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  • Bill Burgess
    replied
    Originally posted by BaseballHistoryNut
    Continuing the post I made above....

    I sounded like I was really slamming Jonathan Eig's "Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig." In truth, I only meant to slam it in one way which will be inherent to any ACCURATE bio of Gehrig: His life was BORING until his horrible tragedy struck. I'm relieved to hear you edit yourself.He was emotionally repressed as hell, tepid, didn't have a clue with women until Eleanor basically took him and claimed him as her own, was a dud at parties, etc., etc. As great as he was athletically, that's how bad he was socially, and there's really no way to dress up his personal life, nor that of his godawful tyrant of a mother. Very true, but his wife Eleanor did a credible job, telling how they went to the Met and went backstage to greet Kirsten Flagstad..

    But the book conveys all of that, and certainly conveys how great a player he was. What I DON'T like is the fact Eig felt compelled to libel the memory of Babe Ruth.

    Robert Creamer spent many years researching his magnum opus on the Babe--a book almost unanimously viewed as an unsentimental, accurate and definitive bio of Ruth, and viewed by many (including S.I. and me) as the greatest bio of any American sports figure ever. I thought the Marshal Smelser bio was written in a more interesting way. At the beginning of the book, Creamer tells of a chat with a friend, after he'd finished his zillion or so research hours. The friend asked him if Ruth was a s---. Creamer told the friend of a chat he had with one contemporary of Ruth's who was fully aware of how exasperating Ruth's immaturity, incessant foul mouth, uncontrollable hedonism, etc., could be.

    Creamer asked the guy something about the players who had disliked Ruth. The old player got a startled look and replied that although Ruth had tried pretty much everyone's patience at times, he had never known ANYONE who disliked Babe Ruth. That might be true, with the exception of Durocher. It seems that, shockingly, even Huggins/Barrow liked Babe, despite how they treated him. Dismissively like a child.

    Jonathan Eig, however, takes it upon himself to build Gehrig up by bashing at Ruth as a drunken, megalomaniacal, press-hungry, dissolute lowlife, and gives the reader no clue as to how clearly superior Ruth was to Gehrig as a player. And I say that--as I hope y'all would, by now, expect of me--as someone who unhesitatingly rates Gehrig as #1 at 1B, with neither Foxx nor Bagwell close, and McGwire and Palmeiro on the "disqualified" list.

    But even for the vast majority of us who appreciate how great Gehrig was, there is much to be learned here. From the point where Eig first tells us of Gehrig's being stricken with A.L.S. in 1938, the book goes on for another 125+ pages. So it's not just a baseball book--an asset it shares with Creamer's masterpiece, Alexander's definitive (to me) bio of Cobb, and Gay's fantastic bio of the immortal Tris Speaker.

    I wonder what % of this site's regulars rate Cobb ahead of Wagner Most, and what % rate Speaker ahead of Wagner Almost none. I rate them Cobb, Speaker, Wagner, and would not include Wagner in my Top 10, but I realize my favorite (by far) historian would try to get me 86'ed from this site for saying that. On no. You're too valuable, and you write in too interestingly a way! Yo, Bill, you can't do that until you justify your rating Brett ahead of Mathews, in light of the fact Mathews leads Brett on EVERY ONE of your rating criteria, sometimes by lots. (Playing in K.C. is not a rating criterion.) I have very good reasons why I place Brett ahead of Eddie. And I like Eddie too. But don't dismiss George because he had less power. He hit for a much higher average, had nice mid-range pop, and probably fielded a good bit better.

    I bought several hundred dollars of baseball bios last year, and am leisurely working my way through them late at night, when I'm winding down from my work and getting sleepy. Right now, I'm on a Walter Johnson bio which looks as good as his grandson's one was bad. What! The Thomas Walter bio had EVERYTHING. Great b/w glossy photos, acknowledgments, introduction, forward, epilogue, 3 appendixes, notes, bibliography, index, massive footnoting. Everything you'd want in a sports bio. He had 19 family scrapbooks to work from, tons of clippings, took many years. What was not to love? Content? Content can be highly over-rated.

    For those of y'all who have sparred with me about Walter Johnson vis a vis Maddux, Clemens et al.--and did it so CORDIALLY AND RESPECTFULLY, when I first got here, something I appreciated and will never forget--I decided to read this bio next in deference to YOU. It's a book highly decorated by SABR, as I'm sure y'all know, and while his grandson's hagiography told me the personal details, and unwittingly made statistical arguments FOR Grove over Johnson--and made asinine arguments like that Grove's 9 ERA titles to Johnson's 5 didn't mean much, because Johnson didn't have Foxx, Simmons and Cochrane--I want to hear a baseball-savvy author make an in-depth case for Johnson. We have. With Metal Ed we jousted/sparred our butts off.

