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Customer Review

Yes, there was a lot of research done in this book. However, the one drawback, at least for me, was the large amount of play-by-play for so many games especially in the first seven innings with each chapter being one inning. The "seventh-inning stretch" of the book, following the first seven chapters recapped a number of anecdotes regarding Mr. Waddell. You get different versions of the same stories depending on which source you read. As an example Rube's catcher, Ossie Schreckongost, supposedly nailed a tough steak in a restaurant on the floor whereas in Comedians and Pranksters of Baseball published many decades ago by The Sporting News has the steak being nailed to a wall.

Rube Waddell led a tumultuous life with his erratic behavior and his addiction to alcohol. Interestingly enough just prior to his death he cautioned youngsters to avoid both cigarettes and alcohol. Despite the fact he had difficult marriages there was a lot of caring in Waddell. Yes, he chased fire engines, but he was not on the scene simply as an observer. He actively took part in assisting fireman and saving lives. He also did yeoman work in helping to maintain a levee by hauling sandbags against the Mississippi River. He wore out his welcome with several managers who tired of his erratic behavior. The book has an apt title "Just A Big Kid" because whether it was playing baseball in the major leagues or with a bunch of ten-year olds it was all the same to Rube Waddell. An index at the end of the book would have been a nice addition.
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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