An Associated Press story in the Washington Olympian about a new book and exhibit highlighting The Glory Days: New York City Baseball, 1947-1957, edited by John Thorn.
Note that this should not be confused with Harvey Frommer’s New York City Baseball: The Last Golden Age 1947-1957, published originally by Macmillan in 1980, and re-released by The University of Wisconsin Press in 2004.
Author and publisher have a tendency to toss around the description "the golden age" pretty liberally. Often, they can’t agree on the exact timeframe, to wit:
The Golden Age of Baseball, by Robert Cassidy, Bruce Herman, Dan Schlossberg, and Saul Wisnia (Publications International, 2003)
Baseball: The Golden Age, by Harold Seymour (Oxford University Press, 1989)
Baseball’s Last Golden Age, 1946-1960: The National Pastime in a Time of Glory and Change, by J. Ronald Oakley (McFarland, 1994)
Baseball’s Golden Age: The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon (Harry N. Abrams, 2003) Evocative shots of players and personnel from the early-mid 20th century.
Willie’s Time: Baseball’s Golden Age, by Charles Einstein (Southern Illinois University Press, 2004) One of my favorite stories recounts how Einstein, who had ghostwritten a Mays autobiography, ran into the ballplayer one day and went unrecognized. When he tried to identify himself as the writer who had done Mays’ book, the ballplayer, not known for his intellectual pursuits, asked "What book?"
Who would have thunk it? The co-author of the printed version of Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary claims he was never much of a baseball fan, prior to the project. The reason is reminiscent of Ray Kinsella’s rationale in Field of Dreams:
I’ve never liked baseball much, in part because my father has always loved it so.
Stricken by polio at age 11, Ward distanced himself even further from the game.
When he decided to particpate in Burns’ film, he writes in "Learning to Like Baseball," an article in American Heritage in 1994 that his father was less than impressed:
“Boy,” he said, frowning, “you don’t know a ****** thing about baseball.”
That was pretty much true, and I’m frank enough to say that even after months of poking around in the daunting literature—battalions of players and teams and leagues, whole libraries of cabalistic statistics—I was still not at all sure how to go about my task.
Ward’s ignorance, it seems, was not much of a hindrance. The book, originally published by Knopf in 1994 and re-released as a paperback two years later, is a marvelous collection of essays and photographs, Each time period, usually a decade in duration, is presented as an "inning" and supplemented by contributions from the likes of Roger Angell, Tom Boswell, Bill James, Doris Kearns Goodwin, George F. Will, John Thorn, and Robert W. Creamer, among others.
Like the game itself, the book, which faithfully follows the video format, is best enjoyed in a leisurely fashion.