    I'm so entrenched in my position on Grove--and like another member here, the last 4 ERA titles, past his 35th b-day in Fenway, will pretty much make it impossible to sway me on that. But I will keep an open mind to the notion that perhaps I should wait until the end for Clemens and Maddux before deciding whether to put them ahead of Johnson. Indeed, I may find that Clemens needs a couple more BIG seasons to get there, and Maddux needs 30more wins in good seasons, which I really doubt will happen.

    If, after reading this book and seeing what becomes of Clemens and Maddux in the future, I decide Johnson IS the #1 righty, I'll dig up that thread and issue my retractions to all of you who so cordially and admiringly discussed my posts (albeit without abandoning your views.

    Is that something you do for obviously knowledgeable newcomers as a rule, or does that mean I really impressed y'all quite a lot with my arguments? I know so little about SABR lingo, and if I impressed y'all that much, well, I'm flattered to the point of humility, and I'll do everything I can to justify that respect down the road.

    B.T.W., I respect the hell out of the quality of the average post here, and some of y'all, like "Sultan," just floor me. I've had god-knows-how-many-people tell me I should go on TV with my baseball knowledge, but even if we take all SABR-speak and SABR-stats out of the equation, I'm quite sure that several of you--starting with Sultan--would defeat me. You'd know you'd been in a helluva fight, but so would I, and I think I'd ultimately lose.

    Never thought I'd say that. Nor us! Of all the recent good posts, I must say, yours has been the most, er, - recent! Ha ha!

    BHN
    Most excellent post. Just love it. Keep up the good work.

    Bill the Pill
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-18-2006, 06:45 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • BaseballHistoryNut
    replied
    Continuing the post I made above....

    I sounded like I was really slamming Jonathan Eig's "Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig." In truth, I only meant to slam it in one way which will be inherent to any ACCURATE bio of Gehrig: His life was BORING until his horrible tragedy struck. He was emotionally repressed as hell, tepid, didn't have a clue with women until Eleanor basically took him and claimed him as her own, was a dud at parties, etc., etc. As great as he was athletically, that's how bad he was socially, and there's really no way to dress up his personal life, nor that of his godawful tyrant of a mother.

    But the book conveys all of that, and certainly conveys how great a player he was. What I DON'T like is the fact Eig felt compelled to libel the memory of Babe Ruth.

    Robert Creamer spent many years researching his magnum opus on the Babe--a book almost unanimously viewed as an unsentimental, accurate and definitive bio of Ruth, and viewed by many (including S.I. and me) as the greatest bio of any American sports figure ever. At the beginning of the book, Creamer tells of a chat with a friend, after he'd finished his zillion or so research hours. The friend asked him if Ruth was a s---. Creamer told the friend of a chat he had with one contemporary of Ruth's who was fully aware of how exasperating Ruth's immaturity, incessant foul mouth, uncontrollable hedonism, etc., could be.

    Creamer asked the guy something about the players who had disliked Ruth. The old player got a startled look and replied that although Ruth had tried pretty much everyone's patience at times, he had never known ANYONE who disliked Babe Ruth.

    Jonathan Eig, however, takes it upon himself to build Gehrig up by bashing at Ruth as a drunken, megalomaniacal, press-hungry, dissolute lowlife, and gives the reader no clue as to how clearly superior Ruth was to Gehrig as a player. And I say that--as I hope y'all would, by now, expect of me--as someone who unhesitatingly rates Gehrig as #1 at 1B, with neither Foxx nor Bagwell close, and McGwire and Palmeiro on the "disqualified" list.

    But even for the vast majority of us who appreciate how great Gehrig was, there is much to be learned here. From the point where Eig first tells us of Gehrig's being stricken with A.L.S. in 1938, the book goes on for another 125+ pages. So it's not just a baseball book--an asset it shares with Creamer's masterpiece, Alexander's definitive (to me) bio of Cobb, and Gay's fantastic bio of the immortal Tris Speaker.

    I wonder what % of this site's regulars rate Cobb ahead of Wagner, and what % rate Speaker ahead of Wagner. I rate them Cobb, Speaker, Wagner, and would not include Wagner in my Top 10, but I realize my favorite (by far) historian would try to get me 86'ed from this site for saying that. Yo, Bill, you can't do that until you justify your rating Brett ahead of Mathews, in light of the fact Mathews leads Brett on EVERY ONE of your rating criteria, sometimes by lots. (Playing in K.C. is not a rating criterion.)

