As everyone here is no doubt aware of (or scared of), I sometimes have a tendency to experiment on this blog with different and unique (at least for me) topics to bloviate about. Today's post will fall under that particular topic of "different and unique".
From time to time on the various writer's blogs that I subscribe to and read, they will have a post that falls under the header Forgotten Books, which to my basic level of understanding, is (usually) about a long out of print book that they either enjoyed reading when they were young or rediscovered while browsing the thrift store/used book store/tag sales, etc etc etc. I always thought that those posts were interesting and informative, and for the longest time I wanted to throw my two cents in, but never found a book that I could do it with.
Back when I was but a lad of my daughter's age (10), I discovered this nifty little book in my dad's book collection. Being both a serious reader at that tender young age and serious nut of old-time baseball, I instantly devoured the book. At that age, while I did enjoy the stories (did I mention that I was a newspaper nut as well?), I really had no serious appreciation for the historical value of the stories. But as an adult, I got a tremendous appreciation of the contents of the book.
First off, the book is a collection of interviews performed by the various sportswriters of the Chicago Daily News, which was edited by John P. Carmichael and published back in 1945. It featured stars that for the most part are in the Hall of Fame and if you're a serious aficionado of the history of baseball, you'd recognize that these players were kings of the Dead Ball Era and the early Home Run Era.
Stars like Ty Cobb, Carl Hubbell, Buck Weaver, Cy Young, Ed Walsh, and even Babe Ruth, regaled these sportswriters with stories about what they considered to be their greatest day in baseball.
Ty Cobb talks about the 1907 pennant race that boiled down to a three game series between the Tigers and the Philadelphia Athletics. Specifically, he talks about the second game, in which the game ended in a tie at 9 to 9 after seventeen innings.
Carl Hubbell talks about his participation in the 1934 All Star game that was won by the American League.
Buck Weaver talks about his participation in the 1917 World Series with the Giants and the background leading up to it.
Cy Young talks about throwing the first perfect game in American League history (1904) and briefly mentions that in his last big league game, he lost 1-0 to a young kid called Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Ed Walsh talks about his greatest game, which was striking out Larry Lajoie with the bases loaded during a late October game with the 1908 pennant hanging on the line.
Babe Ruth talks about his called shot against the Chicago Cubs.
The book also features some great photos of those Dead Ball Era/Early Home Run Era stars as well. Overall, the book was an enjoyable read then, and an interesting piece of history for research purposes now. I like to think that the stars that were telling their stories were being honest with the writers who were interviewing them, because these stories seem so outrageous that they do make the reader question their sanity.
Then again, if you can ever lay your hands on a copy of "Field Of Screams" by Richard Scheinin, you might get a better understanding on how baseball was back then.