They read as if they’ve been edited a bit – no ums and ahs, no garbled sentences. All the text is in the voice of the player, there are no words of Ritter’s. Let’s call these monologues “stories”. Each player winds his own way through his story, going where his memory leads him – at least that’s the way it’s been put together. Each chapter is unique, different sorts of memories, different emphases. Some players talk much more about specific seasons or other players, some seem to try to stroll down memory lane in a connected, chronological manner. Here are a few topics that were frequently touched on. Babe Ruth Of the 26 players, 14 mention Ruth.(view spoiler)[But of the fourteen, only three ever played on the same team as Ruth. Harry Hooper played with him on the Red Sox every year that Ruth was there (1914-19); Sam Jones was on that Sox team from ’16 to ’19, then on the Yankees with him from 1922-26; and Lefty O’Doul was on the 1920 & ’22 Yankee teams. Hooper spends a whole page talking about Ruth. “In 1914, 6 foot 2, 198 pounds, all muscle … slim waist, huge biceps, no self-discipline. Like a lot of others, except he could eat more, and hit a baseball farther, than any of the others.”half a dozen hot dogs, as many bottle of soda pop … would hold Babe for a couple hours … a nineteen-year-old kid! … I saw it all happen … this kid, crude, poorly educated, only lightly brushed by the social veneer we call civilization… gradually transformed into the idol of American youth and the symbol of baseball the world over – I saw a man transformed from a human being into something pretty close to a god. Sam Jones recalls the success those teams had. “I was his teammate on the Red Sox for four years, and on the Yankees for five. We won five pennants and three World Series together." But most of the players who remember Ruth were never a teammate of is. And it’s remarkable how again and again they say the same sorts of things about him. Rube Bressler: “Ruth was easygoing, friendly … He played by instinct, sheer instinct. He wasn't smart, didn't have any education, but he never made a wrong move on a baseball field." Hank Greenberg and Sam Crawford name this instinct that Ruth had, both calling him a “natural player”. Jimmy Austin provides a quote that it seems they would all agree with.What a warm-hearted, generous soul. Always friendly, always time for a laugh or a wisecrack. The Babe always had a twinkle in his eye, and when he’d hit a homer against us he’d never trot past third without giving me a wink. The Babe would give you the shirt off his back. All you had to do was ask him. The big fellow wasn’t perfect. Everybody knows that. But that guy had a heart. He really did. A heart as big as a watermelon, and made out of pure gold. (hide spoiler)] Contrasting “modern” baseball and the game they played Recall that most of these tapes were made in the early 1960s, so the modern players and game they talk of were of that era, say the 1950s and early 60s. (They had no notion of the exploding salaries of the free-agent era). About the only one who insists that the old players were better than modern players is Lefty O’Doul. Although he admits that a player like Mays is probably as fast, and as good a fielder, as the old timers, he says that he couldn’t approach the hitting abilities of Ruth, or Cobb, or Joe Jackson. But others, such as Fred Snodgrass and Chief Meyers, do think that the old timers had to be more intelligent, had to use their heads more in the old game. And, in general, when that old game is contrasted to the modern one, the differences center around things like the speed of the old game, not just of the players, but of the play of the game, how there wasn’t all the time-wasting found in the modern game, as well as things like the emphasis on scoring a run or two instead of waiting for a home run, more strategy. (view spoiler)[The era of 1950s baseball is notorious for de-emphasizing base stealing. (hide spoiler)] And the toughness of those old players, being injured more often because of the equipment, the playing conditions, the hard to see balls, then continuing to play when injured (only 17 man rosters in the game until around 1910). A long-gone era Some of the memories speak to the differences in those past years, not in baseball, but in the very fabric of life. The ubiquity of train transportation, a highlight being Lefty O’Doul’s memory of riding the coal burning train in the Western League in 1917. “If you opened the window you’d be eating soot and cinders all night long. If you closed it you’d roast to death.” Jimmy Austin even recalls travelling between series in Cleveland & Detroit by boat! And growing up in those days for some of these players, where baseball offered an escape from a harsh life. Stan Coveleski remembers when he was 12, in 1902, working in the coal mines in Shamokin PA – 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, paid $3.75 for the 72 hours. Less dangerous work paid less. In 1897 Al Bridwell, age 13, worked a 60 hour week in a shoe factory for a $1.25 paycheck. The players. In this section I list all the players covered in the book. Like the chapter headings, I give the name of the player, and the years he played in the Major Leagues; as well as the year they were born, and Bill James’ rating of where the player ranks in the top 100 players at his position. Following that, there’s a spoiler where I give some additional information about the player. Rube Marquard. [1908-25] b.1886,Cleveland.(view spoiler)[LHP. Giants,Dodgers,Reds,Braves. HOF-1971. A rather touching thread of the story is Marquard’s father’s anger at his becoming a baseball player; which is tied up years later when his dad comes, unannounced, to see him play in Brooklyn – a reconciliation in which dad says he’s proud of his son. (hide spoiler)] Tommy Leach. [1898-1918] b.1877,French Creek NY. BJ#20-3B(view spoiler)[OF-3B-SS. Pirates,Cubs,Reds. Speed. Hit four triples in the 1903 WS. Of 62 career homers, 49 were inside the park. Led NL with 6 HR in 1902. One of the players who felt that the game of his day was more exciting than the modern game – more speed, stolen bases, bunting – more TRIPLES! (hide spoiler)] Davy Jones. [1901-15] b.1880,Cambria Wisconsin.(view spoiler)[OF. Milwaukee (AL),Browns,Cubs Tigers,White Sox,Pittsburgh(FL). Played in Tigers’ outfield with Sam Crawford and Ty Cobb. Tells of a game, he’s on 3rd, Germany Shaefer on 1st, Shaefer will steal 2nd, Jones goes home on the throw. But no throw. So next pitch Schaefer “steals” back to first; next pitch takes off for second again, catcher throws in frustration, Jones scores, Schaefer safe. All’s well. (hide spoiler)] Sam (Wahoo Sam) Crawford. [1899-1917] b.1880,Wahoo Nebraska. BJ#10-RF(view spoiler)[OF-1B. Reds,Tigers. HOF-1957. Holds ML record for career triples, 309. (The top nine players in this category all played before 1921. #10 is Paul Waner with 191 triples.) Crawford a reader. Recommends Robert Ingersoll, quotes Santayana, favorite writer is Balzac. (hide spoiler)] George (Moon) Gibson. [1905-18] b.1880,London,Ontario. BJ#95-C(view spoiler)[C. Pirates,Giants. “Gibson had black and blue marks from nineteen foul tips, a damaged hand, a six inch bruise on his hip where thrown bat had hit, and three spike cuts. Hadn’t missed a game, thought he was lucky.” (hide spoiler)] Jimmy (Pepper) Austin. [1909-22] b.1879,Swansea,Wales. BJ#85-3B(view spoiler)[3B-SS-C. Yankees,Browns (hide spoiler)] Fred (Snow) Snodgrass. [1908-16] b.1887,Ventura CA. (view spoiler)[OF-1B. Giants,Braves. Whole team learned sign language for Dummy Taylor. Tells of Charles “Victory” Faust, Bugs Raymond throwing his classy watch into the air and Al Bridwell putting a bullet through it. “The years I look back at most fondly,those I’d like to live over, are the years when I played center field for the New York Giants. (hide spoiler)] Stanley (Covey) Coveleski. [1916-28] b.1889,Shamokin PA. BJ#58-P(view spoiler)[RHP. A’s,Indians,Senators,Yankees. HOF-1969. Once pitched seven full innings without throwing ball one. (hide spoiler)] Al Bridwell . [1905-15] b.1884,Friendship,Ohio.