    I bought several hundred dollars of baseball bios last year, and am leisurely working my way through them late at night, when I'm winding down from my work and getting sleepy. Right now, I'm on a Walter Johnson bio which looks as good as his grandson's one was bad.

    For those of y'all who have sparred with me about Walter Johnson vis a vis Maddux, Clemens et al.--and did it so CORDIALLY AND RESPECTFULLY, when I first got here, something I appreciated and will never forget--I decided to read this bio next in deference to YOU. It's a book highly decorated by SABR, as I'm sure y'all know, and while his grandson's hagiography told me the personal details, and unwittingly made statistical arguments FOR Grove over Johnson--and made asinine arguments like that Grove's 9 ERA titles to Johnson's 5 didn't mean much, because Johnson didn't have Foxx, Simmons and Cochrane--I want to hear a baseball-savvy author make an in-depth case for Johnson.

    I'm so entrenched in my position on Grove--and like another member here, the last 4 ERA titles, past his 35th b-day in Fenway, will pretty much make it impossible to sway me on that. But I will keep an open mind to the notion that perhaps I should wait until the end for Clemens and Maddux before deciding whether to put them ahead of Johnson. Indeed, I may find that Clemens needs a couple more BIG seasons to get there, and Maddux needs 30more wins in good seasons, which I really doubt will happen.

    If, after reading this book and seeing what becomes of Clemens and Maddux in the future, I decide Johnson IS the #1 righty, I'll dig up that thread and issue my retractions to all of you who so cordially and admiringly discussed my posts (albeit without abandoning your views.

    Is that something you do for obviously knowledgeable newcomers as a rule, or does that mean I really impressed y'all quite a lot with my arguments? I know so little about SABR lingo, and if I impressed y'all that much, well, I'm flattered to the point of humility, and I'll do everything I can to justify that respect down the road.

    B.T.W., I respect the hell out of the quality of the average post here, and some of y'all, like "Sultan," just floor me. I've had god-knows-how-many-people tell me I should go on TV with my baseball knowledge, but even if we take all SABR-speak and SABR-stats out of the equation, I'm quite sure that several of you--starting with Sultan--would defeat me. You'd know you'd been in a helluva fight, but so would I, and I think I'd ultimately lose.

    Never thought I'd say that.

    BHN

    BHN

    Leave a comment:


  • JohnGelnarFan
    replied
    Autobiographies/Biographies

    "HAWK" by Ken Harrelson and Al Hirshberg (1969) Viking Press

    "Sandy Koufax:A Lefty's Legacy" by Jane Leavy (2002) HarperCollins Publishing

    "The 26th Man" by Steve Fireovid and Mark Winegardner (1991) Macmillan Publishing

    "Chuck Hinton:My Time At Bat" by Charles E. Hinton Jr.(2002) Christian Living Books/Pneuma Life Publishing

    "Hey Kid,Just Get It Over The Plate" by Russ Kemmerer and W.C. Madden (2002) Madden Publishing Co.,Inc.

    "Now Wait A Minute Casey!" by Maury Allen (1965) Doubleday & Company,Inc.

    Leave a comment:


  • BaseballHistoryNut
    replied
    Originally posted by dgarza
    Tris Speaker

    Tris Speaker : the rough-and-tumble life of a baseball legend
    Timothy M Gay
    2005

    I have read a lot of baseball bios in the last 47 years of my 53-year life. This is the second best one I have read to date, behind only Creamer's nonpareil bio of the Babe.

    Until I read this book, I was not clear on whether Cobb was better than Speaker... especially after reading, in Alexander's book, about all the concrete ways Cobb's egomania (read: statsmania) hurt his team. I now feel secure in saying that, although they weren't as far apart at the plate as people think, and although Speaker was obviously 100 times better in the field, Cobb was the better player. (In truth, a good part of that conclusion came not from this book, but from comparing their SB's and CS's for the years where those stats are available; Cobb blows Speaker away in SB%, and when you consider how many steals these two attempted, that's huge.)

    I also now realize that, although Speaker changed later in life and never had a latent streak of homicidal psychopath in him, like Cobb did (there were a few times it was barely latent), he wasn't that much better a person in his playing days than Cobb was.

    He was, however, a complex and fascinating man. The depth of his personality is, I feel, well developed in Gay's excellent novel... in stark contrast, say, to the character of Lou Gehrig in "Luckiest Man"--a book hopelessly handicapped by the jejune character of its heroic, but tepid, subject.

