The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
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Baseball was different in earlier days—tougher, rawer, more intimate—when giants like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb ran the bases. In the monumental classic The Glory of Their Times, the golden era of our national pastime comes alive through the vibrant words of those who played and lived the game.
Chesbro. Gee, they were great fellows. They were all close to forty by then, and they didn’t play much longer, but I got a thrill just being on the same team with them. You know, you hear all that stuff about the old-timers being so rough on rookies in those days. Well, you can’t prove it by me. Those guys were swell to me. Wee Willie Keeler was still a pretty good ballplayer, even then. He could loop ’em over the infield better than anybody I ever saw. Wonderful fellow. I was too shy to say
fact, they went and threw him clear out of the League. I don’t believe he ever played another game in the American League, although I think that George did manage the Kansas City club in the Federal League later on. So there we were in the middle of the season—that was 1913—without a manager. So who did Mr. Hedges, the president of the club, ask to be temporary manager until they got a new one? Of all people, me. Mr. Hedges called me in after Stovall was suspended and said, “Jim, will you come
we’d like to have you,” he said. “At the moment, however, we are not in immediate need of engineering assistance. Considering that for the time being at least we would only require your services as a ballplayer, I was also wondering how much money you might want.” “How about $3,000?” “I’ll tell you,” he said, “fact is, I was thinking of something in the neighborhood of $2,500. What do you say we compromise at $2,800.” “That seems very equitable to me,” I said. So I finished out the season
you want?” I never said a word. It was a strike. I knew it. I could see it. But that was the one pitch I didn’t like, and the way I crouched it looked like it was too close to me to be a strike. Well, 19 years in the Big Leagues and a lifetime .302 batting average. I hit .357 in 1926—highest batting average in the National League—and .351 for the three-year period, 1924–26. Not bad for a reformed pitcher, huh? Of course, I didn’t try to hit the long ball. I held the bat like Cobb, with my hands
O’Farrell 19 Bob O’Farrell IN 1924 a foul tip came back, crashed through my mask, and fractured my skull. It was my own fault. It was an old mask and I knew I shouldn’t have worn it. You know, a lot of times a catcher’s mask gets so much banging around it gets dented here and there. If you try to bend it back the way it’s supposed to be, it weakens it. Well, I put on an old mask that day and asked the clubhouse boy to go get me my regular one. Before he could get back with it, the ball