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Pages from Baseball's Past

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Endorsements

I loved the book of stories based on the radio show Pages from Baseball’s Past. I am delighted the series is now coming to my email inbox. … [it] is just excellent. I learn a lot from reading it.             

– Bill James, Senior Baseball Operations Advisor, Boston Red Sox

Click here to go to Bill's longer comment on Pages from Baseball's Past

 

I'm not one of those people who refuses to pay for anything on the Web … but if I could pay for just one thing, it would be Craig Wright’s baseball writings.

– Rob Neyer, Senior Baseball Writer, ESPN.com

 

This is the best, and best researched, series of baseball history that I've ever read. Each entry is much-anticipated. It never disappoints. Rather, I can't wait to read the next one each time."  

-- Ray Buck, Senior Staff Writer, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

 

A friend asked me what was the best baseball book I read this year. I thought a moment and told him to subscribe to Pages from Baseball’s Past – it’s like a good book but better!

– James Boyd, Wooster, OH

 

I really look forward to each column and I haven’t got one yet that wasn’t enjoyable.

– Pete Palmer, baseball author and co-editor of the annual “Emerald Guide to Baseball”

 

Thank you for all your wonderful writing and true storytelling. It truly adds to my love of the game and its history. Keep writing, you are blessed with a very special gift.

– T.C., Drexel Hill, PA

 

If you can’t journey back in time to see the old players for yourself, this is definitively the next best thing.

– Darryl Brock, author of  the baseball historical novel If I Never Get Back

 

A Page from Baseball’s Past is some of the best, most readable, most thoroughly-researched baseball writing I've ever seen.

– D. Bruce Brown, of Horsehide Trivia

 

I receive many baseball-related emails and publications – yours is the freshest and most thoughtful of all. Great job! – S.V. Danville, CA

 

Your musing are the most enjoyable baseball writings I’ve ever seen … even better than the Bill James’ Abstracts from the 80’s. Thank you for the impact you’ve had on my life … one article at a time.

– Chuck Motl, East Dundee, IL

 

As an actor who portrays Ty Cobb on stage, and interested in the Dead Ball Era, I find Craig’s writing a delight to read. Extremely impressive. No doubt about it, you are Cobbian or Ruthian or Grantland Riceian in your writing.

– Norm Coleman of the one-man show “The Life and Times of Ty Cobb”

 

I am so delighted such a collection of baseball stories exists and is compiled in an entertaining manner. Until I happened upon this … collection of stories I had no idea there was such an entertaining way to learn of this wonderful sport.

– Mike Wheless, grandson of the old ballplayer Ten Million in our sample stories

 

I'm enjoying your stuff tremendously … just phenomenal, the best emails I get all week.

– Steve Moyer, former President, Baseball Info Solutions

 

"Baseball's Past" is such a treat. I’m happy to endorse something as valuable as your work.

– Paul Adomites, former SABR Publications Director, editor of The Cooperstown Review

 

It's a "no-brainer".....you have to order this! Thanks Craig .. love the articles!
- Rick Schabowski, President of the Ken Keltner Badger State Chapter of SABR

 

It is a treat getting such blue chip updates on history (over here!) in the UK.

– Mike Ross, Chairman of SABR’s United Kingdom chapter

 

I’m just thrilled to have recently begun receiving the pages from baseball’s past. I fully intend to be a lifetime subscriber … I love each one that I’ve received.

– S.T., Smithfield, RI

 

I wouldn’t lose this for the world. I run a busy professional practice and yours is the only email worth reading. I’d pay much more than $21 a year.

– M.H. Pickering, Ontario

 

Your labor of love is greatly appreciated.

– J.H. Silver Spring, MD

 

I have thoroughly enjoyed the pages over the past year. Your offerings are wonderfully done and always interesting.

– S.B. Albany, NY

 

I am 70 years old. Last year my son gave me a subscription for my birthday. I sure do look forward to the stories each and every week. – D.M. Norristown, PA

 

Thanks. By the way, these have been the best baseball articles I’ve ever read!

– K.M. Norristown, PA

 

You nearly had me crying at work this morning! Great story.

– M.W. Eugene, OR

 

Fabulous writing. I enjoy your articles to the nth degree. I like prose.  Baseball is a story, not an article about standard deviations from the mean, etc.

