BASEBALL AS I HAVE KNOWN IT by Fred Lieb

BASEBALL AS I HAVE KNOWN IT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A special treat for Old Timer's Day at any ballpark--Lieb's recollections extend back to the game in pre-WW I days when Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner reigned and the New York Yankees were still (gulp) the Highlanders. Lieb, who was a sportswriter for assorted, now defunct, newspapers in this period, has the kind of instant-replay memory that can flash on the 1912 World Series box scores along with the expressions on the faces of long-forgotten heroes. He recalls the shock of the Black Sox scandal--""like an atomic bomb dropping on our national pastime"" --and his own immediate suspicions roused by the betting odds of gamblers in Cincinnati's Metropole Hotel. Thank heavens for The Babe--who took the fans' minds off that ugliness. Lieb worked in fine company--Grantland Rice, Damon Runyon, and Heyward Broun were also covering baseball in those early years--but he concedes with some pride that none other than Fred Lieb dubbed Yankee Stadium ""The House That Ruth Built."" Lieb loves those long, scholastic disputations over the relative merits of Cobb/Ruth/Aaron that engage true addicts of the sport. Anecdotes and statistics unroll from his skein of memories; now and then he interjects a snappy observation that breaks up a surfeit of adulation: Babe Ruth was not exactly a ""numskull"" but he ""probably had a low IQ."" Ty Cobb was a mean racist and ""probably a Klansman."" Play ball!

Pub Date: June 28th, 1977
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan