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Review: The Glory of Their Times

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The Glory of Their Times (1966, 1984)

Audio Version

By Lawrence S. Ritter

The death of Ty Cobb in 1961 prompted Ritter to travel the country in search of former players so that their stories might be saved for posterity. The result of that four-year journey was The Glory of Their Times, a collection of oral remembrances by 26 stars of the early Twentieth Century. The words are by the players themselves, with some judicious editing by Ritter.

What's so great about this book is that there is no detached author trying to put past events in context; the participants speak for themselves. Fred Merkle's "bonehead" play that cost the Giants the pennant in 1908 is described from several different perspectives. Fred Snodgrass gives his account of his drop in the seventh game of the 1912 World Series.

But what gives this volume such life is its humor. The Charles Victory Faust episode (told by Fred Snodgrass) by itself is almost worth the price of the book. The anecdotes about Rube Waddell, Babe Ruth, and Germany Schaefer ("He beat Chaplin any day of the week") are priceless.

If you treat the book as 26 accounts of baseball in the early Twentieth Century, The Glory of Their Times also functions as a history. The accounts cover pretty much every major player and event in the big leagues from 1900-1940. Sure, it isn't detailed or comprehensive, but it's a great survey of the era.

But above all else, this is a very entertaining book, one that you will be sad to finish. Its reputation as one the best baseball books ever is well deserved.