What's New Spring/Summer 2011
After a busy 2010 promoting our 1921 book (Lyle Spatz and me), from Seattle to Cooperstown and from San Francisco to New York City, 2011 provides me with an opportunity to focus on my research and writing. (The softcover—paperback—edition of 1921 will be published next spring, 2012.) I have a number of projects in various stages of development.
First, 1921 redux. This spring Lyle and I were both surprised and honored to be awarded the 2011 Seymour Medal for 2010's best baseball book (history or biography). We attended the ceremony at the Seymour Conference in Cleveland in early May with our wives. Lyle and I then had a unique book signing (with Robert Weintraub, author of The House that Ruth built) at Steuben Glass and Crystal on Madison Avenue in New York City, attended by about one hundred people.
A month earlier, San Francisco journalist Dan Fost and I organized a Casey Stengel panel at the Museum of the City of New York, with three Stengel authors and experts, as well as his grandniece. While Casey's career extends far beyond my "timeline of expertise," this event let me discover a far different Casey than the lucky (for being hired to manage the Yankees) funny man I thought he was. Instead, I discovered a brilliant baseball tactician who spent thirty years "preparing" for the Yankee job. (One of our panelists, Steve Goldman, does a terrific job of capturing the essence of Casey in his book, Forging Genius.) A day earlier, Dan, Casey's grandniece, and I spent an afternoon with Yogi Berra at his Museum on the campus of Montclair State University in New Jersey.
I have delved into the life of Horace Fogel, the president and part-owner of the Philadelphia Phillies (1909-1912), who was banned from baseball when he raised issues of corruption and game-fixing in major-league baseball. I'm presenting two different papers on Fogel this year: one at the NINE Conference in Tempe in March and the other at the SABR 2011 National Convention in Long Beach in July. Fogel—also a two-time major league manager and respected sports editor—certainly knew where "the bodies were buried."
In spring 2011, I completed a lengthy article on the life and career of Dave Danforth, one of the game's most fascinating and controversial characters. Dave was a pitcher who was accused of throwing almost every illegal pitch, yet he was never caught. (I had written an article about Danforth in SABR's The National Pastime back in 2002.) This biography provides a revealing look not only at a man who was involved with many key baseball events but also the National Pastime of the Teens and 1920s. This bio will appear on SABR's BioProject web site (http://bioproj.sabr.og) later this year.
Vermont attorney Tom Simon and I are undertaking a book project with SABR's Deadball Era Committee (DEC). Tom and I will be the editors of a book on the World Series of the Deadball Era (1903-1919; no World Series in 1904). What will make the book special are two things. First, the text will be the words of the sportswriters of the time (in the style of three classic baseball books by G. H. Fleming.) Second, the book will have rare images from the many photo collections I draw on in my work. The book will be a collaborative effort, with many DEC members contributing, and will target a 2013 publication date.
Last year I revisited my manuscript on Yankees pitcher Urban Shocker and tightened it up, with an eye toward reaching a larger and more mainstream audience than most of my work. To do so, I want to secure an agent to help place it with a major publisher. I have already been approached by a screenwriter: the story of courage and love of the game—a pitcher dying of heart disease as he stars on the 1926 and 1927 New York Yankees—is truly "truth stranger than fiction." My search for Shocker and special connection to him add to this story.
2011 is another exciting and busy year as I continue to connect with people of the Teens and 1920s. Many have been virtually forgotten. As I "bring them back" and tell their stories, I hope I honor these men "in the glory of their times" and provide a better understanding of our National Pastime.