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1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New Yorkby Lyle Spatz
Synopses & Reviews
Connie Mack (1862and#8211;1956) was the Grand Old Man of baseball and one of the gameand#8217;s first true celebrities. This book, spanning the first fifty-two years of Mackand#8217;s life, through 1914, covers his experiences as player, manager, and club owner and will stand as the definitive biography of baseballand#8217;s most legendary and beloved figure.and#160;
Norman L. Macht chronicles Mackand#8217;s little-known beginnings. He tells how Mack, a school dropout at fourteen, created strategies for winning baseball and principles for managing men long before there were notions of defining such subjects. And he details how Mack, a key figure in the launching of the American League in 1901, won six of the leagueand#8217;s first fourteen pennants while serving as manager, treasurer, general manager, traveling secretary, and public relations and scouting director (all at the same time) for the Philadelphia Athletics.
This book brings to life the unruly origins of baseball as a sport and a business. It also provides the first complete and accurate picture of a character who was larger than life and yet little known: the tricky, rule-bending catcher; the peppery field leader and fan favorite; the hot-tempered young manager. Illustrated with family photographs never before published, it affords unique insight into a colorful personality who helped shape baseball as we know it today.
The Philadelphia Athletics dominated the first fourteen years of the American League, winning six pennants through 1914 under the leadership of their founder and manager, Connie Mack. But beginning in 1915, where volume 2 in Norman L. Machtand#8217;s biography picks up the story, Mackand#8217;s teams fell from pennant winners to last place and, in an unprecedented reversal of fortunes, stayed there for seven years. World War I robbed baseball of young players, and Mackand#8217;s rebuilding efforts using green youngsters of limited ability made his teams the objects of public ridicule.
At the age of fifty-nine and in the face of widespread skepticism and seemingly insurmountable odds, Connie Mack reasserted his genius, remade the Aand#8217;s, and rose again to the top, even surpassing his earlier success. Baseball biographer and historian Macht recreates what may be the most remarkable chapter in this larger-than-life story. He shows us the man and his time and the game of baseball in all its nitty-gritty glory of the 1920s, and how Connie Mack built the 1929and#8211;1931 champions of Foxx, Simmons, Cochrane, Grove, Earnshaw, Miller, Haas, Bishop, Dykesand#8212;a team many consider baseballand#8217;s greatest ever.
WINNER OF THE 2014 SEYMOUR MEDAL sponsored by the Society for American Baseball Research and finalist for 2014 SABR Larry Ritter Award
Though his pitching career lasted only a few seasons, Howard Ellsworth and#8220;Smoky Joeand#8221; Wood was one of the most dominating figures in baseball historyand#8212;a man many consider the best baseball player who is not in the Hall of Fame. About his fastball, Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson once said: and#8220;Listen, mister, no man alive can throw harder than Smoky Joe Wood.and#8221;and#160;
Smoky Joe Wood chronicles the singular life befitting such a baseball legend. Wood got his start impersonating a female on the National Bloomer Girls team. A natural athlete, he pitched for the Boston Red Sox at eighteen, won twenty-one games and threw a no-hitter at twenty-one, and had a 34-5 record plus three wins in the 1912 World Series, for a 1.91 ERA, when he was just twenty-two. Then in 1913 Wood suffered devastating injuries to his right hand and shoulder that forced him to pitch in pain for two more years. After sitting out the 1916 season, he came back as a converted outfielder and played another five years for the Cleveland Indians before retiring to coach the Yale University baseball team.
With details culled from interviews and family archives, this biography, the first of this rugged player of the Deadball Era, brings to life one of the genuine characters of baseball history.
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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