Oscar Charleston: The Life and Legend of Baseball’s Greatest Forgotten Player

Jeremy Beer. Univ. of Nebraska, $29.95 (492p) ISBN 978-1-4962-1711-0
In this astute biography, Beer (The Philanthropic Revolution) brings to life Oscar Charleston (1896–1954), a Hall of Fame baseball player and manager of the Negro Leagues. Culling facts from scrapbooks, photo albums, clippings, and letters, Beer describes Charleston as “universally respected and widely perceived to personify the black pursuit of excellence,” as he served as a player-manager for several clubs in the 1920s and ’30s, including the Pittsburgh Crawfords, which included future All-Stars Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, and Satchel Paige. Charleston was described at the time by Negro League sports writers as the league’s greatest player, and, decades later, The Sporting News listed him as a top athlete alongside Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner. In the 1940s, Charleston caught Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey’s attention as a scout for the organization, work he performed up through his death, having recommended several outstanding players, including catcher Roy Campanella. Beer’s evenhanded narrative makes a convincing case for Charleston as the greatest baseball player who never played in the majors. This is a solid hit for baseball historians and fans alike. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/09/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 978-1-4962-1784-4
Book - 978-1-4962-1783-7
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