Synopses & Reviews
From the perspective of 2007, the unintentional irony of Chance's boast is manifest—these days, the question is when will the Cubs ever win a game they have to have. In October 1908, though, no one would have laughed: The Cubs were, without doubt, baseball's greatest team—the first dynasty of the 20th century.
Crazy '08 recounts the 1908 season—the year when Peerless Leader Frank Chance's men went toe to toe to toe with John McGraw and Christy Mathewson's New York Giants and Honus Wagner's Pittsburgh Pirates in the greatest pennant race the National League has ever seen. The American League has its own three-cornered pennant fight, and players like Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and the egregiously crooked Hal Chase ensured that the junior circuit had its moments. But it was the National League's—and the Cubs'—year.
Crazy '08, however, is not just the exciting story of a great season. It is also about the forces that created modern baseball, and the America that produced it. In 1908, crooked pols run Chicago's First Ward, and gambling magnates control the Yankees. Fans regularly invade the field to do handstands or argue with the umps; others shoot guns from rickety grandstands prone to burning. There are anarchists on the loose and racial killings in the town that made Lincoln. On the flimsiest of pretexts, General Abner Doubleday becomes a symbol of Americanism, and baseball's own anthem, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," is a hit.
Picaresque and dramatic, 1908 is a season in which so many weird and wonderful things happen that it is somehow unsurprising that a hairpiece, a swarm of gnats, a sudden bout of lumbago, and a disaster down in the mines all play a role in its outcome. And sometimes the events are not so wonderful at all. There are several deaths by baseball, and the shadow of corruption creeps closer to the heart of baseball—the honesty of the game itself. Simply put, 1908 is the year that baseball grew up.
Oh, and it was the last time the Cubs won the World Series.
Destined to be as memorable as the season it documents, Crazy '08 sets a new standard for what a book about baseball can be.
“[A] rollicking tour... will fascinate students of baseball... cause todays Cub fans to experience an unaccustomed feeling---pride...” New York Times Book Review
“Entertaining and meticulously researched.” Wall Street Journal
Crazy 08 is simply a delight, required reading for all fans of baseball in Chicago. --Chicago Tribune
“picturesque details are what make...Crazy ‘08 such a fun and revealing journey through the early days of baseball.” --Sports Illustrated
A penetrating look at the dead-ball era, when the game truly was the national pastime. A- --Entertainment Weekly
“Beguiling” Raleigh News & Observer
“[W]orthy to stand alongside The Glory of Their Times..., out in front.” Raleigh News & Observer
“If you are any kind of fan, you ought to relish and revel in this wonderful book” --Washington Times
"Stout imbues his account with a unique vibrancy and a razor-sharp intelligence. A wonderful sports book." -- Booklist, starred review and#160; "A valuable addition to baseball history . . . Baseball diehards and historians, and of course Red Sox fans, will find much of interest in this paean to one of sportand#8217;s most famous venues." -- Kirkus Reviews and#160; "Fun and informative . . . A well-constructed tribute to Fenway on its upcoming 100th anniversary." -- Publishers Weekly "This is a book for anyone who cares about the storied Boston Red Sox, about their 100-year-old bandbox of a stadium, about the remarkable championship season of 1912, about the street-level history of Boston, and about why baseball will forever be the all-American pastime. This is a book for all of us." and#8211; Larry Tye, author of SATCHEL: The Life and Times of an American Legend "Glenn Stout has done the impossible: he has put an end to the seemingly bottomless genre that is Fenway Park books. We now need no more. We get not pomp and circumstance, but the bones and blueprint of a legendary ballpark and#8212; topped with a star-filled World Series that still endures. He doesnand#8217;t pretend history is straw hats and cigars, but gives you real people, real baseball and (the best part) real Boston, the way any real writer should." and#8211; Howardand#160;Bryant, ESPN, and author of The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
A narrative of the first Red Sox season at Fenway Park.
andldquo;Each time you walk up the ramp from beneath the stands and out toward that sea of sunlit grass, Fenway Park remains the most special kind of place there is, a place that can still change your life.andrdquo;
andquot;This isand#160;the untold story of how Fenway Park came to be and its remarkable first season. 1912 was a leap year, the year the Titanic sank, and it was also the year baseballandrsquo;s original shrine, the one and only Fenway Park, was born. While the paint was still drying, the infield grass still coming in, the Red Sox embarked on an unlikely season that culminated in a World Series battle against the Giants that stands as one of the greatest ever played.
