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Under Pallor, Under Shadow: The 1920 American League Pennant Race That Rattled and Rebuilt Baseball Hardcover – April 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803234716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803234710
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Felber's story gives us Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker; both Smokin' and Shoeless Joes, Eddie Cicotte, and Carl Mays and the man tragically paired with him, Ray Chapman. And here are Damon Runyon and Ring Lardner. Both tasty and nutritious, entirely satisfying for all fans of baseball history."—Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal
(Margaret Heilbrun Library Journal 2011-01-20)

"Thoroughly researched, sensibly presented and soundly argued—a ringing triple in the gap."—Kirkus Reviews
(Kirkus Reviews 2011-02-15)

"It was a different era, and a year that deserves the kind of treatment Felber affords it."—Jerry Milani, Baseball Digest
(Jerry Milani Baseball Digest 2011-04-29)

"Under Pallor, Under Shadow functions both as a compelling and well-crafted story and as a vehicle for understanding the importance of the 1920 season and its place in baseball history."—William Harris Ressler, Nine
(William Harris Ressler Nine)

“The story of the 1920 American League season is too good to be fiction. Who coulda thunk up a plot that included the on-field death of a popular star, the collapse of a corrupt powerhouse club, the emergence of an unlikely dictator, and a revolution in offense powered by a slugging former pitcher? Bill Felber turns his discerning eye on this watershed year—truly the dawn of modern baseball.”—Gary Gillette, coauthor of Big League Ballparks: The Complete Illustrated History
(Gary Gillette 2010-10-04)

“I kept wishing that ESPN’s Sportscenter or Baseball Tonight were around when the events in Bill Felber’s sweet history of the watershed 1920 baseball season, Under Pallor, Under Shadow, were taking place. . . . No season has ever had as much news. No book has ever told the story better.”—Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
(Leigh Montville 2010-10-04)

“The 1920 American League season will always be remembered for the tragic death of Ray Chapman, but Under Pallor, Under Shadow sheds light on the many other fascinating events in this lively account of perhaps the most pivotal year in baseball history. A must-read for those who love America’s national pastime.”—Mike Sowell, author of The Pitch That Killed
(Mike Sowell 2010-10-04)

About the Author

Bill Felber is the author of A Game of Brawl (Nebraska 2007), The Book on the Book: An Inquiry into Which Strategies in the Modern Game Actually Work, and other books. He has been the executive editor of the Manhattan Mercury (Kansas) since 1986.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on March 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the past several years it has become popular to write books on various special years in the history of baseball. The book on the 1921 baseball season is one of the most recent ones. This book entitled "Under Pallor, Under Shadow" by Bill Felber relates incidents relative to the 1920 season. The book is comprised mainly about three teams: the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, and the Chicago White Sox. Author Felber recounts the pitch that killed Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman thrown by Yankee submariner Carl Mays. Two books previously written have covered this unfortunate incident in the past. Mays was not very well liked either by teammates or opponents, and attempts were made to get him to retire from the game or have him banned. Other teams threatened not to play if he continued to pitch against them. In later life Mays claimed this incident prevented him from gaining entrance into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Respected author Fred Lieb stated Yankees' manager Miller Huggins' belief that Mays didn't give his best effort in the 1921 World Series as the reason for keeping him out of the Hall of Fame.

Author Felber also relates incidents relative to the eight players involved in the throwing of the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. Hatred between White Sox owner Charles Comiskey and American League President Ban Johnson prevented them from working together to untangle the fix, choosing instead to sweep it under the rug. Sportswriters Charles Dryden (Chicago) and James Isaminger (Philadelphia) broke the story in September of the 1920 season leading to the suspension of the seven active players. One of the eight, ringleader Chick Gandil, had retired following the 1919 World Series.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. C Sheehy on April 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Under Pallor, Under Shadow" is a great book for the reason that it provides us with an inside history of one of the most important seasons in the rich history of major league baseball. It was a season that seemed to have it all. It had one of the greatest pennant races of all time, combined with Babe Ruth's emergence as baseball's predominant home run hitter to the emergence of the sorted "Black Sox" scandal of the 1919 World Series. Bill Felber also works in the beaning of Ray Chapman without trying to surpass the amazing history of that event in "The Pitch that Killed."

Felber's insights into the team and city dynamics make this a very readable history of the era. Also, he has done his homework and catches the social environment on the teams he focuses on so the reader can fully understand what was going on in the locker room as well as the field. The profile of how teams traveled then is simply fascinating. There are three main reasons why I decline to give this book the full five stars. For one thing, after so much talk about Ban Johnson, his replacement by Judge Landis and what became of him really is minimized. Also, there is virtually no mention of the National League. Granted there may not have been the story but it would have been nice to hear about Brooklyn's pennant race. Lastly, the postscript is very limited and some more information would have been welcome.

All-in-all this is a great history of a period in baseball not often explored. I would recommend it to any baseball fan!
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