– C.M. Crytal Lake, IL

 

Your “histories” are simply marvelous … thanks for all of them.

– J.H. San Jose, CA

 

I … used to live in Ft. Worth and always enjoyed the radio show as a great way to get in the mood for the ballgame. … WOW! This is even better than the radio show.  

– J. E., Louisville, KY

 

I commend you for the work that you do, the quality of your research and the clarity of your writing.

 W. Y., Hudson, Quebec

 

I am greatly enjoying your stories of baseball’s yesteryear … wonderfully done.

– R.D. Indianapolis, IN

 

I absolutely love your publication, and can’t imagine it being any more interesting … Your selection of topics and the way you write them up are totally entertaining, and the footnotes are a fascinating feature that sets you apart from all the others. What I've been doing is printing each article and saving them to read on the plane when I travel. The Skymall mag gets old, but baseball never does!  Keep up the good work!

 - W.H., Fairview Heights, IL

 

I really appreciate the time you put into the stories and I enjoy reading your research notes at the end too!  … We gave my sister-in-law a subscription and she sent me a card that she is also enjoying them a lot. 

- D.S., Plano, TX

 

Happy Holidays, and Thanks for the GREAT JOB! Let me know when my subscription is up.....I'll renew in a heartbeat!  - R.S., St. Francis, WI

 

Keep up the good work! Your offerings are all in the strike zone.   J.H., San Jose, CA

 

Thank you [that story] was truly enjoyable!  One of the best of your best!!!    T.H., Whitefish, MT

 

These [stories are] delightful. I’m so glad that I subscribed!   R.R., Toledo, OH

 

I am so impressed by the quality of stories, both the story-telling and the research. In fact, one of my favorite features is your little research notes. They are often fascinating and entertaining by themselves. I never fail to read them.                                                                                                 

 – J.M., Concord, NH

 

Thanks so much for all the stories … They are really well done. – J.H. McLean, VA

 

I want to say your delivery system means a lot to this subscriber – not having to retrieve the stories but simply having them show up in my emailbox is just wonderful. I can imagine the temptation to change that and better protect yourself from being ripped off. I want you to know I appreciate the value you have placed on the convenience of your subscribers. I hope it will always be worth it.               

– J.R., Rochester, NY

 

Thanks so much for the piece on Jim “Catfish” Hunter … You did an excellent job … I will be going to Hereford … and share a copy of your “Page” with Helen, his wife. Keep up your good work.”

 – P.C., Durham, NC (former neighbor and distant relative of Hunter’s)

 

I agree with my fellow subscribers on … their assessment on the enjoyment they are receiving from your features.  I look forward to getting them through the year, especially during the bleak winter months.

– R.D., Indianapolis, IN

 

Your sample stories were great … I figured they were a select group, and I was prepared for a drop in quality when my subscription started, but, no, they are every bit as good. This second order is a subscription I am giving as a gift to my brother-in-law.                                                         

- M.H., Seattle , WA

 

Thanks for what you do. I really enjoy it!!!

   T.M., Waco, TX

 

I want to thank you for the stories. They are outstanding and I really value the subscription.

   M.W., Eugene, OR

 

I really enjoy reading about the players and situations from the past. I love what you [are] doing, you've got a great thing going. … Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

   J.P., Sherman, TX

 

I really enjoy all the stories, and the additional comments and information that is added to the end of each one.  Keep up the good work!!

T.S., Ottawa, KS

 

I look forward to Baseball’s Past every time one lands in my inbox. Thanks for doing them.

   R.B., Irving, TX

 

I have just started receiving “A Page from Baseball’s Past.” You do a great job.

    P.C., Durham, NC

 

I look forward to the articles … Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this.

    J.B., Wooster, OH

 

This was a gift subscription which I am absolutely going to renew on my own. Thanks. 

 - J.K.,  West Orange, NJ

 

Hi- I am a recent subscriber and I really enjoy your articles.    J.D., Staten Island, NY

 

I’m a new subscriber and am enjoying the articles very much.    G.B., Corpus Christi, TX

 

a year round treat.     L.R., Arlington, TX

 

keep up the good work. I really like the articles. 

  S.S., Indianapolis, IN

 

Thanks for the great stories. I look forward to receiving them.

    R.L., Providence, R.I.

