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The First Fall Classic: The Red Sox, the Giants and the Cast of Players, Pugs and Politicos Who Re-Invented the World Series in 1912by Mike Vaccaro
Synopses & Reviews
Spring, Summer, Fall, 1912: A Prelude
New York--The advance fanfare is over. The English language has been plucked of its final consonants, and the last of all figures extant has been twisted out of shape in the maelstrom of a million arguments. And now, at the end of it, there is nothing left. Nothing left but the charge of the Night Brigade against the gates at dawn tomorrow--and after that the first boding hush as Harry Hooper flies out from the Red Sox coop and stands face to face with Mathewson, the veteran, or Tesreau, the debutante . . .
--Grantland Rice, NEW YORK EVENING MAIL,
October 7, 1912
The poor bastards, they never had a chance, they never even saw the damned thing coming. It was a beautiful Friday night, September 27, 1912, a perfect evening to take the sparkling new toy for a spin, and so twenty-nine-year-old Frank O'Neil and twenty-year-old William Popp, neighbors from Manhattan's Upper West Side, had decided to take their freshly souped-up motorcycle for a breezy ride through the streets of Harlem, and they'd mostly been ignoring the posted speed limit of nine miles per hour because, let's face it, who didn't disregard that patently absurd and outdated law; horse-drawn carriages were allowed to zip along at twelve miles an hour, for crying out loud.
So there they were, young, free, blissfully sailing down a hill at the foot of 145th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, when, quite suddenly, their worlds went dark as the night sky above them. A man named Frank Linke, driving a Model T Speedster and actually obeying the speed limit, hit them flush with the bumper of his brand-new automobile. O'Neil and Popp went flying over the handlebars of their ruined motorcycle, and now both of them were lying on the street, O'Neil bleeding from his mouth thanks to a bruised liver and damaged gallbladder, Popp groaning thanks to a collarbone now rendered a collection of collarbones.
Frank Linke, more horrified than hurt, searched frantically for policemen.
But before he could locate one, he found himself caught in the glare of a set of headlights belonging to a brand-new Cadillac speeding straight for him before screeching to a halt. Out of the car leapt a tall, lanky man wearing a tam-o'-shanter on his head and a brown suit coat over his shoulder, his spit-shined Regal shoes hitting the pavement without missing a stride.
Put them in my car yelled the helpful stranger.
By now, a policeman named Michael Walsh had arrived at the scene, and his first inclination was to shoo the Good Samaritan to the sidewalk . . . except, as the well-dressed visitor's face grew brighter under the glow of the streetlight, Officer Michael Walsh could barely say anything.
It's . . . it's . . . you, the cop said.
Frank Linke, still trembling, squinted at the stranger and his eyes brightened.
It is you, he stammered.
Yes, said Christy Mathewson, the calmest voice of the three, speaking above Popp's groans and the wails of the neighborhood dogs, it's me. Now, may I suggest loading these unfortunate gentlemen in my car, so we can get them to the hospital?
Walsh carefully guided Popp to his feet, loaded him in the front seat of Mathewson's car. Walsh, Linke, and Mathewson laid O'Neil, still unconscious, across the back.
Hey, Linke said, how'd you guys do today, Matty?
We beat the Braves, Math
Traces how the 1912 competition between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Giants elevated the World Series to a national obsession, describing the contributions of such figures as "Smoky Joe" Wood, Christy Mathewson, and Teddy Roosevelt.
In this wonderful page-turner, veteran sports journalist Mike Vaccaro brings to life a bygone era in cinematic and intimate detail—and re-creates the magic and suspense of the world’s first classic series.
Despite a major presidential election, the near-assassination of Teddy Roosevelt, and the most sensational trial of the young century, baseball dominated front-page headlines in October 1912. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Giants of that year—two of the finest ball clubs that had ever been assembled—went head-to-head in a thrilling eight-game battle that ultimately elevated the World Series from a regional October novelty to a national obsession.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
\MIKE VACCARO is the lead sports columnist for the New York Post and the author of 1941: The Greatest Year in Sports and Emperors and Idiots. He has won more than fifty major journalism awards since 1989 and has been cited for distinguished writing by the Associated Press Sports Editors, the New York State Publishers Association, and the Poynter Institute. A graduate of St. Bonaventure University, he lives in New Jersey.
Table of Contents
Spring, Summer, Fall, 1912: a prelude — October 1912: the run-up — Tuesday, October 8, 1912: game one — Wednesday, October 9, 1912: game two — Thursday, October 10, 1912: game three — Friday, October 11, 1912: game four — Saturday, October 12, 1912: game five — Monday, October 14, 1912: game six — Tuesday, October 15, 1912: game seven — Wednesday, October 16, 1912: game eight — Wednesday, October 16, 1912.
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