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John Tortes "Chief" Meyers: A Baseball Biography Paperback – June 25, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 251 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (June 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786468017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786468010
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #975,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William A. Young is emeritus professor of religious studies at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He is the author of a number of books on the world's religions.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Paul on January 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
William Young's biography of John Tortes "Chief" Meyers is much more than an account of a sports career. Meyers was a professional catcher at the end of the dead ball era. More notably he was a Native American (Cahuilla) athlete who was, to put it mildly, relentlessly stereotyped, and yet succeeded. The book evenly chronicles his life in baseball while rounding out the picture with well researched details of the upbringing, cultural pride, wit, and articulate thoughts of this long ago star. Meyers fascinating intersections with sports icons John McGraw, Christie Mathewson, & Jim Thorpe are included. The in-depth accounts of games are mostly limited to the few World Series in which Meyers played. A well done book about a smart, powerful man.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andy Shuping on February 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
Many baseball (and non baseball fans) are aware of the difficulty that black ball players had breaking into the big leagues. But how many are familiar with the story of Native American ballplayers? I would guess rather few...I didn't become aware of their story into college when a librarian, who was researching the history of a local team, began telling me stories about these early ballplayers. And this book reminds me of some of those stories.

William Young provides the reader with a wealth of information, not just on John Meyers career in baseball, but helping us set his story into the historical perspective. He provides information on Meyer's tribe, the Cahuilla, and historical accounts on the prejudices and troubles that tribes had during that time period to give the reader a greater perspective on the accomplishment of Meyers. Young brings Meyers to life, helping us to understand his wit and character, and the stories that Meyers told through his life. Meyers is a player that caught for two of the greatest pitchers ever in Christy Mathewson's and Walter "Big Train" Johnson, played for the legendary John McGraw. In addition Young shares what happened to Meyers after his baseball career, letting us have a full look at the Meyers as a player and a person.

Overall this is a fantastic look at a catcher and ball player who has gotten lost amongst today's stars. young does an excellent job of bringing Meyers character and sense of humor to life.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on May 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazon offers a number of biographies for sale of early baseball players that may appear to have a hefty price for a paperback book. However, for the ones I have read, the price has been worth it. I have found this book on John Tortes "Chief" Meyers by William Young to be another worth while purchase as I feel the author has done a commendable job in researching his subject. Meyers' life growing up in California as a member of the Cahuilla (pronounced ka-weeyu) Indians is covered as well as the year he spent studying at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Meyers does regret his dropping out of Dartmouth after one year.

Author Young draws a lot of information on Meyers' opinions from Larry Ritter's marvelous book entitled "The Glory of Their Times" which is also available on audio LP, CDs, and DVD. Meyers expresses his feelings about being a "stranger in a strange land" because of his Indian heritage. The author also covers notable portions of the career of Albert "Chief" Bender of the Philadelphia Athletics and Jim Thorpe of the New York Giants. All too often rather than use their proper name they would be referred to as the "Chief", "the Indian", or "the big Indian."

Meyers spent the greatest portion of his major league career as a member of John McGraw's New York Giants from 1909-1915. Meyers served as Christy Mathewson's catcher after Roger Bresnanan was dealt to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The World Series of 1911-1913 are covered in which the Giants were on the losing end to the Philadelphia Athletics (1911 & 1913) and the Boston Red Sox in 1912 in which there were two memorable plays, the Snodgrass "muff" and the pop foul hit by Tris Speaker that could have been caught by either Mathewson pitching, Merkle playing first base, or Meyers catching.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr Mapcase on January 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
Although the primary focus is on Meyer's baseball career, it is a wonderful biography of a wonderful ballplayer, who never let the inherent racism of the day get to him. Meyers was an all-star catcher who appeared in four World Series, three for the Giants and one for the Robins (Dodgers.) There is a nice chronicle of his later activism with Native American affairs, and his lasting legacy in baseball. (Free review copy.)
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John Tortes "Chief" Meyers: A Baseball Biography
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