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The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  4,474 ratings  ·  304 reviews
From the Preface:

This new enlarged edition of The Glory of Their Times contains the complete text and all the photographs that were in the original book, published in 1966, plus for the first time the first-person stories of four additional major-league players - George Gibson, Babe Herman, Specs Toporcer, and Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.
Paperback, Enlarged Edition, 384 pages
Published March 19th 1992 by William Morrow and Company (first published January 1st 1966)
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Start your review of The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
All these were honored in their generation,
And were the glory of their times.

Ecclesiasticus 44:7

Boston Red Sox, spring traing, 1915. Hot Springs Arkansas
Highlighted players, left to right
Smokey Joe Wood
Dutch Leonard
Babe Ruth
Carl Mays
Germany Schaefer (not on team, happened to be in town)
(to enlarge photo, click, click again on Flickr)

This is a TOP TEN book in my baseball library.
Availability. IN PRINT – New, used, Kindle, audio – all available.
Use. READ/[EH?]

Dec 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read for baseball fans. I know there aren’t that many people who give a shit about baseball but I have really grown to appreciate it. This book is a transcription of interviews with baseball players who played around the turn of the century. It was published in the 60’s.

The stories are great and I just have to wonder what happened to this sport. It was such in integral part of American culture (the little that exists) and it’s really fallen by the wayside. It was mentioned in the
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would give this book more stars if I could. Maybe 10. This is, hands down, the best baseball book I have ever read! It was absolutely delightful! The book is, if I understand correctly, interviews with ballplayers, transcribed from tapes which now reside in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. I had not heard of a lot of these players before, but now love them as much or more than the players I follow today. Players like Rube Marquard, Tommy Leach, Davy Jones, Sam Crawford, to name a few. I knew o ...more
Per the advice of a fellow baseball book lover, I listened to the last 25% on audio - that was fantastic! Whether audio, e-book, or hardcover, this book is a baseball classic and deserves all the praise it gets. With so many reviews of this book pretty much covering everything I had to say about it, I will skip writing a formal review and just say that every good thing this book has brought out in other reviewers, I agree wholeheartedly. The stories have such an air of authenticity when Ritter j ...more
Steven Peterson
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book, nostalgic but still powerful. The author tape recorded interviews with many old-time baseball players in the mod 1960s. He essential transcribed the recordings and published them in this book. The result is a first person narrative by many players from the very late 1800s through the 1940s. In a later edition, a handful of new interviews was included. The result is very interesting and even riveting.

One way of addressing this is simply to note some of those interviewed-
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating and, at times, moving account of the early days of baseball, told by the players themselves. Amongst the many stories you will hear of the player who stole 1st base... from 2nd!... and the man who turned an unassisted triple play in the World Series.

Even if you've no interest in the game itself, the audiobook (actually a compendium of interview footage with the players themselves) will hold you captive through sheer charm alone. I'd recommend this to anyone.
Gary Hoggatt
I am a huge baseball fan, and really appreciate the history of the game. I've watched Ken Burns' Baseball probably a half-dozen times. As such, I'm the exact target audience for Lawrence S. Ritter's book, The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It. This book was absolutely fantastic, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with any interest at all in baseball. Even if you aren't currently interested in the game's history, you will be by th ...more
Mike Schneider
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is the book to be read by those who wish to truly understand the history of baseball. It is stories told to the author by those who lived them, including some of the very best of professional baseball's early players. I own several large shelves of baseball books, but this is the one I lend out the most and I recommend it to anyone who asks.
Doreen Petersen
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Great read on the beginning of baseball and the talented players. If you like baseball like me then this is the book for you.
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Being a die hard baseball fan, I am always on the look out for great baseball books. And after reading numerous lists of favorite baseball books by readers, it seemed that there was one unanimous choice, The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence Ritter. And let me say, that I wasn't dissapointed in the least. The beauty of this book is that you feel like you yourself are sitting down with the different players interviewed and having them regale you with stories about playing baseball in t ...more
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivan by: Elizabeth
I can't remember any of my 10th grade teachers. I couldn't tell you what I did for my birthday last year. I have no memory of what I ate for lunch yesterday. But I still remember the exact location of the pitch that lost my Little League championship when I was 15.

That's the most impressive part about this book: the amazingly detailed recollections of old ballplayers about their playing days decades earlier. They can remember stats, conversations, and crazy plays with such clarity and enthusiasm
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the all-time great baseball books.
Sue K H
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I was missing baseball and decided to buy The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It when I noticed that there was an audible version with the actual taped interviews from the players themselves. It was only $5! I could tell from the length that the audible is a condensed version of the print book, so I purchased both. I listened to this audio first. It is fantastic!

