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The Glory of Their Times : The Story of Baseball Told By the Men Who Played It Paperback – March 19, 1992

4.9 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The voices of the game's distant past continue to reverberate with a distinct freshness in Lawrence S. Ritter's The Glory of Their Times. An oral history of the game in the first two decades of the century, Glory sends out its impressive roster of players to tell their own stories, and what stories they tell--the story of their times as well as of their game; the scorecard includes Rube Marquard, Babe Herman, Stan Coveleski, Smoky Joe Wood, and Wahoo Sam Crawford. A delight from cover to cover, Glory is the next best thing to having been there in the days when the ball may have been dead, but the personalities were anything but.

From Library Journal

Shortly after the death of legendary baseball player Ty Cobb in 1961, Ritter, armed with a portable tape recorder, attempted to obtain an oral history of early-20th-century baseball from Cobb's contemporaries. The edited transcription of the interviews he obtained became a best seller and went to several editions. This audio, accompanied by a 32-page booklet of photos, is a modern release (also available on CD) of Ritter's interviews with Fred Snodgrass, Sam Crawford, Hans Lobert, Rube Bressler, Chief Meyers, Davy Jones, Rube Marquard, Joe Wood, Lefty O'Doul, Jimmy Austin, Goose Goslin, and Bill Wambsganss, as selected by producers Henry W. Thomas and Neal McCabe. It is quirky, charming, witty, and fun. What a love for baseball they all had! An essential purchase for all sports audio collections.?Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarpPeren; First Edition edition (March 19, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688112730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688112738
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Randy Keehn VINE VOICE on June 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the greatest books I've ever read and may well be the best non-fiction book I ever read. The book is actually a collection of reminiscences of old-time baseball players compiled by their interviewer, Lawrence Ritter. The original book was written in 1966 with additional chapters added for the revised 1984 version that I read. What comes across first and foremost in all the recollections is the joy and dedication of the long-retired players. At a time when labor strikes, hold-outs and escalating salaries are standard sports stories, this book takes Baseball nostalgia to a new level. It isn't just about the joy of the game, however. This book brings to light a lot of forgotten Baseball history. I fancied myself a bit of a Baseball historian but there were a number of major events in Baseball's early history that I had never heard of before. I think the most memorable was Fred Merkle's "bonehead" play that cost the Giants the pennant in 1907. That was a situation where he forgot to touch second base and thereby cost the Giants the winning run. It is told (and referred to often) with better embelishment than I just gave it but, then, that's the point of my praise; the whole book is a poetic look backwards at the game we sometimes take for granted these days. It's no accident that the best parts of the book are the earliest recollections. You can almost see the corrupting effects of popularity creep up on the game in the 1920's. The stories that these veterans tell and the details that they give make you feel like you've been there yourself. If you're a Baseball fan, you'll love this book. If you're not a Baseball fan, reading this book might just make you one.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book that is near and dear to the hearts of most baseball fans, frequently cropping up on lists of the best baseball books of all time. Inspired by the example of Alan Lomax, who recorded old blues singers down South in the 1930's, and motivated by the recent death of Ty Cobb, Lawrence S. Ritter, an economist and New York University professor by trade, spent several years (1961-66) tracking down and interviewing old ballplayers, recording their memories of the game for posterity before they too passed away. The book presents these sessions as extended monologues, alternately amusing, proud, defensive, and wistful recollections of their own careers, of the times they played in, and of the characters they knew.
But now, as if the book weren't enough, the tape recordings of the actual interviews are available in audiobook form. Each is introduced by Ritter, who came to know many of the players quite well. And in his introduction, Ritter reveals that it was only years after the project that it occurred to him that one of the things driving him was the death of his own father. Recapturing the memories of the players his father had loved served as a final filial connection.
The interviews include those with : "Wahoo" Sam Crawford, "Rube" Marquard, "Chief" Meyers, Hans Lobert, "Smokey" Joe Wood, Davy Jones, Ed Roush, and Fred Snodgrass. The stories they tell range from Hans Lobert racing a horse around the bases while barnstorming through Oxnard, California, to Fred Snodgrass defending his infamous muff; to a first hand account of the beaning death of Ray Chapman at the hands of Carl Mays; and finally a wonderful recital of Casey at the Bat by Chief Meyers.
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Format: Paperback
Being a die hard baseball fan, I am always on the look out for great baseball books. And after reading numerous lists of favorite baseball books by Amazon.com readers, it seemed that there was one unanimous choice, The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence Ritter. And let me say, that I wasn't dissapointed in the least. The beauty of this book is that you feel like you yourself are sitting down with the different players interviewed and having them regale you with stories about playing baseball in the early 20th Century or earlier. The players interviewed are not all household names which adds so much to it. Most of us know the exploits of Cobb and Ruth. Not as many know the stories of Harry Hooper, Wahoo Sam Crawford, and Paul Waner to name just a few. This book is a pleasure to read through and all I can say is thank God that Mr. Ritter wrote this book when he did as all of the players interview here have since passed on I believe. Don't miss this book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The names Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner don't resonate as much as they used to. As the decades go by even the old-timers among us haven't been around long enough to remember them. They've pretty much become historical, iconic figures, like the stoic-looking George Washington on a dollar bill. It's a bit of a sad reminder of the inexorable march of time, but what a great relief to know that this treasure chest of a book is around to keep their memories alive.

The author got the idea for it in 1961 when he read that Ty Cobb had died. Realizing that many of Cobb's contemporaries would soon suffer the same fate, he set out to meet as many of them as he could and record--literally with a tape recorder--their stories for posterity. Twenty six of them are recounted here. Some of these guys are hall-of-famers, some of them not even close, but all of them--every single one--had a load of interesting tidbits to share. Baseball was a different game back then. America was a different place.

The first great thing about the book is that you get at least several takes on the great ballplayers. One of the fellows, for example, playing Detroit, talked about being a little nervous about Cobb, whom they had all heard would sharpen his spikes. A Detroit player, however, mentioned that Cobb never sharpened his spikes. Not that they didn't discourage the other team from thinking so.

Walter Johnson had an arm like a bullwhip, but he was a nice enough guy and a friend of Sam Crawford. Late in the game, if his team was ahead by enough runs, he'd toss a meatball in to Crawford and let him belt it. He never did that for Cobb, though, who he hated. Cobb could never figure out why Crawford was able to hit him.
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