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1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New Yorkby Lyle Spatz
Synopses & Reviews
In 1910 auto magnate Hugh Chalmers offered an automobile to the baseball player with the highest batting average that season. What followed was a batting race unlike any before or since, between the greatest but most despised hitter, Detroitand#8217;s Ty Cobb, and the American Leagueand#8217;s first superstar, Clevelandand#8217;s popular Napoleon Lajoie. The Chalmers Race captures the excitement of this strange contestand#8212;one that has yet to be resolved.
The race came down to the last game of the season, igniting more interest among fans than the World Series and becoming a national obsession. Rick Huhn re-creates the drama that ensued when Cobb, thinking the prize safely his, skipped the last two games, and Lajoie suspiciously had eight hits in a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns. Although initial counts favored Lajoie, American League president Ban Johnson, the sportand#8217;s last word, announced Cobb the winner, and amid the controversy both players received cars. The Chalmers Race details a story of dubious scorekeeping and statistical systems, of performances and personalities in conflict, of accurate results coming in seventy years too late, and of a contest settled not by play on the field but by human foibles.
One of the most influential and controversial team owners in professional sports history, Walter Oand#8217;Malley (1903and#8211;79) is best rememberedand#8212;and still reviled by manyand#8212;for moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Yet much of the Oand#8217;Malley story leading up to the Dodgersand#8217; move is unknown or created from myth, and there is substantially more to the man. When he entered the public eye, the self-constructed family background and early life he presented was gilded. Later his personal story was distorted by some New York sportswriters, who hated him for moving the Dodgers.and#160;and#160;
In Mover and Shaker Andy McCue presents for the first time an objective, complete, and nuanced account of Oand#8217;Malleyand#8217;s life. He also departs from the overly sentimentalized accounts of Oand#8217;Malley as either villain or angel and reveals him first and foremost as a rational, hardheaded businessman, who was a major force in baseball for three decades and whose management and marketing practices radically changed the shape of the game.
Long before there was Moneyball, a group of investors led by baseball legend Branch Rickey proposed a new economic model for baseball. Based on an innovative approach to evaluating and developing talent, the Continental League was the last serious attempt to form a third Major League. The leagueand#8217;s brief history affords a glimpse of any number of missed chances for Americaand#8217;s game.
As one of the original Continental Leaguers, historian Russell D. Buhite isand#8212;literallyand#8212;talking and#8220;inside baseballand#8221; when he describes what happened in 1959 and 1960. Part memoir, part history, his account of the origin, development, and eventual undoing of the Continental League explores the organizationand#8217;s collective corporate structure as well as its significant role in building a thriving Minor League and forcing expansion on Major League Baseball. Buhite captures a lost era in baseball history and examines its lasting impact on the game.
About the Author
Lyle Spatz is the author of many books, including Bad Bill Dahlen: The Rollicking Life and Times of an Early Baseball Star and Yankees Coming, Yankees Going: New York Yankee Player Transactions, 1903 through 1999. Steve Steinberg is the author of Baseball in St. Louis, 1900-1925 and numerous articles on early twentieth-century baseball, including feature articles for the annual New York Yankees official yearbooks. Charles C. Alexander is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Ohio University. He is the author of several baseball books, including Spoke: A Biography of Tris Speaker and John McGraw (available in a Bison Books edition).
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