(view spoiler)[SS-2B-3B. Reds,Braves,Giants,Cubs,St. Louis(FL). In Portsmouth OH, kids formed teams from different sections of town – “the colored teams and white teams started to challenge each other, before you know it we were playing all the time and thinking nothing of it.” (hide spoiler)] Harry Hooper. [1909-25] b.1887,Bell Station CA. BJ#43-RF(view spoiler)[OF. Red Sox,White Sox. HOF 1971. Talks of all the college men in the game, not graduates necessarily, but came to the majors from Holy Cross, Illinois, Vermont, St. Mary’s, Maine, Fordham, Bucknell, Washington U., Santa Clara, Maryland, U. of California, Gettysburg, Georgetown. (hide spoiler)] Joe (Smokey Joe) Wood. [1908-22] b.1889,Kansas City. BJ#94-P(view spoiler)[OF-RHP. Red Sox,Indians. First team he played on for pay was a Bloomer Girls team. Many of the team members were guys who wore wigs. His dad “thought it was sort of unusual, but didn’t object – must have appealed to his sense of the absurd.” (hide spoiler)] Chief Meyers. [1909-17] b.1880,Riverside CA. BJ#60-C(view spoiler)[C. Giants,Dodgers,Braves. Indian from a California tribe who went to Dartmouth (originally “Moor’s Indian Charity School”). “I never got to finish, I regret it to this day.” (hide spoiler)] Hans (Honus) Lobert. [1903-17] b.1881,Wilmington Delaware. BJ#68-3B(view spoiler)[3B-SS. Pirates,Cubs,Reds,Phillies,Giants. Age 15, takes $3.50 xmas gift to buy his first pair of baseball shoes, puts them on at home, runs outside – “I can still see my mom and dad watching me out the front window – I could hardly see them it was snowing so hard – with me out there dancing in the snow in those beautiful shoes.” (hide spoiler)] Rube Bressler. [1914-32] b.1894,Coder PA.(view spoiler)[OF-1B-P. Phillies,Reds,Dodgers,Cardinals. (hide spoiler)] Babe Herman. [1926-45] b.1903,Buffalo NY. BJ#50-RF(view spoiler)[OF-1B. Dodgers,Reds,Cubs,Pirates,Tigers. Explains the famous play in which he doubled off the wall with the bases loaded, and winds up on third base with two of his teammates, for a double play. Another story features “Uncle Robbie”, the Dodger manager, agreeing to catch a ball dropped from a plane. But after two baseballs completely miss the field, no more balls, but the plane circles back and a grapefruit is dropped. Everyone on the ground thinks its another baseball. Robbie determined to catch it, drops right in his mitt, explodes. Robbie knocked down, covered with liquid, thinks he’s bleeding to death. Wish I’d been there. (hide spoiler)] Edd Roush. [1913-31] b.1893,Oakland City Indiana. BJ#15-CF(view spoiler)[OF. White Sox, Indianapolis (FL),Newark(FL),Giants,Reds. (hide spoiler)] Bill (Wamby) Wambsganss. [1914-26] b.1894,Cleveland Ohio. BJ#111-2B(view spoiler)[2B-SS-3B. Indians,Red Sox, A’s. Famous for making the only unassisted triple player in WS history in 1920. In 1914 Ring Lardner, intrigued by his name, wrote The Naps bought a shortstop named Wambsganss, Who is slated to fill Ray Chapman’s pants. But when he saw Ray, And the way he could play, He muttered, “I haven’t a clam’s chance!” Chapman, the Cleveland SS, was killed in 1920 when he was hit in the head by a pitched ball. “Chappie the most popular man on the team, had talked of retiring after that year. His wife was pregnant. An awful tragedy. Such a sweet guy.” (hide spoiler)] Sad Sam (Horsewhips Sam) Jones. [1914-35] b.1892,Woodsfield Ohio.(view spoiler)[RHP. Indians,Red Sox,Yankees,Browns,Senators,White Sox. Jointly holds the record of 22 consecutive seasons pitching in one league. (hide spoiler)] Bob O'Farrell. [1915-35] b.1896,Waukegan Illinois. BJ#46-C(view spoiler)[C. Cubs,Cardinals,Giants,Reds. Threw out Babe Ruth attempting to steal to end the 1926 World Series. (hide spoiler)] Specs Toporcer. [1921-28] b.1899,New York City.(view spoiler)[SS-2B-3B. Cardinals. Never played baseball in high school, college, or the minor leagues, straight from the sandlot to the majors. Later gradually went blind, became a motivational speaker. (hide spoiler)] Lefty O'Doul. [1919-34] b.1897,San Francisco. BJ#52-LF(view spoiler)[OF-LHP. Yankees,Red Sox,Giants,Phillies,Dodgers. (hide spoiler)] Goose Goslin. [1921-38] b.1900,Salem NJ. BJ#16-LF(view spoiler)[OF. Senators,Browns,Tigers. HOF-1968. Goslin played every inning of every WS game ever played by the Senators (1924, ’25, ’33) (hide spoiler)] Willie Kamm. [1923-35] b.1900,San Francisco. BJ#62-3B(view spoiler)[3B. White Sox,Indians. In 1922 the White Sox bought him from the San Francisco Seals (PCL) for a record $100,000. Years later the Sox gave him the cancelled check as a memento. (hide spoiler)] Heinie Groh. [1912-27] b.1889, Rochester NY. BJ#21-3B(view spoiler)[3B-3B. Giants,Reds,Pirates. Famous for his “bottle bat”. Referred to in the Cincinnati Times-Star (1919) as “A tiny man, yet faultless as the Pythian Apollo”. Like Edd Roush, believes the Reds would have won the tainted 1919 WS anyway – “that’s what I thought then, and I still think so today.” (hide spoiler)] Hank Greenberg. [1933-47] b.1911,New York City. BJ#8-1B(view spoiler)[1B-OF. Tigers,Pirates. HOF-1956. Greatest Jewish position player in baseball history.(view spoiler)[Greatest pitcher? Sandy Koufax, of course. (hide spoiler)] 1929, the Yankees tried to sign him, a scout took him to Yankee Stadium, pointed at Gehrig, said “He’s all washed up, you’ll take his place." Hank looked at Gehrig’s build and refused. Gehrig played every day for another ten years. Signed with Detroit for a $3000 bonus, another $6000 when he reported after college. After one semester quite to play baseball. In the Depression, remembers the players sitting around in the hotel lobby waiting for someone to discard a newspaper. The 1934 Detroit infield (Gehringer, Billy Rogell, Marv Owen and him) that drove in 462 runs (Not counting the catcher, Mickey Cochran – another 76); his war years (May ‘40-June ’45), partly spent with the 20th Bomber Command, USAF in the China-Burma-India theater); his grand-slam 9th inning HR on the last day of the 1945 season to win the pennant. Never let anti-Jewish remarks bother him. “You want to talk about real bigotry, that was what Jackie Robinson had to contend with in 1947." (hide spoiler)] Paul (Big Poison) Waner. [1926-45] b.1903,Harrah Oklahoma. BJ#9-RF(view spoiler)[OF. Pirates,Dodgers,Braves,Yankees. He and his brother Lloyd (Little Poison) manned the Pirate outfield together from 1927 to 1940, and in their careers totaled 5611 hits, more than any other brothers in MLB history. Memories of the 1938 Homer in the Gloamin’; of Honus Wagner, in his 60s, coaching with the Pirates in the 1930s, taking infield at SS: “When he did that, a hush would come over the whole ball park, and every player on both teams would should stand there, watching every move he made.” (hide spoiler)] As Waner concludes his story, and the book: “I don’t know … it all seems like it happened only yesterday.” _next TOP TEN_ _to MAJOR LEAGUES_

