A 2010 book by Edward Achorn.< read all 6 reviews
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. In 1884, pitching nearly every day, which is something I can not even fathom, he compiled his 59 wins. This book is mostly about the life and playing days of this taciturn hero, mostly forgotten by all but the most studied baseball historians.
But the book is more than a biography. It also provides a glimpse into what baseball was like in an era where pitchers pitched frequently, you caught the ball with your bare hands, and violence and dirty tactics on the field of play were the norm not an aberration. To sit back and think what a rugged, brutal, physically demanding, and even debilitating game baseball was in the late 1800’s is simply mindboggling.
This book is an excellent addition to baseball history. While the author does provide a bit more day to day detail than was probably needed, it is a fascinating read and one those who love baseball history should enjoy.
What did you think of this review?