Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"He was gone 4 days and we lost 4 ball games"

My all time favorite baseball book is "Glory of their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It" by Lawrence Ritter. Compiled in the early to mid 1960s, Ritter resolved to save as much of the early 20th century baseball stories as possible, and to do so, tape-interviewed 20-odd ball players about their playing days. He edited their stories for certain, but left text basically intact giving readers the ability to truly relive the past alongside the player telling the story.

If you're not familiar with the text, "Glory of Their Times" isn't just one of my favorites, but is listed at or near the top of every "Greatest Baseball Books" list.

60 years after it's initial publication, the book was released on Audio. As great as that sounds, the truth is even better. It's not the text read by an actor, rather, the original recordings released in digital-audio format.

I took the liberty of sampling and splicing some of the best portions of each interview and will post them about once per week throughout the pre-season and hopefully most of regular season.

Stories range from the nostalgic (nothing like a good ol' Walter Johnson tale), hilarious (Victory Faust), to the crude (nobody did like Ty Cobb). We'll even get to hear about a pennant lost due to wives that couldn't get along.

First up is a story about Charlie Victor Faust told by Fred Snodgrass. Faust's career consisted of just 2 innings hurled in 1911, but "Victory" Faust was responsible for a trifecta of NY Giant Pennants from '11-'13.

The second and smaller sample is Sam Crawford on Walter Johnson's prowess - "he didn't need any curve!"

Snodgrass on Faust

Crawford on Johnson

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