Beyond the Ballpark: The Honorable, Immoral, and Eccentric Lives of Baseball Legends

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9781442258662: Beyond the Ballpark: The Honorable, Immoral, and Eccentric Lives of Baseball Legends
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Most baseball fans know of the amazing accomplishments Hall of Fame members achieved on the field, from Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak to Cy Young’s 511 career wins. But few are as familiar with the ballplayers’ lives away from the diamond—especially those icons who played before the Internet and 24/7 media coverage. Beyond their baseball statistics, what kind of individuals were they? How did they conduct themselves out of the spotlight? What made them tick?

In Beyond the Ballpark: The Honorable, Immoral, and Eccentric Lives of Baseball Legends, John A. Wood looks at the personal lives of fifty members of the Hall of Fame, examining their childhoods, families, influences, life-changing events, defining moments, and more. The players range from the really good guys to bizarre characters and even the downright immoral. The author considers how tragedies may have impacted players, such as the shooting of Ty Cobb’s beloved father by his own mother, and seeks to explain the dispositions of others, such as why the great Rogers Hornsby couldn’t seem to get along with anybody.

By taking a closer look at who the players were as men, Beyond the Ballpark captures the essence of these fifty Hall of Famers. Including such names as Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, and Babe Ruth, this book is for all fans who are interested in more than just a ballplayer’s statistics.

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About the Author:

John A. Wood is professor emeritus of religion at Baylor University. He is the author of Perspectives on War in the Bible (1998) and The Panthers and the Militias: Brothers under the Skin? (2002). Wood is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Review:

Baseball during its history, has been full of characters to say the least. You could almost classify this book into the good, the bad and the ugly. Just for good measure you could throw in the sad as well. It takes a look at players lives outside of the game during their careers as well as their lives after baseball. The book sticks to legendary names of the game so it is a roster of players most fans are familiar with and possibly will shed some new light on some of their personalities. It goes well beyond statistics and shows what these guys were like on a man to man level. It shines a whole new light on the legends of the game and will help readers possibly understand why some of these players did what they did during their lives. The book covers a wide array of stars and eras so there should be someone in here everybody will relate to, no matter whom your team allegiance lies with. (Gregg's Baseball Bookcase)

One of the most enjoyable parts of perusing this wide ranging cast of characters is the plethora of baseball anecdotes that fall as casually as dropped names. (The Inside Game: The Official Newsletter of SABR's Deadball Era Committee)

Wood goes into plenty of detail about the lives after baseball of all the immortals in his book, touching on their religions, families and wives, and how successful they were in the next lives. It is a fascinating look at the men whose exploits on the field will live forever at Cooperstown. (The Mighty Quinn Media Machine)

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