 

I enjoy the stories very much.  J.C., Fair Oaks, CA

 

Always a fun read, at any time of the year.  I.C., Hoboken, NJ

 

I really enjoy these stories.  J.G., Streamwood, IL

 

Keep up the good work.  J.C., New York City, NY

 

Thank you for sharing your insights and talent.  B.C., Florence, SC

 

Thank You! I really have enjoyed the many great baseball stories. – M.D. Buffalo, NY

 

I’ve enjoyed the … subscription and look forward to continuing. – M.C. Scottsdale, AZ

 

Terrific reading. I have saved every issue. - D.S. Kalamazoo, MI

 

Fascinating topics, fine writing. – R.C. Blue Bell, PA

 

Anonymous comments submitted with responses to our monthly

Survey which allows readers to rate the stories of the past month.

 

Very tough call.[four of the nine stories] could have been the best, I think. It's like … 4 homers and 5 doubles — everything either hit the outfield wall or went over it. My job would be easier if you hit a homer and the rest were bloop singles and dribblers. But you do make for great reading.

 

Your marriage of research and readableness is unparalleled.  I love getting these.

 

Rare findings, can’t read this stuff anywhere else! Thank you

 

Every article = great stuff. Thank you for consistently fine writing.

 

[After picking favorite] I’m still waiting, however, for the first story I don’t like.

 

Lots of historical information in many of these articles that I really didn’t know.

 

New twist on an old story. [You] made an interesting case.

 

Always coming up with something I cannot read anywhere else. I really do salute your research abilities.

 

Tough choice. This is all first-rate research and delicious, readable writing.

 

Good analysis of one of the game's more enduring "myths".

 

"Alexander's 1926 season" is another example of your excellent research and ability to tell an in-depth story about what most writers would see as a single, unique event [Lazzeri K] in baseball history.

 

Both two-parters were wonderful: great research, statistics to establish an individual's baseball accomplishments, and emotional content to describe an exceptional man. After reading your stories, I wanted to meet these men and discuss both baseball and how they approached life. I wanted to vote for both Sam Rice stories as the best. Being unable to do so, I chose story #2: I got to know the man there.

 

It gave great information that I did not already know.

 

Just a really interesting and fun story with a lot of new insights.

 

Excellent analysis, and for someone who thinks he is quite knowledgeable about baseball, past and present, there was new and compelling information.

 

Well-researched and written (as always).

 

The Tinker-Evers-Chance stories are a historic "4 bagger" that makes them come alive with a more accurate description of their HOF talent than anywhere else. This month had nine 5 star stories (Should readers pay you per star?) You make it damn hard to pick the month's best story, but it's a joyful difficulty.

 

I am pleased that early black players are included. Bud Fowler is as important as Albert Spalding, ultimately. Thanks.

 

It's hard to pick one. #2 was, of course, very timely. #7 and 8 were very informative. But I chose #3 as a reminder that practically anything can happen in a ballgame.

 

Just really interesting information that fills in the blanks.

 

The best description/analysis of Paige's MLB career I've read anywhere. Fantastic reading --much thanks.

 

The final days of the Bambino was one of the best that you have ever done and I learned a significant amount of information that I had not seen before.

 

Extremely poignant story you have unearthed here. Many thanks.

 

Loved each and every one. Such a great mixture of facts/stats and human interest.

 

Another month of great stories — I really enjoyed them all, and had to give everything five stars.

 

With just one story you got me hooked. Keep the good work!

 

How about all of the above!

 

Tough to pick a “winner.” They were all top notch.

 

This is always very difficult, since there never seem to be ANY stories that I DON’T like a lot!.

 

Don’t you ever write a sub-par story?

 

 

 

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Thank you so much for your generosity in allowing the use of your stories in our exhibit “Pride & Passion, the African-American Baseball Experience.”

     Library Staff, University of Oregon

Bill James commenting on Pages from Baseball’s Past

 

The first thing we have to understand about baseball writing is that baseball exists to be enjoyed.  The second thing we have to understand is that this changes all the other rules. Take journalism, for example.  Now journalists, on occasion can be right serious in how they approach their subjects, and they should be; it would not be appropriate to report on floods, fires, murder, and mayhem with your tongue in your cheek. Sports are different. Floods, fire, murder, and mayhem are not by their nature enjoyable.

