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Baseball When the Grass Was Real: Baseball from the Twenties to the Forties, Told by the Men Who Played It Paperback – September 1, 1993
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No sport reveres its past quite the way baseball does, and no sport has mined the richness of its oral tradition quite the way baseball has. Picking up where Lawrence Ritter left off in the marvelous classic The Glory of Their Times, Honig set out across the country with a tape recorder to preserve the voices--and memories--of the men who played the game between the two World Wars. This is a wonderful and essential collection, full of bravado, pride, and passion for the game, with a lineup that includes Bob Feller, Lefty Grove, Johnny Mize, Charlie Gehringer, and Pete Reiser. You don't so much read it as put your ear to it, as it alternately whispers and roars.
Just listen to Hall of Fame hurler Wes Farrell, in the midst of explaining the art of the knockdown pitch, segue into what it was like to face Babe Ruth, just one of the volume's hundreds of remarkable moments: "I never threw at Ruth, though. You just didn't do that. He was baseball. What was it like pitching to him? Like looking into a lion's jaw, that's what. Hell, man, you're pitching to a legend! And you knew, too, that if he hits a home run, he's gonna get cheers, and if he strikes out, he's still gonna get the cheers. You were nothing when Ruth came up."
Nicely illustrated with vintage action and portrait photos, Baseball When the Grass Was Real gives a fine face to its voices, but long after the cheering's stopped, it's the voices that remain memorable. By preserving them as fully as he has, Honig's provided a virtual vehicle for traveling through time and eavesdropping on history. --Jeff Silverman
From Library Journal
Published back-to-back in 1975 and 1976, this doubleheader covers America's favorite pastime from the 1920s through the 1950s. To get the inside story, Honig interviewed 37 well-known players. LJ 's reviewer praised both volumes, contending that if fans "read but one baseball book this season make it When the Grass Was Real " ( LJ 3/15/75) and calling Between the Lines "a first-rate contribution to the lore of baseball" ( LJ 3/15/76).
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Sadly, at this writing only Bob Feller and Max Lanier remain, but the memory of each player survives in these eloquent pages. Readers might also enjoy THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES, an earlier oral history from author Lawrence Ritter.
As good as the stories are that the "stars" tell, it's the other players who relate the best tales. In particular, Billy Herman's tale about his night as Ernest Hemingway's dinner guest is almost worth the price of the book alone. Cool Papa Bell's stories of his experiences in the Negro Leagues and "barnstorming" against Major League players are priceless. Rip Sewell's explanation of how he began to throw his "Eephus pitch" is one of the few times that I've seen in print.
If you enjoyed Lawrence Ritter's, "The Glory of Their Times", a book about baseball's very early players, then you will love Honig's book. These two works are worth a place in every baseball fan's collection!