Fifty Nine in 84 takes you back to before the "modern" era of baseball, where teams consisted of maybe 13 players. Players didn't use gloves and hard drinking, hard fighting and short careers were the norm in baseball.
Edward Achorn brings to life the era that even the most ardent fans know little about, painting a picture of the rough and unforgiving world of the 19th century where crippling injury, disease and sudden death were norms to be dealt with rather than unexpected tragedies.
In this world of hard men facing hard realities comes the hardest man of all Old Hoss Radbourn who would pitch his team to a pennant throwing an impossible number of innings enduring pain, dealing with a young rival and all the overcoming every obstacle to win both a pennant, and the woman he wanted and loved.
Achorn's story builds up using the history of side characters and all of the various human interest to get you to opening day. He on occasion takes odd tangents but never forgets that his book it is primarily about baseball and the games being played. The game action keeps you in the seat and manages to carry you all the way to that last day of the season.
If there is any fault in the book it is that there are so many side stories, but they are all fairly interesting and serve to attract the reader who might not be strictly interested in baseball.
So if you are a solid fan or a occasional reader, this book will reach base for you
While Springsteen's can't-let-go friend "could throw that speedball by you, make you look like a fool boy", 19th-century Major League baseball's best pitcher set his amazing record with a mixture of speed, guile, and strategy. That record--winning 59 games in 1884--is so far beyond today's numbers that fans today can barely relate. But baseball, as Edward Achorn does a good job documenting for us, was a different game, starting with the barely--bare-handed fielders, mound-less … more
Being a avid baseball fan I jumped at the chance to read Edward Achorn's new book "Fifty Nine in '84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball and the Greatest Season A Pitcher Ever Had". For one thing Edward Achorn is the deputy editorial page editor for my hometown newspaper The Providence Journal. As such I have some familiarity with his work. But of even more interest to me was the fact that a good many of the events depicted in "Fifty Nine in '84" took … more
I am fascinated by professional sports in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While the players may not have been as big, fast, or strong and modern athletes, they seem a thousand times more rugged and tough. This book focuses on a pitcher who played in the barehanded era who holds the professional baseball record for most wins in a season at an unbelievable 59. Charles Radbourn, or “Old Hoss,” played from 1880 to 1991, mostly with the Providence Grays. … more
These days, when overpaid pitchers are pampered like prima donnas, only pitching with several days rest, and hardly ever pitching a complete game, this book is a welcome look into a time in baseball when pitchers were real "workhorses". Most teams only carried two pitchers on their rosters, and these two were supposed to alternate in pitching games. Of course, when one was injured, or couldn't pitch for one reason or another, all of the pitching duties fell on the other fellow, … more
Some people tend to discount the baseball records that were set before the twentieth century, finding one excuse or another to diminish the achievements of the men on the field. While it is true that some of the rules were different, especially concerning the actions of the pitcher, the game still required the same skills to succeed. For decades, two of the records that were considered unattainable were Ty Cobb's record for total hits and Lou Gehrig's string of consecutive games. Both of these records … more