I don’t normally like to do two books in the same review, but I felt this case was different. These two books are both new releases by the same author and the subject matter is related, so I figured it would be safe to do them together. Ronald T. Waldo has just released two Pittsburgh Pirates books that are from an era that sometimes gets forgotten. In our current world of everything, right now, it is important to remember our history. In baseball much of that history is incredible but some of it gets forgotten due to the passage of time. The people involved in those eras pass on and we lose some of the first hand memories. Thanks to Ronald’s books Pirates fans can now delve deep into their past.
Lets start with Honus Wagner and His Pittsburgh Pirates. I was expecting another basic biography about Honus Wagner. The like of which we have seen before, bu this was different. It was more of an anecdotal storytelling of Honus Wagner. It was giving you the details about the man himself, not just the on field personality. Enjoying life’s simple pleasures is not something you normally read in a baseball biography, but this one has it and it is a nice change of pace. You also see Wagner’s interactions with other players around the league and his feelings towards baseball in general.
This book is a nice change of pace from the normal everyday baseball biography in the fact that it gives you views of the player himself. It shows the human side of Honus Wagner that many of us could never before relate to. Being he played so long ago, that human aspect gets lost to time. Through Ronald Waldo’s hard work and research, he is able to make Honus Wagner come alive for new generations of baseball fans.
Waldo’s second book the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates brings alive a team that I feel is also getting lost to the passage of time.
When you think about great baseball teams the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates do not, at least for me, immediately come to mind. 1902 being the middle year of a three-year pennant run is widely considered the best of those three teams. Again through Waldo’s exhaustive research you get great detail about a team that I think would be very hard to come up with information on. Outside of Pittsburgh, I think you would be hard pressed to find many people who are well educated on this team.
This book shows the politics of baseball at the turn of the 20th century along with details of how the Pirates fortunes had changed for the better. It also gives a nice review of how the entire season progressed for the Pirates and how they overcame players jumping to the rival American League. It is a great glimpse into the past when baseball operated nothing like what we accept as the norm today.
These types of books have to be very hard to write since you are dealing with things that happened over 100 years ago. Ronald T. Waldo should be commended on his dedication to his subject and the effort he has put in to both of these books. It is authors like this that help keep the grand history of the game alive over a century later.
You can get both these books from the nice folks at McFarland