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    This is a must-read for baseball fans. I know there aren’t that many people who give a shit about baseball but I have really grown to appreciate it. This book is a transcription of interviews with baseball players who played around the turn of the century. It was published in the 60’s. The stories are great and I just have to wonder what happened to this sport. It was such in integral part of American culture (the little that exists) and it’s really fallen by the wayside. It was mentioned in the This is a must-read for baseball fans. I know there aren’t that many people who give a shit about baseball but I have really grown to appreciate it. This book is a transcription of interviews with baseball players who played around the turn of the century. It was published in the 60’s. The stories are great and I just have to wonder what happened to this sport. It was such in integral part of American culture (the little that exists) and it’s really fallen by the wayside. It was mentioned in the book that the evolution of the ball itself really changed the sport. Fields used to be huge and the balls were heavy and hard to hit. There were some references to how the fans became more interested in seeing homers and high scoring games. The balls changed to accommodate. I tend to agree that this dramatically influenced the decline of the sport. Baseball has often been referred to as “the thinking man’s sport”. I couldn’t agree more. There are so many subtleties and strategies that go unnoticed. I love the thinking aspect and almost all of the players interviewed talk about how you had to be smart and they were often penalized for not thinking on the field. Many of them were college educated and made little money as professional players. That’s quite a difference by today’s standards. I really appreciated this book and learned a lot. My favorite player interview is with Fred Snodgrass, it was funny and charming. I also learned about Jim Thorpe (http://www.cmgww.com/sports/thorpe/) and pretty much had my heart broken over it. I never knew anything about him until reading this book. Jim Thorpe was Native American. He was described as the greatest athlete of the 20th century having earned 2 gold medals in the 1912 Olympics. The King of Sweden presented him with an award declaring him “the greatest athlete that ever lived”. He had his medals stripped from him the following year because he played two seasons of semi-pro baseball which made him ineligible in the eyes of the Olympic Committee. They took his medals back and removed his name from the record books. This is the part of the story that broke my heart: "Jim was very proud of the great things he'd done. A very proud man....Very late one night Jim came in and woke me up. ... He was crying, and tears were rolling down his cheeks. `You know, Chief,' he said, `the King of Sweden gave me those trophies, he gave them to me. But they took them away from me. They're mine, Chief; I won them fair and square.' It broke his heart and he never really recovered." -- Chief Meyers, Thorpe's roommate and catcher for the New York Giants I almost felt like I had to lead a crusade to have his medals restored but someone beat me to it. They were restored long after he died in 1982. He died of a heart attack, alone… in a trailer. Sigh. The least I can do is tell the story of his injustice.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    I would give this book more stars if I could. Maybe 10. This is, hands down, the best baseball book I have ever read! It was absolutely delightful! The book is, if I understand correctly, interviews with ballplayers, transcribed from tapes which now reside in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. I had not heard of a lot of these players before, but now love them as much or more than the players I follow today. Players like Rube Marquard, Tommy Leach, Davy Jones, Sam Crawford, to name a few. I knew o I would give this book more stars if I could. Maybe 10. This is, hands down, the best baseball book I have ever read! It was absolutely delightful! The book is, if I understand correctly, interviews with ballplayers, transcribed from tapes which now reside in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. I had not heard of a lot of these players before, but now love them as much or more than the players I follow today. Players like Rube Marquard, Tommy Leach, Davy Jones, Sam Crawford, to name a few. I knew of Lefty O'Doul and Goose Goslin, Edd Roush, Hank Greenberg, and I think I had heard of Heinie Groh. Such great interviews! And oh, how different this great game was back in those days. Most of these players played around the turn of the 20th century. Many of them played for John McGraw's Giants. There were Pirates, Red Sox, Braves (Boston Braves), Cardinals, and even a few Yankees. I learned so much from this book. For example the greatest pitcher who ever pitched was Walter Johnson. Or Smokey Joe Wood. Or Christy Mathewson. The greatest hitter ever was Ty Cobb. Or Paul Waner. Or Babe Ruth. The best outfielder ever was Harry Hooper. Or...hopefully you get the picture. Of course, who was best is always relative, and each one of these players has a different idea of who was best. Walter Johnson was quoted as saying that not a man alive could pitch faster than Smokey Joe Wood. While many of the batters said that Walter Johnson had a fast ball that sometimes couldn't even be seen. I laughed. I cried. I made 26 new "friends." And it made me love baseball all over again. (Not that I stopped, mind you...it just reminded me what a great and glorious game it is.) One very noticeable thing was that most of these guys talked more about other players than they did themselves. They stood up for people like Fred Merkle who was blamed for the Giants losing the 1908 pennant to the Cubs. They stood up for Fred Snodgrass who was blamed for losing the 1912 World Series. They talked about Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Honus Wagner, who, apparently truly was one of the greatest players to ever play the game. He's more than just a valuable baseball card. I could go on and on about this one. I intend to keep this book as long as I live and read it over and over again. Perhaps every time I get frustrated with today's crybabies, and every time baseball breaks my heart like it did in 2011, I'll pick this book up and fall in love with it all over again. If you are a baseball fan, read this book. If you're not, perhaps it will make you one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    Per the advice of a fellow baseball book lover, I listened to the last 25% on audio - that was fantastic! Whether audio, e-book, or hardcover, this book is a baseball classic and deserves all the praise it gets. With so many reviews of this book pretty much covering everything I had to say about it, I will skip writing a formal review and just say that every good thing this book has brought out in other reviewers, I agree wholeheartedly. The stories have such an air of authenticity when Ritter j Per the advice of a fellow baseball book lover, I listened to the last 25% on audio - that was fantastic! Whether audio, e-book, or hardcover, this book is a baseball classic and deserves all the praise it gets. With so many reviews of this book pretty much covering everything I had to say about it, I will skip writing a formal review and just say that every good thing this book has brought out in other reviewers, I agree wholeheartedly. The stories have such an air of authenticity when Ritter just turned on the recorder and let them talk. If you read baseball books and have waited too long to pick it up, like I did, do yourself a favor and end that self-ban now.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steven Peterson

