Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumor in Town by Matt Dahlgren, December 8, 2007
This review is from: Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong (Hardcover)
Re: Rumor in Town by Matt Dahlgren

I loved this book because it touched me and intrigued me in so many ways. The author's personal story of his relationship with his grandfather evoked for me childhood memories of listening to baseball games on the radio with my father and sharing his delight in baseball newsreels at the local movies. Living in a small town in central Indiana in the late 1940's and the 1950's gave us no other access to these bigger-than-life heroes.

This book also reminds me of why these men were our heroes, what qualities America once revered in the making of our heroes, and how the men who played the game of baseball in the first half of the 20th century represented these values. The tragedy of Babe Dahlgren's story is that he clearly belonged in the pantheon of these heroes; the actions of those who denied him the chances to claim his place reveal the petty politics and personal power plays that mere mortals can bring to a sport.

Although the author doesn't directly speak to this issue, I think the book provides a glimpse of the sport's reflection of American racial prejudices and stereotypes of the time. I also think this may be a relevant piece of the Babe Dahlgren story. Matt Dahlgren provides us with plenty of convincing evidence that Babe's outstanding performance on the field and at the plate was completely inconsistent with the marijuana use rumor. So, the reader begins to wonder, what is behind the power of this particular rumor? The stigma of it that fuels the retelling? One clue, in my opinion, is the comment of one of his contemporaries who scoffed at the rumor saying, " Babe was too classy a guy for that". In the context of white American social attitudes of the time, marijuana use was something done by "negroes" and people who admired their jazz music (which was not regarded as a genre of proper American culture). Perhaps this unspoken tagging was part of the damage to Babe's career that statistics can't tell us.

My dad would have loved this book. I hope someone makes it into a movie.

Rita Milhollin
Portland, OR
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NY Times Nov 18 2007, November 17, 2007
By 
Marty Appel "Yankee nut case" (Larchmont, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong (Hardcover)
Rumors of Drug Use Have Damaged for Decades
By MURRAY CHASS
Barry Bonds may go to jail if a jury believes he lied about using steroids. Many other players could face suspensions next season if George J. Mitchell identifies them in his coming investigative report on steroids in baseball.

But the story of Bonds or any other player doesn't approach the tale of Babe Dahlgren, a major league first baseman from 1935 to 1946, whose career and life were ruined by an unsubstantiated rumor that he smoked marijuana.

Under Major League Baseball's drug-testing program today, players get 50-game suspensions for testing positive for steroid use, 25 games for amphetamine use. Dahlgren, whose career ended nearly 60 years before testing began, merely had his life wrecked.

The first player tested for drug use, in 1943, Dahlgren volunteered to be tested, and he underwent a series of examinations by a doctor in Philadelphia to prove he was not a user of marijuana.

This bizarre and sad, heart-rending story is told in a new book, "Rumor in Town" (Woodlyn Lane), by Matt Dahlgren, the player's 37-year-old grandson, who had promised that he would get to the bottom of the scurrilous talk.

He did, learning that it was started by Joe McCarthy, manager of seven Yankees World Series champions, and propagated by Branch Rickey, father of baseball's farm system and a brilliant executive.

In this engrossing book, Matt Dahlgren also writes that a succession of baseball commissioners did nothing to help Dahlgren clear his name, starting with Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who told him, according to the book, that "castration would be an appropriate punishment for the culprit behind the rumor."

"Babe would write to Landis every time he heard of someone who heard the rumor, but Landis never did anything," Matt Dahlgren said Friday in a telephone interview. "Babe wrote to other commissioners, and none of them did anything."

By the time Fay Vincent took office in 1989, Dahlgren, then 77, had wearied in his pursuit of trying to get a commissioner to help him salvage his reputation.

"It's too bad; I wish I had been involved," Vincent said by telephone from Florida. "I would have tried to fix it."

He added: "People railroaded him for illegitimate reasons. It's a sad story. He was accused of being on drugs when I doubt very much that he was."

Vincent, who lauded the book, said, "It's not one of baseball's prettiest stories, and I regret that it didn't get fixed before he died."

Why did McCarthy start the rumor? With detective-like qualities and using as a guide a manuscript his grandfather wrote, Matt Dahlgren pieced together the story.

It began with a meeting, at the suggestion of James Dawson, who covered the Yankees for The New York Times, between Dahlgren and Lefty O'Doul, an expert hitting instructor, at the wedding of Joe DiMaggio and Dorothy Arnold.

McCarthy, apparently seeing O'Doul as a threat, learned of O'Doul's hitting help and confronted Dahlgren about it. After that season (1940), McCarthy orchestrated Dahlgren's trade to the Boston Braves.

At the time, McCarthy explained the trade by saying that Dahlgren's arms were too short to play first base, even though Dahlgren, who had replaced Lou Gehrig the year before, was widely considered the league's finest first baseman.

But in a subsequent conversation with "baseball insiders," McCarthy offered a different reason for the trade, demonstrating his resentment of Dahlgren at the same time. Dahlgren, his grandson quoted McCarthy as saying, would not have made a game-losing error in a late-season game that hurt the Yankees' pennant chances "if he wasn't a marijuana smoker."

Dahlgren did not become aware of the rumor for a couple of years, but it was responsible for a series of moves in his career. In the next two seasons, 1941 and '42, he played for the Braves, the Cubs, the Browns and the Dodgers. Early in 1943, Dahlgren had an unpleasant salary session with Rickey, a frugal -- cheap -- general manager.

According to the book, Rickey infuriated Dahlgren by asking, "Do you smoke marijuana?"

Rickey traded Dahlgren to Philadelphia before the season, and during a trip to play the Dodgers, Dahlgren and a teammate, Danny Litwhiler, encountered Charlie Dressen, a former Dodgers coach. Dressen said Rickey was asked by his bosses why he traded Dahlgren, and "Rickey told them he traded you because you smoke marijuana."

The trail went further. The Phillies traded Dahlgren, who was an All-Star, to Pittsburgh in December 1943. Matt Dahlgren figured it out.

Ted McGrew had been the Dodgers' chief scout and attended the meeting at which Rickey cited marijuana as the reason he traded Dahlgren. Bill Cox, the Phillies' owner, who was about to be barred for life for betting on their games, hired McGrew in October. Two months later Dahlgren was traded.

It was not his final move. In April 1946, the Pirates sold Dahlgren to the St. Louis Browns, his seventh move in six seasons.

In 1985, 11 years before he died, Dahlgren wrote a letter to an old teammate, Al Lopez, asking the name of a scout who Lopez said was present at dinner when the owner of the Indianapolis minor league club told him that Rickey had "gone to great lengths to damage my reputation by saying I smoked marijuana."

In a handwritten reply, the 77-year-old Lopez told Dahlgren, "The scout's name was Ted McGrew."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rumor in Town is an Absolute Page Turner!, December 2, 2007
This review is from: Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong (Hardcover)
The author has a way of writing that makes the reader
smell the leather of the glove, hear the crack of the
bat, share the tears in history as he takes you into
the Yankee dougout on the date that Lou Gehrig took
himself out of the game. Of course it ended his
streak, but along with the members of the Yankees, I
cried.

The author's promise, getting to the bottom of the
"rumor" is so touching. There is no doubt in my mind
that the best firstbaseman in history is now in the
big show in Heaven. One doesn't need a love for the
game to appreciate, the talent, frustrations, respect,
character, and most of all love for the game by Babe
Dahlgren, as well as well as the love he shared with
his grandson. An incredibly well written book by a
new young author.

The way Babe Dahlgren's career was handled was a
travisty. Nobody with his credentials and ability
should have in those days been constantly traded,
demoted and traded.

