I have been sticking to the theme of Pre-World War II baseball reading lately. I have been lucky enough to find some more material about that era and I have realized that it is a large deficiency in my baseball education. My knowledge hole if you want to call it that, starts in the late 19th century and ends in the late 1920’s or so. Today’s book falls right in the middle of that time frame and allows me to gain some serious knowledge of the era.
Ronald T. Waldo has brought forth another winner in this era. For fans of early baseball he has produced a compilation of some great stories of baseball’s early years. From the games greats like Ty Cobb, and then the games not so greats like Arthur Evans, the author has regaled the reader with some very entertaining stories. He also does go beyond just the players. He includes Umpires, Owners and often forgotten names from this unique era in baseball history.
Characters from the Diamond paints a unique picture of what baseball was really like during its early years. Perhaps during this era baseball was keeping more in-line with its original roots as being a form of relaxation and fun for the players and the masses. This is in contrast to the mega business powerhouse it is today. The picture this book paints helps keep a unique era in baseball’s history preserved in print, so as time marches on fans of the game will realize where the sport came from and how we got to where we are now at today.
Author Ronald T. Waldo has really found his niche in this era. From his previously published books and now including this one he has undertaken measurable tasks with his books. He is working in an era that very few players, if any are still alive. Even people who witnessed the end of this era are few and far between, so he is trying to compile stories in the fourth and fifth person down the line. That is a monumental task for a writer. The pressure involved with fact checking and putting your name on the line that you got the story correct is monumental. As one is reading Waldo’s work you get the feel that the research is thorough and you are getting the complete story. That is both a compliment to his dedication and writing style. This is a very hard era to make the reader feel like they are actually there, but Ronald T. Waldo pulls it off. The main reason being that between alcohol and gambling alone the game of baseball on and off of the field is such a different game than what we are used to.
Baseball fans should take the time to check this one out. It is a great history lesson for everyone, and an era where a few laughs up until now have been hard to find. It is also important for everyone to see where we have come from and be able to appreciate what we now have on the field.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Rowman & Littlefield
We all need a code to live by. Whether it is society’s law as a whole or a personal adopted set of principles. These rules exist for a reason. They set boundaries for us to live by, both as a society and as individuals. Without the boundaries or principals we would fall in to utter chaos. That brings us to todays book…..
The Ten Commandments of Baseball created by Joe McCarthy
By:J.D. Thorne, 2009 Sporting Chance Press
We all know the background on Joe McCarthy. His record speaks for itself as a Hall of Fame manager. He had incredible success as manager of the New York Yankees, winning several championships and he also was the first manager to win a pennant in both leagues. His career success speaks for itself to this day and has only been matched by a select few since. Joe McCarthy had a set of principles on which he used in his own life and his managing of players. He was credited with creating them in 1921 and based on his success after that point, these principles may actually be of some serious merit.
I may be old school in saying this, but some of the rules in the book seem like common sense. I understand the world today is sometimes void of common sense but even almost 100 years after these principals were created, they can still apply. The rules cover various aspects of the human experience. The areas covered in these commandments are risk, fear, hustle, determination, pride, not making excuses, self-control and nobody is perfect. I do not want to go into further detail about each one, because if I do you will have no reason to actually pick up the book and read it. Each one does have a place in each of our own lives if you want to take an honest account of your life and help yourself achieve success.
J.D. Thorne’s writing style flows very smoothly in this book. The book starts with a brief history of the game itself then moves into McCarthy’s career accomplishments. After those sections, the author reviews each commandment. First, you review the general idea of the commandment. Second, you see how it has fit into baseball since they were created. Finally, you see how these commandments have fit into the author’s life and how he has interpreted them for himself. These commandments are like many things in life, open to interpretation. So they may mean one thing to the author but something totally different to the reader. It was a fun to see if I interpreted these the same way the author did. These really are effective rules, as far as I am concerned, and could become very useful in everyday life. Almost 100 years later they still have value. The book is a quick read at 172 pages but very enjoyable, so I recommend it to all my readers.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Sporting Chance Press
Baseball aside for a moment. Today is 9/11. The anniversary of a horrid day in our country’s history, where we lost so many people. We should all take a moment to be thankful for our country, our family and friends, our freedoms and those who have risked and lost their lives to keep us safe and free. We are all lucky enough to live and be members of the greatest country in the world and I think sometimes we might forget that. Please for one day, everyone put all the rhetoric aside and be thankful and proud to be an American. God bless us one and all. Please remember every one those who have fought the galant fight for ALL of us and our freedoms.