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Willie Keeler: From the Playgrounds of Brooklyn to the Hall of Fame (Paperback)
  • Willie Keeler: From the Playgrounds of Brooklyn to the Hall of Fame (Paperback)
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Willie Keeler: From the Playgrounds of Brooklyn to the Hall of Fame (Paperback)

(author)
£31.95
Paperback 374 Pages / Published: 05/02/2015
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Playing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Willie Keeler is still considered one of baseball's most accomplished batters in the history of the game. Wee Willie's popular "Hit `em where they ain't" explanation for his batting success has become part of baseball lore. He is known for his quick-thinking at the plate and for his record-setting forty-four-game hitting streak in 1897 that was not surpassed until Joe DiMaggio broke the record in 1941. In addition to being one of baseball's most accomplished hitters, Keeler was an integral part of two memorable teams-the Baltimore Orioles of 1894-1897 and the Brooklyn Superbas of 1899-1900. Willie Keeler: From the Playgrounds of Brooklyn to the Hall of Fame recounts the life of this talented yet often overlooked ballplayer. It follows Keeler from his birth in 1872 in Brooklyn to his death in 1923. His unique story includes a career that was almost evenly split between the rough and "dirty" National League of the 1890s and the new, more disciplined American League of the early twentieth century. Each part of this book examines a key stage of Keeler's life and career: his childhood and teenage years; his career with the Baltimore Orioles; his years with the Brooklyn Superbas; his time with the New York Yankees; and his life after baseball. Featuring several rare photographs, many of which have not been seen in more than a hundred years, Willie Keeler provides an in-depth look into the life of an undersized ballplayer who forged a big career. Baseball fans, scholars, and historians alike will find this book both informative and entertaining.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781442246539
Number of pages: 374
Weight: 526 g
Dimensions: 227 x 151 x 27 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Willie Keeler carefully recounts an amazing career which began with Keeler forming part of the old storied Baltimore Orioles Big Four (along with John McGraw, Joe Kelley, and Hughie Jennings); spanned the 19th century and Dead Ball eras; and concluded with the modest Keeler being able to boast of owning the game's second-highest lifetime batting average upon retirement. The book portrays the diminutive Keeler as a winsome gentleman, while providing convincing evidence of his all-around brilliance and especially his greatness as a hitter, despite his lack of power and the advantage of his having played most of his career before the advent of the foul strike rule. * Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine *
Spatz weaves his tale deftly. His prose is effortless and direct, with little excess. Every sentence tells you something that puts events in context. . . .There's a lot to like about this biography. The quotes by and about Keeler are telling, the photos and notes are first-rate, and the portrait of Keeler as a gentleman amidst ruffians is vivid. I was left wanting to know more about Keeler's life off the field, and more about his precise role in the offensive innovations of the Orioles, but what's there is much more than a half-full glass and pleasing to the taste. * The SABR Bookshelf *
Spatz has once again contributed a recommended biography of a lesser- known baseball figure, one where the reader does not get bogged down in tedious game- by- game descriptions but can delight in an eminently readable account of one of the game's purest scientific hitters. * Journal of Sport History *
Lyle Spatz's fine biography of Willie Keeler is a chronicle of his times and an engrossing history of major- league baseball from 1890 to 1915.... Lyle Spatz appears to have culled every box score from Keeler's debut to his last bunt single. His research is impeccable, although an avalanche of stats and the choreography of bygone pennant races ultimately becomes a trek through long- forgotten games peopled by equally distant players. * NINE: A Journal of Baseball History & Culture *
Lyle Spatz has skillfully crafted a noteworthy biography of one of baseball's all-time smartest hitters, Willie Keeler, of `hit them where they ain't' fame. Spatz's thoughtful description of the man and his times is right on target. -- Rick Huhn, author of The Chalmers Race: Ty Cobb, Napoleon Lajoie, and the Controversial 1910 Batting Title That Became a National Obsession, The Sizzler: George Sisler, Baseball's Forgotten Great, and Eddie Collins: A Baseball Biography
Lyle Spatz's thoroughly researched and well-paced biography reestablishes Willie Keeler as one of the game's all time greats, while bringing to life his contributions to two of the greatest teams ever assembled to play the game: the mid-1890s Baltimore Orioles and the late-1890s Brooklyn Superbas. Spatz's book is equally important for it invites readers to consider the momentous changes to baseball's rules that the game underwent between the start of Keeler's career in the early 1890s and the end of his career in 1910. Using Keeler's offensive output as the linchpin, Spatz's smart analysis will have baseball fans rethinking what those changes meant to the early game's offensive and defensive numbers, and the continuing effect they have had on the game today. -- David B. Stinson, author of Deadball: A Metaphysical Baseball Novel
One of the game's biggest stars at a time when baseball was maturing into its modern setup, Willie Keeler played with some of the best and most interesting teams and characters. In this well-written biography, Spatz entertainingly brings us the life and times of a man now best remembered for the aphorism "hit 'em where they ain't." -- Daniel R. Levitt, author of The Battle that Forged Modern Baseball: The Federal League Challenge and Its Legacy

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