    This is a wonderful book, nostalgic but still powerful. The author tape recorded interviews with many old-time baseball players in the mod 1960s. He essential transcribed the recordings and published them in this book. The result is a first person narrative by many players from the very late 1800s through the 1940s. In a later edition, a handful of new interviews was included. The result is very interesting and even riveting. One way of addressing this is simply to note some of those interviewed- This is a wonderful book, nostalgic but still powerful. The author tape recorded interviews with many old-time baseball players in the mod 1960s. He essential transcribed the recordings and published them in this book. The result is a first person narrative by many players from the very late 1800s through the 1940s. In a later edition, a handful of new interviews was included. The result is very interesting and even riveting. One way of addressing this is simply to note some of those interviewed--the greats and the not-so-great: Rube Marquard, Sam Crawford, Fred Snodgrass, Joe Wood, Babe Herman, Specs Toporcor, Goose Goslin, Hank Greenberg, and Paul Waner. Each gives his sense of their career, their times, and the game of baseball. Many of the comments are awfully insightful. The vignettes also provide a sense of what baseball was like in the very late 19th century and first half of the 20th century. For baseball fans, this classic is still well worth reading. . . .

  6. 5 out of 5

    Campbell

    A fascinating and, at times, moving account of the early days of baseball, told by the players themselves. Amongst the many stories you will hear of the player who stole 1st base... from 2nd!... and the man who turned an unassisted triple play in the World Series. Even if you've no interest in the game itself, the audiobook (actually a compendium of interview footage with the players themselves) will hold you captive through sheer charm alone. I'd recommend this to anyone.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gary Hoggatt

