Jamie's Reviews > Tris Speaker: The Rough-and-Tumble Life of a Baseball Legend

Tris Speaker by Timothy M. Gay
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's review
May 12, 2009

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bookshelves: non-fiction, sports

Tris Speaker was probably the best outfielder in the deadball era, but also one of the best players of all time. He used to play centerfield so shallow, that he holds the all-time record for unassisted double plays. "The Gray Eagle" was part of three world champion teams including the 1915 Red Sox team that featured pitcher Babe Ruth, and the 1920 Indians team which he managed/played for at the age of 31. But Speaker's accomplishments (such as the all-time doubles record) don't tell the whole story. As a native Texan and nephew of Confederate war veterans, he inherited a narrow-minded Protestant world view, he was overtly racist (like Ty Cobb), and also very hard to get along with. Speaker often feuded with his own teammates, just because they were Catholics. He also was involved in a gambling scandal (shortly after the Black Sox brouhaha) that effectively ended his career. This book provides a very fascinating look into Speaker's life, but also does a good job of describing other baseball players, managers and owners of the 1910s and 1920s, when the sport was a much different game...when World Series games were called on account of darkness and pitchers were allowed to throw spitballs.

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