Baseball between the Lines: Baseball in the Forties and Fifties, As Told by the Men Who Played It

ISBN 10: 0803272685 / ISBN 13: 9780803272682
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Synopsis: Here is the exciting story of baseball during and after World War II—when clubs still traveled by train, when night games and artificial lighting began to replace hot afternoons at the ball park, when the major leagues finally took on the talent that had been restricted to the Negro leagues, and when baseball started to become big business. In this companion volume to Baseball When the Grass Was Real, also available as a Bison Book, Donald Honig collects the reminiscences of nineteen players, including Robin Roberts, Raph Kiner, and Enos Slaughter, who lay their careers on the line and also talk about the likes of Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, and Ted Williams.

Review: The logical batterymate to Honig's classic Baseball When the Grass Was Real--the oral history of the national pastime from World War I to World War II--Baseball Between the Lines captures the voice of the game through the men who played it in the 1940s and 1950s. Once again, Honig, through his tape recorder, has assembled a colorful roster of former stars as skilled with anecdotes as they were on the field. Tommy Heinrich, Kirby Higbe, Ralph Kiner, Herb Score, Monte Irvin, Robin Roberts, and Enos Slaughter are among the best of those who throw their memories around for us to catch.

How much has the game changed through the years? Slaughter, the Cardinals' Hall of Fame outfielder, makes sense where today's players tend to make dollars. "Money? Never crossed my mind," he says. "I just wanted to play baseball. I signed a contract calling for $75 a month that first year. Coming off the farm, that looked like great money....The important thing was that I was getting the opportunity to play professional baseball."

Slaughter, of course, went on through a lengthy career to make the most of that opportunity. Honig, too, makes the most of his. "There is hardly a page," writes the immortal sports columnist Red Smith in his introduction, "that doesn't bring back memories." Like a great hunter of reminiscences, Honig has a knack for bringing 'em back alive; these memories become shared--and forever new--simply by their preservation. --Jeff Silverman

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Donald Honig
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