    I am a huge baseball fan, and really appreciate the history of the game. I've watched Ken Burns' Baseball probably a half-dozen times. As such, I'm the exact target audience for Lawrence S. Ritter's book, The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It. This book was absolutely fantastic, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with any interest at all in baseball. Even if you aren't currently interested in the game's history, you will be by th I am a huge baseball fan, and really appreciate the history of the game. I've watched Ken Burns' Baseball probably a half-dozen times. As such, I'm the exact target audience for Lawrence S. Ritter's book, The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It. This book was absolutely fantastic, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with any interest at all in baseball. Even if you aren't currently interested in the game's history, you will be by the time you finish The Glory of Their Times. Originally published in 1966 including interviews with 22 players from the early 20th century, and expanded in 1984 with an additional four player interviews, Ritter sets out to capture the memories of the earliest players of the game for the ages, and does so brilliantly. The book consists of a chapter for each player interviewed, and Ritter lets the player tell their own story in their own way. It's absolutely fascinating to hear these players echoing through the decades and describing the way they played the game, their careers, their teammates, their managers, the business of baseball, and even the fans of the day as seen from the player's view. One of the aspects of the book that I enjoyed most is that many of the players discuss the same events or players, including each other, and it's great getting different takes on all of that. You'll hear all about what the players of the day, including his teammates, thought of Merkle's Boner, or what it was like to play with or against Ty Cobb, or what manager John McGraw was like to play for. By the time you finish the book, you'll feel like you've gotten to know all these other players just as well as the men interviewed, who range from Hall of Famers like Sam Crawford or Paul Waner to a career utility player like Specs Torporcer. Baseball fans who, like me, have enjoyed Ken Burns' Baseball documentary should read this book. In fact, I re-watched Baseball (once again) only a couple months before reading The Glory of Their Times, and I recognized many of the stories and quotes from the early episodes of Baseball as having come straight from these interviews. So, if you enjoyed those, there's a lot more like that here for you. Another part of the book that is well done is the inclusion of many, many photographs. Ritter gives the reader pictures of all the interviewees and many of the people they talk about, and the pictures are included in the text when relevant, instead of in a glossy insert in the middle of the book, so they're very effective in helping the reader visualize the events being described. I highly recommend The Glory of Their Times. It's a magnificent book that does a wondrous job of drawing the reader into the early days of baseball.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mike Schneider

    This is the book to be read by those who wish to truly understand the history of baseball. It is stories told to the author by those who lived them, including some of the very best of professional baseball's early players. I own several large shelves of baseball books, but this is the one I lend out the most and I recommend it to anyone who asks.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Doreen Petersen

    Great read on the beginning of baseball and the talented players. If you like baseball like me then this is the book for you.

  10. 5 out of 5

    David

    Being a die hard baseball fan, I am always on the look out for great baseball books. And after reading numerous lists of favorite baseball books by Amazon.com readers, it seemed that there was one unanimous choice, The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence Ritter. And let me say, that I wasn't dissapointed in the least. The beauty of this book is that you feel like you yourself are sitting down with the different players interviewed and having them regale you with stories about playing baseball in t Being a die hard baseball fan, I am always on the look out for great baseball books. And after reading numerous lists of favorite baseball books by Amazon.com readers, it seemed that there was one unanimous choice, The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence Ritter. And let me say, that I wasn't dissapointed in the least. The beauty of this book is that you feel like you yourself are sitting down with the different players interviewed and having them regale you with stories about playing baseball in the early 20th Century or earlier. The players interviewed are not all household names which adds so much to it. Most of us know the exploits of Cobb and Ruth. Not as many know the stories of Harry Hooper, Wahoo Sam Crawford, and Paul Waner to name just a few. This book is a pleasure to read through and all I can say is thank God that Mr. Ritter wrote this book when he did as all of the players interview here have since passed on I believe. Don't miss this book! (originally posted on Amazon.com)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    I can't remember any of my 10th grade teachers. I couldn't tell you what I did for my birthday last year. I have no memory of what I ate for lunch yesterday. But I still remember the exact location of the pitch that lost my Little League championship when I was 15. That's the most impressive part about this book: the amazingly detailed recollections of old ballplayers about their playing days decades earlier. They can remember stats, conversations, and crazy plays with such clarity and enthusiasm I can't remember any of my 10th grade teachers. I couldn't tell you what I did for my birthday last year. I have no memory of what I ate for lunch yesterday. But I still remember the exact location of the pitch that lost my Little League championship when I was 15. That's the most impressive part about this book: the amazingly detailed recollections of old ballplayers about their playing days decades earlier. They can remember stats, conversations, and crazy plays with such clarity and enthusiasm it'll make you wish Ritter had interviewed even more players. Reading these stories feels like sitting on your grandpa's knee while he regales you for hours. Not my grandpa, though, he's 90 and it would crush him. I would consider this book essential reading for anyone who loves baseball. Or old people.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    One of the all-time great baseball books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sue K H

    I was missing baseball and decided to buy The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It when I noticed that there was an audible version with the actual taped interviews from the players themselves. It was only $5! I could tell from the length that the audible is a condensed version of the print book, so I purchased both. I listened to this audio first. It is fantastic! The interviews were done shortly after Ty Cobb's death in the early 1960's. Th I was missing baseball and decided to buy The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It when I noticed that there was an audible version with the actual taped interviews from the players themselves. It was only $5! I could tell from the length that the audible is a condensed version of the print book, so I purchased both. I listened to this audio first. It is fantastic! The interviews were done shortly after Ty Cobb's death in the early 1960's. These contemporaries of Cobb all played somewhere between 1900-1945. Listening to the old baseball greats talk about themselves and their fellow players gave me the chills. It's magical. Even though these players were grossly underpaid by today's standards, none of them are bitter about it and many say, even looking back, they would have played for free. It's great to listen to them reminisce. If you're a fan of baseball, you're going to love this. I'm looking forward to the physical book as well and can't wait till it comes in the mail.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    What a great Costco find! Stumbled on this book that claimed to be the best baseball book ever published. Problem is, it was published in the 1960s initially. The author set out to find a handful of aged former baseball players, long forgotten yet residing somewhere in the country with balefuls of memories on the greatest sport of all time. Each chapter is essentially a different ballplayer from the early 20th century waxing poetic about different teammates, managers, and opponents. It was fasci What a great Costco find! Stumbled on this book that claimed to be the best baseball book ever published. Problem is, it was published in the 1960s initially. The author set out to find a handful of aged former baseball players, long forgotten yet residing somewhere in the country with balefuls of memories on the greatest sport of all time. Each chapter is essentially a different ballplayer from the early 20th century waxing poetic about different teammates, managers, and opponents. It was fascinating to hear their largely respectful testimony, but it was more surprising to read about many of the similarities they had with modern day ballplayers--contractual issues, struggles in their early big-league days, choices between playing and getting an education, and so on. Wonderful, and as an avid baseball fan myself, many of the names drummed up memories of when I was a kid studiously poring through all the old hall-of-famers' (et al) names and stats with reverence. Made me feel quite young again.

