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The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball Paperback – Bargain Price, March 2, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
A note on Deford's writing style is necessary. I heard him speaking about this book on NPR, and his oratory was beautifully captivating. He writes in much the same way that he speaks, but what works for him in his spoken word stories is not as effective in print - sometime his language gets in the way of the story rather than moving it along. It was enough of a problem for me to dock a star from my review rating, but I still found the book enjoyable.
If you are already knowledgeable on the subject of McGraw, his star pitcher, and his amazing team, you can take or leave this book depending on how you feel about baseball "valentines". If you are new to the subject, however, this is a fine place to start to whet your imagination and encourage you to learn more about these great stars and this fascinating era of baseball's history.
Both McGraw and Mathewson were fascinating individuals who never would have crossed paths in the real world had it not been for baseball. The story of their successful professional and loving and enduring personal realtionship is told beautifully by Deford with insight, humor and an obvious care for his subjects and its time.
Frank DeFord does a fantastic job in describing the lives (personal and baseball) of these two greats of the game, as well as the era they lived in. One of the topics I found interesting was the involvement of gambling in baseball at the time. Gambling was already a problem in the 1900s and early 1910s, and perhaps it led to the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Deford writes "the fixed World Series of 1919 was a climax rather than an oddity." (p.116). Deford doesn't cover this topic in great detail but he touches on it throughout the book just enough to give the reader a feel for the gambling atmosphere in the game. Pete Rose's actions would not have raised an eyebrow in that era.
I enjoyed this book tremendously. Frank DeFord has an easy-to-read writing style. I did not know much about Mathewson or McGraw before reading this book, so I feel I learned a lot about these greats of the game. I definitely recommend it for anyone interested in baseball.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyable book that is part baseball book and part culture history of the time. It features two interesting subjects and discusses how baseball began to evolve into the the modern... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Eric B.
Very good dual biography of Christy Mathewson and John McGraw, but I don't quite get the subtitle. It's great to read about the lives and careers of Big Six and Muggsy, but just... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Tommy Mann
Terrific book. I have read both major biographies of John McGraw, who I admit to admire. But this book puts him and Christy Mathewson into a perspective of the times... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Demosthenese
Am a huge baseball and a new-ish fan of Frank DeFord's writing. Just didn't know he wrote books. Really enjoyed this one.Published on December 23, 2013 by L. Hicks
This book was so great I spend a day walking around POLO GROUNDS TOWERS (NYCHA) just to get a feel of the history of the Giants. Saw a historic plaque dedicated to Willie Mays. Read morePublished on June 30, 2013 by james goodridge
I can't express how much I enjoyed reading this book. When I was a boy I ordered a set of hall of famer baseball cards. Read morePublished on April 21, 2013 by Shrike141
This was an excellent book about old time base ball.Frank DeFord is a great writer and I could not put this book down.Published on June 9, 2012 by Steve