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Barnstorming to Heaven: Syd Pollock and His Great Black Teams Hardcover – February 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0817314958 ISBN-10: 0817314954 Edition: 1st Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: University Alabama Press; 1st Edition edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817314954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817314958
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,678,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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“Syd Pollock’s son, Alan, grew up with the Clowns and worked for his father in various capacities. Alan finished drafting Barnstorming to Heaven shortly before his death, and veteran baseball writer James Riley edited the manuscript and shepherded it through publication. Alan Pollock lovingly recounted the routines of King Tut and the Clowns and recorded a treasure trove of anecdotes. His insider’s account of the business side of baseball barnstormers is fascinating and illustrated by a superb collection of photographs. Barnstorming to Heaven is excellent baseball history, a must for every fan’s bookshelf.”—The Alabama Review

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“It is part memoir and part history of the country’s most successful barn-storming baseball team, a changing group of black ballplayers, including three women, who attracted fans for their inspired clowning, but who were also dazzlingly accomplished players.”—Boston Sunday Globe

“This is a fond farewell to baseball’s barnstorming tradition and its greatest proponet, Syd Pollock of the Indianapolis Clowns. A must-read for every fan.”-- Robert Peterson, author of Only the Ball was White

About the Author

Alan Pollock was editing this manuscript when he suffered a sudden and fatal heart attack. His widow approached longtime friend, and author of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, James A. Riley, to complete the project.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I initially bought this book because of my interest in and study of Negro League baseball. Other books have focused more on the various organized leagues and the well known stars such as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and Cool Papa Bell. This book is about the entertaining barnstorming part of that past era of baseball that must never be forgotten. It is mainly the story of the Indianapolis Clowns and their owner Syd Pollock (a man who should be enshrined in Cooperstown). It is a personal story told by Syd's son, Alan Pollock. Other books have been written with diligent research, but this is told through the memories of someone who experienced the times and heard the stories first hand from his daddy and many of the great players who played for the Clowns. When reading it I found myself closing my eyes and I could visualize the amazing skills of these great athletes, hear the joy and laughter of the fans, and feel the bumpy rides in the team bus as it traveled down miles and miles of old roads. I tried to imagine what it must have felt like to play the game you love before hundreds and sometimes thousands of fans and hearing and seeing the joy in their faces. But then to get on that bus not being able to take a decent shower, going down the road and not knowing if you could find a place that would serve you food or find a private restroom. Often sleeping on the bus so you would be rested to play a game the next night in another town. But the book is not written as a social criticism, but as an uplifting heartfelt love story of the game of baseball, of the men who played it with joy and enthusiasm, and about a man of great integrity who loved and cared about his fellow man no matter what the color of his skin. Yes, I learned more about the Negro baseball era, but I also shed some tears and shared some laughter.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Adams on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
encyclopedic review of the negro leagues

i was looking for more of a humorous escapades type book, or maybe
tales of how the minority players tried to out-fox or hoodwink the
dumb racist southern sob's ( like my ancestors!!) and still play and love
the game of baseball.........
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