  15. 5 out of 5

    KOMET

    This book is an ABSOLUTE GEM for baseball fans. The author conducted a series of interviews during the 1960s with several of major league baseball’s early stars from what is now known as “The Dead-Ball Era,” the period from 1900 to 1919, when Babe Ruth (who had won renown as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox) hit a then astounding 29 home runs.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I could happily reread every year.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Like just about anyone else who picks up this book, I thought it would be fun to read first-hand accounts of early professional baseball. But I wonder if the same attention wasn’t bestowed on early twentieth century farm laborers or tradesmen or university professors or the players’ wives if there wouldn’t be nearly the same amount of intrigue. The subjects are simple, mostly very down-to-earth men. Most don’t care to inflate their own tires. Most love to reflect on the people they cared about. Like just about anyone else who picks up this book, I thought it would be fun to read first-hand accounts of early professional baseball. But I wonder if the same attention wasn’t bestowed on early twentieth century farm laborers or tradesmen or university professors or the players’ wives if there wouldn’t be nearly the same amount of intrigue. The subjects are simple, mostly very down-to-earth men. Most don’t care to inflate their own tires. Most love to reflect on the people they cared about. And while they played a sport that is vaguely familiar to the modern reader, all come from a society that feels many generations removed, when every town of a population of 1000 had an amateur baseball team and nobody knew what a social safety net was. Bill Wambsganss cut out a poem while riding the New York subway in 1926 and kept it in his pocket until it disintegrated. Native American John ‘Chief’ Meyers quit his studies at Dartmouth in order to embark on his professional baseball career and his biggest regret is that he never graduated. Stanley Kovelski explained, “There was nothing strange in those days about a twelve-year-old Polish kid in the mines for 72 hours a week at a nickel an hour.” “I’d throw stones at tin cans. I don’t know why. Just for something to do, I guess.” The book is edited, obviously, but only in the crudest manner, so each interview is published as an individual from a single source. Often, you get three or four different perspectives of the same legendary events – Merkel’s famous baserunning error, Snodgrass’s dropped fly ball. The epic September 1912 game where Walter Johnson went up against Smoky Joe Wood. I do wonder at what might have been edited out. These men come from a time when people, for the most part, did not air their dirty laundry. But there is a distinct bent toward nostalgia, which lends an escapist tinge for the reader. I’ll leave with this gem of a quote from the great Paul ‘Big Poison’ Waner: I come from a little town right outside of Oklahoma City, a town by the name of Harrah. You can spell that backwards or forwards. From there I went to State Teachers’ College at Ada. And you can spell that backwards or forwards, too. Which just naturally explains why I’ve always been a fuddle-dee-dud!” Try getting something that brilliant out of today’s ballplayer.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Luke Koran

    In one of the greatest contributions to preserving the history of professional baseball through the lengthy process of tracking down and interviewing the long-ago retired players that made the early era what it is, Lawrence Ritter’s “The Glory of Their Times” deserves every ounce of credit and appreciation it has ever accumulated, and then some. A total of 26 noteworthy ballplayers, most of whom began their professional careers before 1920, provided their oral history to this seldom-known writer In one of the greatest contributions to preserving the history of professional baseball through the lengthy process of tracking down and interviewing the long-ago retired players that made the early era what it is, Lawrence Ritter’s “The Glory of Their Times” deserves every ounce of credit and appreciation it has ever accumulated, and then some. A total of 26 noteworthy ballplayers, most of whom began their professional careers before 1920, provided their oral history to this seldom-known writer in the early 1960s (though four interviews were not conducted until the 1984 edition), shortly after the death of the all-time great Ty Cobb. The real beauty of each autobiography is that Ritter didn’t guide the “interview” like a normal newspaper reporter would, as they likely would have demanded that these men - many of whom hadn’t played the game of baseball for over 40 years, answer a set of specific questions until the writer was satisfied. No, Ritter was overly successful by first building a foundation of social and physiological comfortableness with each man, turning on the tape recorder and putting it out of eyesight, and simply letting his new friend talk about anything that came to mind. Consequently, the memories pour out onto the pages like a never-ending waterfall! This concept of the interviewee-led oral history was groundbreaking back then, and it helped save numerous memories of an early era in both baseball and American society before it was too late. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed Ritter’s organization of all 26 interviews, as those interviewees who happened to be former teammates (or adversaries) and who commented on the same player or event were often put in consecutive chapters in the book. Though legendary figures such as Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, and John McGraw were not interviewed by Ritter, they are as much a featured personality of this book as are the interviewees themselves. Any baseball enthusiast who wishes to learn more about the Dead Ball Era (and quite a bit of the Live Ball Era, too), how a professional ballplayer made his way through the ranks and what life was like in the major leagues, and who were the noteworthy AND forgotten ballplayers and coaches who made up these great times, look no further than “The Glory of Their Times”! If there ever was a required reading list for a baseball fan, this book would be on it, if not at the very top!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chad Simons