    BHN

    Leave a comment:


  • Bill Burgess
    replied
    Rogers Hornsby
    My Kind of Baseball, by Rogers Hornsby, 1953

    My War With Baseball, by Rogers Hornsby, 1962

    Rogers Hornsby, by Charles Alexander, 1995
    ------------------------------------------------

    John McGraw
    The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, And The New York Giants Created Modern Baseball, by Frank Deford, 2005

    The Days of Mr. McGraw: The Wild, Wacky, Wooly Era of John J. Mcgraw and His Baseball Giants, by Joseph Durso, 1969

    McGraw of the Giants, by Frank Graham, 1944

    John J. McGraw: My Thirty Years in Baseball, as told to Bozeman Bulger, 1923

    John McGraw, by Charles C. Alexander, 1988

    The Real McGraw, by Mrs. John J. McGraw, edited by Arthur Mann, 1953

    Casey & Mr. McGraw, by Joseph Durso, 1989

    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Ty Cobb

    Bustin' Em, by Ty Cobb, as told to John N. Wheeler, 1914

    Baseball Legends: Ty Cobb, by Norman L. Macht, 1993

    Ty Cobb, by Charles C. Alexander, 1984

    The Story of Ty Cobb: Baseball's Greatest Player, by Gene Schoor, 1952

    Ty Cobb; The Tiger Wore Spikes: An Informal Biography of Ty Cobb, by John D. McCallum, 1956

    Ty Cobb, by John D. McCallum, 1975

    Ty Cobb: His Tumultuous Life and Times, by Richard Bak, 1994

    The Ty Cobb Scrapbook: An Illustrated Chronology of Significant Dates in the 24-Year Career of the Fabled Georgia Peach--Over 800 Games from 1905 to 1928, by Marc Okkonen, 2001

    Peach: Ty Cobb In His Time And Ours, by Dan Holmes, 2004

    Ty Cobb, the Greatest, by Robert Rubin, 1978

    Ty Cobb: Bad Boy of Baseball, by S.A. Kramer, 1995

    TY COBB My Life in Baseball, by Al Stump, 1961

    Cobb, by Al Stump, 1994

    Ty Cobb, the idol of baseball fandom, by Sverre O Braathen, 1928

    Peach : Ty Cobb in His Time and Ours, by Richard Bak, 2005
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 02-22-2006, 04:41 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Cy Young

    Cy Young Centennial, 1867-1967 : July 14 & 15, New Philadelphia & Newcomerstown, Ohio
    [Cy Young Centennial Committee].
    1967-1970?

    Cy Young
    Norman L Macht
    1992

    Cy Young : a baseball life
    Reed Browning
    2000

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Harry Wright

    Baseball's first professional manager
    Harold Seymour
    1955

    Harry Wright : the father of professional base ball
    Christopher Devine
    2003

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Paul Waner

    Big and Little poison : Paul and Lloyd Waner, baseball brothers
    Clifton Blue Parker
    2003

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Honus Wagner

    Honus Wagner : the flying Dutchman
    John Harrington; Adam McMahon
    1992

    Honus Wagner
    Jack Kavanagh
    1994

    Honus Wagner : a biography
    Dennis DeValeria; Jeanne Burke DeValeria
    1996

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Rube Waddell

    Magnificent screwball.
    1944

    Baseball's one-man circus : the erratic life of Rube Waddell
    Eric D Duchess
    1997

    Rube Waddell : Butler's outrageous southpaw
    Eric D Duchess
    1998

    Rube Waddell : the zany, brilliant life of a strikeout artist
    Alan Howard Levy
    2000

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Bill Terry

    Under Coogan's bluff : a fan's recollections of the New York Giants under Terry and Ott
    Fred Stein
    1981, ©1978

    When the Giants were giants : Bill Terry and the golden age of New York baseball
    Peter Williams; W P Kinsella
    1994

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Tris Speaker

    Tris Speaker : the rough-and-tumble life of a baseball legend
    Timothy M Gay
    2005

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Al Spalding

    Baseball and Mr. Spalding; the history and romance of baseball.
    Arthur Charles Bartlett
    1951

    A.G. Spalding and the rise of baseball : the promise of American sport
    Peter Levine
    1985

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    George Sisler

    The sizzler : George Sisler, baseball's forgotten great
    Rick Huhn
    2004

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Al Simmons

    Al Simmons, the best : a fan looks at Al, the Milwaukee Pole
    Ed Doyle
    1979

    Leave a comment:

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