It is a true testimony to the pettiness of the men
who are still little boys that own the clubs. They can
crush the hopes and dreams of a great athelete in what
is supposed to be a game. Most important, "Rumor in
Town" A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong is not
just another sports book destined to end up on the
sale shelf at the book store, it's a true love story
of a young boy for his Grandpa and the promised that
he kept.

Jim Campbell Benga Lagoon Resort, Fiji
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumor in Town, December 1, 2007
This review is from: Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong (Hardcover)
What a wonderful read. This book is more about the lessons in life of love, dreams, hard work, heartbreak, success and ultimately failure, than it is about baseball alone. It's a captivating novel between a grandfather and his grandson and the reader becomes engaged in their deepening relationship as the story of the grandfather's illustrious career in Major League Baseball's golden era unfolds. This book is highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumor In Town is a MUST READ!!, December 1, 2007
This review is from: Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong (Hardcover)
This book is such a powerful story about the relationship between a Grandfather and Grandson. It absolutely moved me and I couldn't put it down. It was about the rumor that ruined a man's baseball career but it was so much more than that. It will appeal to anyone who has ever had or wanted a close relationship with a Grandparent or adult to teach them life lessons. I enjoy baseball, but this book is not just for baseball fans. I highly recommend this book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Rumor in Town' by Matt Dahlgren, September 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong (Hardcover)
I loved the book written by Babe Dahlgren's grandson. It is the story about how a vicious rumor affected Babe Dahlgren's life for years, even up to his final days. It made me sad that he had to live with the rumor (which was a lie) hanging over his head. He did not deserve this kind of treatment from Joe McCarthy, Judge Landis, and the others that ignored his pleas to set his record straight. He heard nothing back from the very people who should have stood up for him and done the right thing.

It was wonderful that his grandson, who listened to Babe's stories about when he played baseball, wrote the book. He kept a promise to his grandfather. It is a book well worth reading, especially if you love baseball.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumor In Town: A black eye for baseball, Vindication for a humble former player!, August 4, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong (Hardcover)
In a conversation with my dad a number of years ago, I asked him who the best fielding first baseman he ever saw was, Gil Hodges or Keith Hernandez? My father, who grew up a Giants fan in the 1930's, said "Neither- Babe Dahlgren. A former Yankee & Pirate." I was shocked- mostly because I had only heard of Dahlgren in passing, as the man who replaced the legendary "Iron Horse", Lou Gehrig, as the Yankees' first baseman. Everything else my dad had ever shared with me about baseball was true, so I had to take his word for it. "Rumor In Town" therefore not only serves to clear the name of Dahlgren, it also reinforced, once again, my father's opinion.

Imagine, in this day and age, in the litigious society that we live in, what would happen to someone who spread rumors about you as being a drug-user, without a shred of evidence? You'd own their home, bank account, etc...and yet, that's EXACTLY what happened to Babe Dahlgren, the rumor started by Yankees' manager, Joe McCarthy, and spread by Dodgers GM Branch "The Maharajah" Rickey, aka the man who signed Jackie Robinson to a major league contract in 1947. With 2 legendary, respected men spreading such slander, how could a kind man whose first love was the game of baseball get a fair shake against 2 titans of the game???

Rather than spoiling what was/is a compelling read (I read it practically straight-through in a day), and in light of the excellent review by Marty Appel/Murray Chass, I'll say simply that author Matt Dahlgren, the author's grandson, did what no baseball commissioner had been able or willing to do, which is to 100% clear the good name of his grandfather. It's too bad that Babe didn't live long enough to read his grandson's labor of love, but I feel indebted to Matt for sharing this heart-breaking/heart-warming story of his treasured grandfather. We all wonder what our legacy will be after we're gone...Matt Dahlgren has ensured that the legend of THIS Babe will forever after be one of joy and family and the game of baseball, forever burying a "Rumor in Town" once and for all.

