PIONEERS OF BASEBALL by Robert Smith

PIONEERS OF BASEBALL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Not the usual pacesetters but 16 stellar personalities who helped, in one interesting way or another, to make baseball America's national game. Like Alex Cartwright who (never mind what they say about Abner Doubleday) laid out the field and devised the ""three-out, all-out"" rule; cricketeer Harry Wright whose Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first to play openly--and excitingly--professional ball; pitcher/manager/promoter A. G. Spalding of sporting goods fame; Mike Kelly, immortalized by the phrase ""Slide, Kelly, slide!"" Smith, who knows enough to know what others don't know, will tell you that Charles Comiskey--now associated only with ""an old ball park in Chicago""--was an innovator who ""instilled the desire for speed, for constant action, for tight infield play."" And he'll remind you that Babe Ruth's home runs ""were never freaky or accidental""--or due to the old, easier rules. Black pitchers Joe Williams and Satchel Paige are integrated into the line-up; Jackie Robinson gets his due for ""behav[ing] as any normal human would who was having baseballs thrown at his head""; and Ted Williams--portrayed, like the others, as less than perfect--wins particular praise for protesting, at his own Hall of Fame installation, the omission of notable blacks. Crisp, informed profiles with something to say, for a change.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1978
Publisher: Little, Brown