Baseball's Most Notorious Personalities: A Gallery of Rogues

Jonathan Weeks, Author
Jonathan Weeks . Scarecrow, $45 (244p) ISBN 978-0-8108-9072-5
Reviewed on: 07/22/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-47512-0
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-8108-9073-2
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From murder to hijinks to hotheads, all the bases are covered in a book dedicated to baseball's anti-heros. In his latest, sports enthusiast Weeks (Cellar Dwellers: The Worst Teams in Baseball History) profiles a range of meager characters among them stars and lesser folks alike. There is the disturbing story of a stalker fan, which inspired Bernard Malamud's The Natural , and of Lee Elia, who in the early 80s took over as manager of the struggling Chicago Cubs and unleashed tirades directed at everyone –particularly the fans, whom he referred to as "nickel-dime people" and "urged them all to find jobs instead of hanging out at the ball park, which he labeled their ‘playground.'" Then, there is Dave Kingman, a superb hitter and malcontent, whose "itinerant lifestyle" led him to play for four different clubs in the 1977 season. Stubborn and contentious, his is a story of talent and tantrum. To no surprise, the chapter on "Onerous Owners" features a profile on George Steinbrenner, described by Weeks as a "walking contradiction" who had "no qualms about insulting the highest paid Yankee players." Batting statistics for more than 35 players are included, as biographic information. The bad boys reign in this book as cringe-worthy activities are recalled on every page. (May)
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