A truly compelling read. Thanks, Matt!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Story Needs to Be Told, May 2, 2010
By 
This review is from: Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong (Hardcover)
Seventy one years ago today, Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak came to an end. Many baseball fans know that the immortal Lou Gehrig began his famous streak by replacing Wally Pipp in the Yankee lineup. However, not many fans know who replaced the Iron Horse on May 2, 1939. That player's name was Babe Dahlgren and he is the subject of the book: Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong by Matt Dahlgren.

Several weeks into the 1939 season, Lou Gehrig asked manager Joe McCarthy to be taken out of the lineup. Gehrig's weakness, eventually diagnosed as a fatal illness, was evident in Spring Training.

All eyes were on Lou Gehrig in the spring of 1939. Year after year he had been a Yankee mainstay, but unlike other springs, he just seemed lethargic, lacking strength and energy. The model bat Lou had used for so many of his illustrious seasons suddenly seemed too heavy for him, causing him to experiment with lighter bats, ultimately choosing the Joe Gordon model--the highest bat in camp.

Babe Dahlgren was, by most accounts, the best fielding first basemen of his era. He had good power, hit for a respectable average and played in the 1939 World Series and the 1943 All Star game. For his career, Dahlgren hit .262, slugged 82 HRs and drove in 569 runs. In fact, he made the all-star team at every level he competed in, from the Pacific Coast League, the International League (as well as Player of the Year), and the Majors. (The bottom of this article contains several video showing Babe in action).

Viewed merely through his statistics, one would be left to believe that Babe was an above average, if not spectacular, ball player who played for nine different teams across a decade spanning from the mid 1930s to the mid 1940s. Yet, it is the very vagabond nature of Dahlgren's career that begins to shed a light on a darker story.

A rumor was circulated in Major League baseball that Dahlgren smoked marijuana. In this era, allegations of drug use were extremely serious. After discovering the existence of the rumor in 1943, Dahlgren became the first Major League Baseball player to take a drug test for a non-performance enhancing drug. He did so voluntarily to discredit the rumors circulating at the time. By the time of the test, however, the damage to Dahlgren's career had been done.

Much of the book is devoted to finding out the "who" and the "why" of the rumor. Memories of baseball icons like Joe McCarthy, the manger of the New York Yankees or Branch Rickey, the General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, conjure up McCarthy's Yankee dynasty years and Rickey's efforts to integrate baseball. You are less likely to hear about McCarthy's jealousy or spitefulness or Rickey's legendary tightfisted cheapness. It is the faults of these legendary men that were the undoing of Babe Dahlgren's career.

The books shows that McCarthy started the rumor and Ricky perpetuated it. In addition, several baseball commissioners, including Kenesaw Mountain Landis failed to do anything to squelch the rumor. In the end, it was easier for baseball to allow the rumor to fester and metastasize than to take a brave stand to call out the perpetrators.

Sadly, Babe spent the last twenty plus years of his life trying to clear his name. He wrote to old teammates getting them to validate information about a past story. Twice, Babe started to write his memoir. The first one was destroyed in a house fire. The second manuscript remained unfinished when Babe died in 1996.

However, this book is much more than a thorough investigation into the rumors that waylaid Babe's career. The book tells the story of the love between a Grandson and his beloved Granddad. Babe is shown to be a great teammate and a man who truly loved the game of baseball. Moreover, Babe was shown to be a man of principle and integrity and stood up for himself and teammates in dealing with baseball management and unfair treatment.

Each chapter begins with a real-life remembrance of their time together. Each chapter is, in essence, an inning of Babe's life. After Babe's death, Matt Dahlgren made a pledge to himself to tell Babe's story.

Matt's final words sum up his feelings for his Grandfather.

Grandpa, I miss our time together. I miss your stories. But they live forever deep in my soul in a place I hold dear. I hope you're proud--not of me for telling this story, but of yourself for being a remarkable man of impecable character. I keep my promise, Grandpa. I rest your case. May you rest in peace forever. Love Matt.

Mark Ahrens
[...]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong
Rumor in Town: A Grandson's Promise to Right a Wrong by Matt Dahlgren (Hardcover - September 1, 2007)
Used & New from: $5.48
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.