The Glory of their Times

The Glory of their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
© 1966 Paul Ritter
300 pages

C.S. Lewis remarked that he enjoyed nothing more than the sound of men laughing. Listeners will find plenty of that in The Glory of their Times, consisting of interviews with men who played baseball when it was just beginning to become a sport with a mass following. These were men who played for the love of the game, not for money — there was none — or for clout, because they were regarded little better than wastrels or rogues. There’s great delight to be found in these five hours of old men (some in their eighties) telling stories of the Old Days, of feats on and off the field. Since Ty Cobb’s death inspired the book, Ritter realizing that a unique generation was passing away and its stories needed to be captured, he comes up a lot in the interviews: he’s regarded as a singular talent but a bit of an ass, someone who looked down on other players because the game didn’t come as easily to them, and who interpreted the hostility he generated from his arrogance as being aimed against him because he was a Georgia hayseed playing with northern boys. (Babe Ruth is remembered more fondly as both a talented athlete and a good fella to hang around with.) There’s some discussion of the Black Sox Scandal, of course. The most unexpected part for me was the prominent Native American presence in early baseball. I suspect the print version may have more interviews, because Ritter indicated that he planned to interview over thirty men. This was an all-around pleasure to listen to.

Since this is posted on April 23rd, St. George’s Day and the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (and traditional birth), here’s something combining….baseball and Shakespeare.

“What is the name of the gentleman in the secondary position?!”
“What is secondary!”
“I asked not who is secondary –“
“Who is primary!”
“I cannot tell!”
“He is tertiary.”

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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2 Responses to The Glory of their Times

  1. Pingback: Tales from the Deadball Era | Reading Freely

  2. Pingback: America’s untouchables and baseball | Reading Freely

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