    I loved this collection of recorded interviews. Not sure I would do this one as a book. Its a must listen. This reminded me of sitting around the campfire listening to my grandfather spin tales. Revisionist history? Perhaps. Listening to these old players talk about times I wasn't even alive for was still so amazing. These memories, even if they were inflated, are so crisp. I can't refute the stories, and to be honest the accuracies or inaccuracies don't even matter. They are real because this i I loved this collection of recorded interviews. Not sure I would do this one as a book. Its a must listen. This reminded me of sitting around the campfire listening to my grandfather spin tales. Revisionist history? Perhaps. Listening to these old players talk about times I wasn't even alive for was still so amazing. These memories, even if they were inflated, are so crisp. I can't refute the stories, and to be honest the accuracies or inaccuracies don't even matter. They are real because this is how these guys remember them! It's fun to listen to these guys talk fondly about opponents. Makes it seem like such a different time, and it was indeed. Sportsmanship did not mean lacking competitiveness. Not everyone hated Cobb. Pitchers were great hitters. This was seriously such a fun listen. It was like reading or listening to Roger Angell talk about the good old days, only these were recordings of the players themselves. Loved it. I would read, errr listen to, a volume 2, and 3, and 4...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rob Bauer

    I regard this as one of the best books about baseball ever written. And, after authoring three books about baseball myself, I’ve read a lot of them. It’s a great oral history. Ritter spoke to about two dozen baseball players from early in the 20th century whose careers concluded anywhere between 1915 and 1945. As a result, the reader gets stories from a fair slice of baseball’s history. There are a handful of Hall of Famers but several other players who were just regular ballplayers but had inter I regard this as one of the best books about baseball ever written. And, after authoring three books about baseball myself, I’ve read a lot of them. It’s a great oral history. Ritter spoke to about two dozen baseball players from early in the 20th century whose careers concluded anywhere between 1915 and 1945. As a result, the reader gets stories from a fair slice of baseball’s history. There are a handful of Hall of Famers but several other players who were just regular ballplayers but had interesting life stories to tell. Whether you read it all at once or one player per day, you’ll love the stories and the storytelling. Any generation of baseball fans can enjoy Ritter’s book. If there’s any caveat here, it’s that the book is a little on the nostalgic side. Most baseball fans like nostalgia, however, so I guess that won’t be an impediment for most. So, if you like baseball history at all, give the book a read. I enjoyed it immensely.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terry Heller

    The Glory of Their Times is a loose oral history of the major leagues from the turn of the century through the 1930s. I recommend listening to the audio book , whichuses the actual recordings of the author interviewing the old ballplayers. Half of the stories sound as if they were told by Grandpa Simpson (the jaunty ragtime interstitials help). There's old-timey slang, some self-aggrandizement and self-deprecation, and a lot of bonkers details, like Fred Snodgrass talking about a man walking out The Glory of Their Times is a loose oral history of the major leagues from the turn of the century through the 1930s. I recommend listening to the audio book , whichuses the actual recordings of the author interviewing the old ballplayers. Half of the stories sound as if they were told by Grandpa Simpson (the jaunty ragtime interstitials help). There's old-timey slang, some self-aggrandizement and self-deprecation, and a lot of bonkers details, like Fred Snodgrass talking about a man walking out of the stands and onto the playing field, asking to speak to John McGraw, requesting a tryout, then running the bases in a three-piece suit, or Rube Marquard "bumming" rides on freight trains to get from Cleveland to Waterloo, Iowa to try out for his first minor league team. Its a light book that flies by, but time well spent for baseball fans.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Halloran

    What a neat audiobook! I felt like I was on the front porch spinning yarns with a bunch of old-timers, all of whom have been dead for generations. It was so interesting to hear how different things were in the early 1900s: player salaries, players buying their own uniforms, riding public transportation to games in their uniform because there were no locker rooms. If you’re a baseball history fan, this is a must listen. I say “listen” because the audiobook shares recorded conversations. You can h What a neat audiobook! I felt like I was on the front porch spinning yarns with a bunch of old-timers, all of whom have been dead for generations. It was so interesting to hear how different things were in the early 1900s: player salaries, players buying their own uniforms, riding public transportation to games in their uniform because there were no locker rooms. If you’re a baseball history fan, this is a must listen. I say “listen” because the audiobook shares recorded conversations. You can hear these stories in the words and with the emotion of the men telling it, something totally lost in the print version.

  23. 5 out of 5

    David Chung

    Twenty-six stories about boys becoming men and men remaining boys because of a game they loved. Indeed, these are love stories.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brad Lyerla

    THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES was the brainchild of Lawrence Ritter. He taught finance at New York University, but was an avid baseball fan too. During his vacations, he sought out and interviewed baseball players who had played in the major leagues during the early years of the 20th century. Originally, in 1966, Ritter published a version of GLORY featuring edited transcripts of his interviews. Then in 1998, working with Henry Thomas and Neal McCabe, Ritter published the audio book that I listened t THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES was the brainchild of Lawrence Ritter. He taught finance at New York University, but was an avid baseball fan too. During his vacations, he sought out and interviewed baseball players who had played in the major leagues during the early years of the 20th century. Originally, in 1966, Ritter published a version of GLORY featuring edited transcripts of his interviews. Then in 1998, working with Henry Thomas and Neal McCabe, Ritter published the audio book that I listened to. It consists of 5 hours of interviews recorded by Ritter between 1961 and 1966. These interviews are truly wonderful for any baseball fan. The original recordings now reside in Cooperstown and the University of Notre Dame. Though these interviews were not focused on the Chicago Cubs, they are relevant to the Cubs because they add new information concerning two events in baseball history that relate to the significance of the Cubs’ 2016 World Series Championship and its place in baseball history. I will limit this short review to those two events. The first was the infamous Merkle’s Boner. Many of you probably know of this incident. Late in the 1908 season, the Cubs and the New York Giants were embroiled in a tight race for the National League pennant when the Giants hosted the Cubs at the Old Polo grounds in New York City. Fred Merkle, a rookie first baseman for the Giants, was making his first start ever in a major league baseball game. The teams had battled to a 1-1 tie when the Giants came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth. Art Devlin singled for the Giants. He was forced at second on a grounder by Moose McCormick. Merkle then singled McCormick to third. With two outs, Al Bridewell then hit an apparent single to centerfield scoring McCormick and winning the game for the Giants. But believing the game to be over and with the crowd spilling out into the field (as was customary at the Polo Grounds in those days), Merkle headed directly to the Giants’ locker room which the players entered through a door in the outfield. The problem was he did not touch second base first. Noting Merkle’s blunder, Cubs’ second baseman Johnny Evers called for the ball and completed the force out at second. McCormick’s run did not count and the game ended in a tie. I am leaving out a lot of details, but the call was highly controversial for a variety of reasons. (There are several competing versions that you can find online.) However, the league upheld the call and the result was that the regular season ended a few weeks later with the Cubs and Giants tied. The Cubs won the make up game and went on to win the 1908 World Series. But for that strange play, the 1908 Cubs championship would never have occurred. Fred Snodgrass, the Giants’ centerfielder, defended Merkle when Ritter interviewed Snodgrass decades later. He explained that because the Polo Grounds crowd quickly swarmed the field upon the final play in those days, the players typically bolted for the locker room to beat the crowd. Merkle only did what the players had been doing all season, according to Snodgrass. Before the Cubs’ miraculous come back victory in game 7 last year, many historians of baseball had considered the Red Sox comeback in the bottom of the 10th of game eight of the 1912 World Series to be the greatest in World Series history. (The Series went eight games that year because game 2 had ended in a tie after 11 innings.) GLORY provides a gripping account of the final half inning. With Christy Mathewson pitching, the Giants led the Sox 2 – 1. Clyde Engle led off with an easy fly ball to (the aforementioned) Fred Snodgrass in centerfield. Inexplicably, the usually sure-handed Snodgrass muffed the ball putting Engle on second base. Harry Hooper then hit a screamer to center that Snodgrass made a fine running play on for the first out, but Engle was able to advance to third. Mathewson then walked Steve Yerkes. Another infamous play then followed. Tris Speaker hit a high pop fly down the first base line. The Giants’ first baseman Fred (now known as “Bonehead”) Merkle was closest, but Mathewson called for his catcher Chief Meyers to take it. Meyers was farther away than either Mathewson or Merkle and did not make the play. The ball fell foul. In GLORY, Meyers explained that Mathewson had called for Meyers to take it because Merkle “had not been too steady”. Legend has it that Speaker then yelled at Mathewson that he had made the wrong call and now “would pay for it”. Speaker then singled Engle home, Yerkes advancing to third. Mathewson walked Duffy Lewis to set up a possible double play, but Larry Gardner hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Yerkes. The Sox won the game and the series. I still like the end to the 2016 Series better, but 1912 sounds like a great one too. And isn’t this game endlessly fascinating?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Theo Logos

    The print version of this book is basically transcriptions of conversations with several old time ball players who played in the first few decades of the 20th century. The audiobook gives you the actual recordings themselves - you get to hear the voices of these great old players telling their stories, which is an experience worth having.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    My latest favorite baseball book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robert Melnyk

    Fascinating book on the early history of baseball during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as told by some of the men who played the game. Basically, the author interviewed various players, turned on a tape recorder and let them talk. Then he transcribed their words into the book. So each chapter is a different player telling us their memories of their time in baseball. They told stories not only of themselves, but of many of the guys they played with as well. It gives you a real insight i Fascinating book on the early history of baseball during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as told by some of the men who played the game. Basically, the author interviewed various players, turned on a tape recorder and let them talk. Then he transcribed their words into the book. So each chapter is a different player telling us their memories of their time in baseball. They told stories not only of themselves, but of many of the guys they played with as well. It gives you a real insight into the players, the game itself and how it was played back then compared to how it is played today. And when I say "today" I actually mean the 1960s since that is when this book was written. If you are a baseball fan, this book will be enormously interesting and entertaining.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Excellent book about old-time baseball as told by the players that played.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Yofish

    Really 4.5 stars In the early/mid 1960's, Ritter sort of realized that the old-time baseball players were dying off (well, they *were* born in the 1880s), and set out to interview some of the surviving ones. Each chapter here is a different player, told in their own voices. All played at least a decade, and most are Hall of Famers. It was a lot of fun. I'm not sure if I would have gotten the same enjoyment if I hadn't once been a 9-yr-old fascinated with baseball statistics. But it all seems well Really 4.5 stars In the early/mid 1960's, Ritter sort of realized that the old-time baseball players were dying off (well, they *were* born in the 1880s), and set out to interview some of the surviving ones. Each chapter here is a different player, told in their own voices. All played at least a decade, and most are Hall of Famers. It was a lot of fun. I'm not sure if I would have gotten the same enjoyment if I hadn't once been a 9-yr-old fascinated with baseball statistics. But it all seems well-written, and the stories are good, just as stories. There's at least three different views of "Merkel's boner" by guys who were there. Several played for John McGraw and have strong opinions about him (as do some who didn't actually play for him). The stories of how they first got started toward the Major Leagues are great---so much pure serendipity. It's also a hoot to hear them talk a little about players and the game as it exists "now" (in the 1960's). How they can't believe how slow the games are!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    I really enjoyed this book, although it isn't a book I would read all at once. It is a series of oral histories by famous baseball players from around 1900-1920. The author didn't start collecting the histories until the mid-1960s, so a lot of better known names (i.e. Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth, etc) aren't included because they had already died by that time. However, he talked to about 20 former players and then essentially transcribed their conversations. Some of the interviews were less than enth I really enjoyed this book, although it isn't a book I would read all at once. It is a series of oral histories by famous baseball players from around 1900-1920. The author didn't start collecting the histories until the mid-1960s, so a lot of better known names (i.e. Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth, etc) aren't included because they had already died by that time. However, he talked to about 20 former players and then essentially transcribed their conversations. Some of the interviews were less than enthralling, but most were interesting and a few were just enthralling. I was nearly crying, I was laughing so hard a few times and it is interesting to learn how different the game was in those days. Most of the stories didn't just focus on baseball but talked about life in that time period, so it was an excellent read overall. I would recommend this strongly to anyone who likes baseball or even history.

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