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Wicked Curve: The Life and Troubled Times of Grover Cleveland Alexander Paperback – May 18, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0786424122 ISBN-10: 0786424125

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Wicked Curve: The Life and Troubled Times of Grover Cleveland Alexander + Eddie Collins: A Baseball Biography + Jimmie Foxx: The Pride of Sudlersville (American Sports History Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers (May 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786424125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786424122
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A newspaper journalist and onetime general manager of a minor league baseball team, John C. Skipper is also the author of A Biographical Dictionary of Major League Baseball Managers (2003), A Biographical Dictionary of the Baseball Hall of Fame (2000), Take Me Out to the Cubs Game (2000), Umpires (1997) and Inside Pitch (1996). He lives in Mason City, Iowa.

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Customer Reviews

It is the story of one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all-time and of a very troubled man.
Big Mike
The book is very well written, apparently extremely well researched and very much worthwhile reading for any baseball fan.
alan bell
Likewise, his .121 wins above teams that he pitched for is still a major league baseball record versus 300 game winners.
William Galle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Byron Fay on November 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently read John Skipper's book on Grover Cleveland Alexander. I enjoy books on early baseball legends, and I felt this book did a nice job reviewing the career of Alexander and his life after baseball. Those of us who love baseball and enjoy the history of the game have always been aware of his troubled life, but this book brought forward new and accurate information of him. I would recommend this book to all baseball fans. My only complaint is that I thought the price was a little high for what is basically an oversized paperback book. If you can get it at your local library and a reduced price copy it would be to your advantage.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By William Galle on February 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
While skillfully researched, this is a biased book peppered with animadversions about a peerless pitcher and baseball legend. The author, John Skipper, focuses in extensively on the negatives of Grover Cleveland Alexander's alcohol addiction, off field behavior, and tortuous life. Rather than writing a balanced and dispassionate book, Skipper is really representing his own tendentious point of view.

In reviewing his life, Alexander observed that World War 1 ruined him, producing deafness in one ear and shrapnel (later cancer) in the other, exacerbating his epilepsy, and contributing to his mental and physical decline. After the war, he found solace in alcohol to relieve his war wounds and epileptic seizures. Alexander lived before medication and molecular nutrition existed to treat epilepsy; hence, he likely medicated himself with alcohol to forestall seizures. His wife, Aimee, pointed this out as did others. Skipper does not plump the psychological and mental effects of those debilitating chronic problems. He is long on disdain and short on compassion about Alexander's long-suffering life.

The book is clearly an unsympathetic and depressing portrait of a great pitcher who, unlike his Hall of Fame pitching peers, overcame insurmountable odds to continue winning games(193) after returning from the war during the last stretch of his career(1919-1930.) In proportion to what he accomplished via a vis the top 300 game major league baseball pitchers, Alexander's outstanding achievements are frequently overlooked and forgotten today by baseball fans and sports writers. In this regard, some important facts and statistics are omitted from Skipper's book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian Cooper on March 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Wicked Curve" is the tragic story of an all-time baseball great who would have been held -- then and now -- in greater acclaim if not for his battles with the bottle. There is no telling what Grover Cleveland Alexander could have achieved if not for a minor-league beaning, injuries and hearing loss suffered in World War I and his lifelong association with "John Barleycorn." Biographer John Skipper does a steady and straightforward job of presenting the story behind the star's glories and his descent into poverty and alcoholism. In "Wicked Curve," the reader comes to appreciate the remarkable abilities and achievements of Alexander the Athlete despite the human weaknesses of Alexander the Man. This is a good book for anyone interested in early 20th century baseball.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gary W Moore on January 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I must confess that John C. Skipper is my favorite baseball author and one of my favorite authors of any genre, so expected to enjoy this book. I anticipated a fact filled story that detailed with great skill the life of a legend, but I didn't expect to be moved to tears by the tragedy and humanness of the life of Grover Cleveland Alexander. John did an amazing job of helping the reader not only understand the life of Alexander, but also feel it. 5 Stars are not enough. I wish I could give Wicked Curve 10.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Moyer on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Ol Pete" or Grover Cleveland Alexander lived two lives. He lived a grand life of baseball and then a depraved life of longing for baseball and drink. Some might call it sad in it's totality. Some might feel sorry for the man who at one point in America's baseball history was a "LEGEND". I see simply a man who had to deal with many of life's difficulties. Sometimes he succeeded and did so with magnificence. Sometimes he failed and did so also with devistating squalor.

"Wicked Curve" delves into Alex's greatness as well as his demons. Though this book by John C. Skipper one gets to know one of the greatest pitchers in one of the greatest games just a little bit better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Big Mike on June 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
I would not say that this biography of Grover Cleveland (Ol' Pete) Alexander was the most cheerful or uplifting book. What I will say about it is that it tells the story very well and very accurately, without pulling any punches or glossing anything over. It is the story of one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all-time and of a very troubled man. The facts are well-documented and presented. Many of Alexander's key games and greatest moments on the mound are covered in great detail, yet it never fails to hold interest. Questions are raised such as was Alexander's drinking due to his trying to cope with having epilepsy. Some once thought it would help to control seizures. Was his drinking at least partly due to the shellshock he endured after serving in World War One?? Was his epilepsy brought on after being knocked unconscious for two days by a thrown baseball?? Alexander was known to be a quiet and very humble man, despite his pitching achievements. Very little seems to be known in great detail about his personal life. Alexander is presented as a great pitcher and a deeply flawed and haunted man off the field. This is not a "tell all" book. It does not attempt to dig up scandals or tear down the character of the man. It just presents what is known about the life of a baseball great and probably as much as will ever be known about him.
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