The interviews were done shortly after Ty Cobb's death in the early 1960's. Th
Jun 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
What a great Costco find! Stumbled on this book that claimed to be the best baseball book ever published. Problem is, it was published in the 1960s initially. The author set out to find a handful of aged former baseball players, long forgotten yet residing somewhere in the country with balefuls of memories on the greatest sport of all time. Each chapter is essentially a different ballplayer from the early 20th century waxing poetic about different teammates, managers, and opponents. It was fasci ...more
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-baseball
This book is an ABSOLUTE GEM for baseball fans. The author conducted a series of interviews during the 1960s with several of major league baseball’s early stars from what is now known as “The Dead-Ball Era,” the period from 1900 to 1919, when Babe Ruth (who had won renown as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox) hit a then astounding 29 home runs.
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I could happily reread every year.
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Like just about anyone else who picks up this book, I thought it would be fun to read first-hand accounts of early professional baseball. But I wonder if the same attention wasn’t bestowed on early twentieth century farm laborers or tradesmen or university professors or the players’ wives if there wouldn’t be nearly the same amount of intrigue. The subjects are simple, mostly very down-to-earth men. Most don’t care to inflate their own tires. Most love to reflect on the people they cared about. ...more
Luke Koran
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball
In one of the greatest contributions to preserving the history of professional baseball through the lengthy process of tracking down and interviewing the long-ago retired players that made the early era what it is, Lawrence Ritter’s “The Glory of Their Times” deserves every ounce of credit and appreciation it has ever accumulated, and then some.

A total of 26 noteworthy ballplayers, most of whom began their professional careers before 1920, provided their oral history to this seldom-known writer
Chad Simons
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this collection of recorded interviews. Not sure I would do this one as a book. Its a must listen. This reminded me of sitting around the campfire listening to my grandfather spin tales. Revisionist history? Perhaps. Listening to these old players talk about times I wasn't even alive for was still so amazing. These memories, even if they were inflated, are so crisp. I can't refute the stories, and to be honest the accuracies or inaccuracies don't even matter. They are real because this i ...more
Rob Bauer
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
I regard this as one of the best books about baseball ever written. And, after authoring three books about baseball myself, I’ve read a lot of them.

It’s a great oral history. Ritter spoke to about two dozen baseball players from early in the 20th century whose careers concluded anywhere between 1915 and 1945. As a result, the reader gets stories from a fair slice of baseball’s history. There are a handful of Hall of Famers but several other players who were just regular ballplayers but had inter
Kevin Halloran
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
What a neat audiobook! I felt like I was on the front porch spinning yarns with a bunch of old-timers, all of whom have been dead for generations. It was so interesting to hear how different things were in the early 1900s: player salaries, players buying their own uniforms, riding public transportation to games in their uniform because there were no locker rooms. If you’re a baseball history fan, this is a must listen. I say “listen” because the audiobook shares recorded conversations. You can h ...more
David Chung
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Twenty-six stories about boys becoming men and men remaining boys because of a game they loved. Indeed, these are love stories.
Brad Lyerla
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES was the brainchild of Lawrence Ritter. He taught finance at New York University, but was an avid baseball fan too. During his vacations, he sought out and interviewed baseball players who had played in the major leagues during the early years of the 20th century. Originally, in 1966, Ritter published a version of GLORY featuring edited transcripts of his interviews. Then in 1998, working with Henry Thomas and Neal McCabe, Ritter published the audio book that I listened t ...more
Theo Logos
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, baseball
The print version of this book is basically transcriptions of conversations with several old time ball players who played in the first few decades of the 20th century. The audiobook gives you the actual recordings themselves - you get to hear the voices of these great old players telling their stories, which is an experience worth having.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My latest favorite baseball book.
Robert Melnyk
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book on the early history of baseball during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as told by some of the men who played the game. Basically, the author interviewed various players, turned on a tape recorder and let them talk. Then he transcribed their words into the book. So each chapter is a different player telling us their memories of their time in baseball. They told stories not only of themselves, but of many of the guys they played with as well. It gives you a real insight i ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about old-time baseball as told by the players that played.
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-sports
Really 4.5 stars

In the early/mid 1960's, Ritter sort of realized that the old-time baseball players were dying off (well, they *were* born in the 1880s), and set out to interview some of the surviving ones.

Each chapter here is a different player, told in their own voices. All played at least a decade, and most are Hall of Famers. It was a lot of fun. I'm not sure if I would have gotten the same enjoyment if I hadn't once been a 9-yr-old fascinated with baseball statistics. But it all seems well
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book, although it isn't a book I would read all at once. It is a series of oral histories by famous baseball players from around 1900-1920. The author didn't start collecting the histories until the mid-1960s, so a lot of better known names (i.e. Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth, etc) aren't included because they had already died by that time. However, he talked to about 20 former players and then essentially transcribed their conversations. Some of the interviews were less than enth ...more
Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
"The Glory Of Their Times" remains a timeless work, and can be enjoyed by more than just hard-core baseball fans. Basically the story of the early days of Major League Baseball, told by the surviving oldsters who had played it, "The Glory Of Their Times" works so well because it isn't just another opinion piece by a professional writer. The stories told by these players illustrate what life was like during the first few decades of the twentieth century better than any historian could. This was w ...more
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