 

There are two basic groups of sports journalists -- those who understand this distinction, and who therefore report on sports in such a way as to help sports fans enjoy them, and those who proceed from the paradigm of educational theory, and report on sports as if they were another subdivision of the catastrophes of modern society.  From one group you get arguments about MVP Awards, profiles on superstars, updates on the pennant race, humor, parody, history, trivia, speculation, and silliness.  From the other you get serious articles about drugs, payoffs, racism, gambling, dissension, greed, impending financial ruin, moral decay, tooth decay, and your occasional shoulder injury or social disease.

 

I am certainly not intent here upon alienating serious sports journalists or serious sports historians or serious sports anything; I've been accused of being serious myself on one or two occasions.  I am saying, let us ponder the paradox of Pages from Baseball's Past: that a man as intelligent, as knowledgeable, as thorough, as ... well, serious, in the best sense of the word, as Craig Wright would chose to write this series of stories which is simply such a joy -- so light and bright and generally cheery that at times it seems in danger of floating out of your hands.  But I understand that paradox perfectly, perhaps only because I have so much in common with him.  There was a pivotal moment in my evolution as a sportswriter, a moment which occurred in 1978 in the press box of a game in Kansas City.  What happened first that day was that the two teams, the Royals, and the Baltimore Orioles, played an absolutely fantastic baseball game -- a gripping, wrenching, seesawing contest eventually won by the Royals in their last at bat.  What happened second was that nobody in the press box noticed.  I looked around me, and I saw faces not drained or exhausted, not happy or sad, not relieved or frustrated. I saw men over their modems typing furiously.  "What an incredible game," I started to say to the man next to me, and as the words were half-formed on my face he turned to the man next to him and muttered, "The only good thing about this game is that it is over."

 

And that man muttered, "Yeah."

 

Now by the lights of their profession, I should not even need to explain that these men were guilty of no oversight.  The game ended at 10:30 and they had a 10:20 deadline; I didn't expect them to scratch their tummies for a half-hour before they filed their stories.  But I was dumbfounded by the paradox: that this thing existed only to be enjoyed, and yet these men were, by the nature of their assignment, utterly incapable of enjoying it -- nay, more; incapable even of perceiving what the game was to the fans in the stands.  Objectivity is a God to journalism; the universal admonition against cheering in the press box is in effect an admonition not to enjoy the game in the way that a fan enjoys it.  But I wondered about this: if a man sees a wonderful game, and he does not know that he has seen a wonderful game, can he really be said to have seen it objectively?  Can he be said to be reporting objectively upon a thing which exists only to be enjoyed, if he has not the capacity to enjoy it?  The very essence of the enterprise is excluded from his report.

 

If I had the time I should give you the newspaper accounts of that game; I will assure you that not one account, and I read four, so much as hinted that anytime something exceptional had occurred that night.  Is not the good journalist, in a sense, like a poet who will not allow himself to smell the rose of which he rhapsodizes, for fear that the sensation might overpower his verse?  Is that "objectivity," in fact, a protection of accurate perception or a barrier to accurate perception?

 

The world is what it is; we cannot make it better by bewailing its inconsistencies.  Of course sportswriters do not live under a perpetual deadline; most of them can and do enjoy those parts of the game which are open to them.  But I decided that morning that I would never do that to myself; I would never put myself in a position from which I was unable to enjoy the moment of the contest.  I would never become unwilling to enjoy the game, no matter what journalists thought of that.

 

And I understand because of that, why Craig has been writing Pages from Baseball's Past for decades now.  He has struggled for most of his life to understand this game a little better each day than the day before – yet he is also logical enough to understand that he must not stop enjoying the game as part of his struggle to understand it, but rather must enjoy it more, to enjoy it in more different ways.

 

I loved The Man Who Stole First Base, the book of stories taken from the radio program A Page from Baseball's PastMost of what appears here came from the foreword I was pleased to write for that book. My big regret was that another book did not follow, and I did not live where I could hear the ongoing radio series of these stories.  Now I have something better than a book.  The series is coming to my email inbox and the enjoyment of each story includes the anticipation of the next one.

 

Bill James 

 

 The E-version of A Page from Baseball’s Past is dedicated to the memory of Stan Reynolds