Fenway 1912 tells the incredible story of Fenway, from the unorthodox blueprint that underlies the parkandrsquo;s notorious quirks, to the long winter when locals poured concrete and erected history, to the notorious fixers who then ruled the game, to the ragtag team who delivered a world championship, Fenwayandrsquo;s first.
For all that has been written in tribute to the great Fenway Park, no one has ever really told the behind-the-scenes true story of its tumultuous yet glorious first year. Drawing on extensive new research, the esteemed baseball historian Glenn Stout delivers an extraordinary tale of innovation, desperation, and perspiration andndash; capturing Fenway as never before.
In honor of its hundred-year anniversary, Glenn Stout tells the remarkable story of Fenwayand#8217;s very first year, from the long winter when locals poured concrete and erected history to the ragtag Red Sox team that won a World Series for Fenwayand#8217;s first season. Drawing on extensive new research, Fenway 1912 is an extraordinary tale of innovation, desperation, and perspirationand#8212;capturing Fenway as never before.
Winner of the 2011 Seymour Medal from the Society for American Baseball Research, for the best book of baseball history or biography
andquot;An irresistible look back on Fenway Park's first season, not just for Sox fans . . . a great choice for anyone who enjoys a dip into baseball history at its best.andquot;andmdash;Huffington Post
Even people who arenandrsquo;t fans of baseball know Fenway Park. More than just a ballpark, it is a part of American culture, and has been for nearly one hundred years. In Fenway 1912, Glenn Stout tells the remarkable story of Fenwayandrsquo;s first year, from the long winter when locals poured concrete and built the park to the ragtag Red Sox team that embarked on a journey to the World Series while the paint was still drying and the grass still coming in. Stout tells the stories behind the parkandrsquo;s notorious quirks like the Green Monster, and of the designers, builders, managers, and players who made Fenwayandrsquo;s first year unforgettable.
For all that has been written in tribute to the great Fenway Park, no one has ever really told the behind-the-scenes true story. Drawing on extensive new research, the esteemed baseball historian Glenn Stout delivers an extraordinary tale of innovation, desperation, and perspirationandmdash;capturing Fenway as never before.
andquot;Fenway 1912 reads like a novel, detailing the trials and tribulations of the quaint ballpark and the team itself andhellip; Stout has made a great story out of history.andrdquo;andmdash;Baseball America
andquot;Stout's vivid writing and extraordinary research make the journey worthwhile in so many ways . . . you will likely feel as if you were in the creaky grandstand yourself.andquot;andmdash;Boston Globe
About the Author
Cait Murphy is an assistant managing editor at Fortunemagazine in New York. She previously worked at The Economistin London and the Wall Street Journal Asiain Hong Kong. A former Little League infielder, Murphy played softball at Amherst College, where she received her degree in American Studies. She does not throw like a girl.
Table of Contents
THE WALL AND THE CLIFFand#8195;and#8226;and#8195;100
THE BIG TRIPand#8195;and#8226;and#8195;139
GIANTS ON THE HORIZONand#8195;and#8226;and#8195;213
THE GATHERING OF THE CLANSand#8195;and#8226;and#8195;237
HOME SWEET HOMEand#8195;and#8226;and#8195;259
LAST STAND AT FENWAY PARKand#8195;and#8226;and#8195;301
Bibliographic Notes and Sourcesand#8195;and#8226;and#8195;349
Boston Red Sox 1912 Statisticsand#8195;and#8226;and#8195;370