Saturday, August 29, 2020

Review of "Hits, Runs & Errors," by Robert Smith


Review of

Hits, Runs & Errors, by Robert Smith

Five out of five stars

 There are fundamentally three eras in baseball. They are the times before Babe Ruth began his run of power hitting, the era from that point until the arrival of Jackie Robinson dramatically expanding the talent pool and then after Robinson. Published in 1949, this book mentions Jackie Robinson, but covers the first two eras.

 More specifically, there is a great deal of coverage of the early years of professional baseball and some of the tactics players used to acquire an edge. One of the simplest was where the home team would place baseballs in the tall outfield grass so when a ball was really whacked, they could run to one of them, pick it up and quickly fire it back into the infield.

 One of the most significant facts repeated here and known only to the more serious followers of the history of baseball is that many blacks played in the major leagues in the early years. Through the efforts of hard-core segregationists like Adrian “Cap” Anson, he refused to take the field against black players, blacks were formally banned from major league baseball in the late 1880’s.

 Many of the names mentioned in this book will be known to even the casual follower of baseball history, yet there will also be many that will be new to the reader. They often toiled for very little, yet these men, through their toil and sweat, built the foundation of what quickly became universally acknowledged as the national pastime.  

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