At The Old Ballgame: Stories from Baseball’s Golden Era edited by Jeff Silverman
At The Old Ballgame: Stories from Baseball’s Golden Era
edited by Jeff Silverman
Lyons Press, 2014
As a fan of baseball history, I love to immerse myself in books about the players and teams of the past. Rarely, though, do I see a book that goes all the way back to the turn of the twentieth century. At The Old Ballgame, edited by Jeff Silverman, does just that. Silverman presents a number of stories, poems, and articles from 1867-1921, both fictional tales and actual accounts of games.
On the fictional side, you can’t get any better than “Casey At The Bat,” the epic poem penned by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, and Grantland Rice’s sequel, “Casey’s Revenge.” Ring Lardner’s satirical “My Roomy” is also included, and I found myself laughing several times as the author claimed he would be happy to sign for the coming season as long as he could pick his own roommate.
The historical pieces are fascinating as well, a snapshot of different aspects of the game. Christy Mathewson writes about jinxes. Grover Cleveland Alexander explains his performance in the 1915 World Series. Candy Cummings describes his discovery of the curveball. A Chicago reporter opines that the 1919 World Series was won fair-and-square, despite the rumors.
There will be a great deal written and talked about this world’s series. There will be a lot of inside stuff that never will be printed, but the truth will remain that the team which was the hardest working, which fought hardest, and which stuck together to the end won. The team which excelled in mechanical skill, which had the ability, individually, to win, was beaten.
Twenty-two old-time pieces gives us a glimpse into the game as it was played during simpler times. At The Old Ballgame is perfect for baseball lovers of all ages.