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Fifty-nine in '84 : old Hoss Radbourn, barehanded baseball, and the greatest sea
Edward Achorn
Adult Nonfiction GV865.R3 A65 2010

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In his first book, Achorn, an editor at the New Providence Journal, takes an in-depth look into the game of baseball when it was still in its infancy, especially the hard-nosed players rarely seen in today's incarnation of the national pastime, including one of the greatest pitchers that most of today's fans know nothing about. In the 1884 season, pitching for Providence, R.I., Radbourn-the son of English immigrants-endured one of the most grueling summers imaginable in willing his team to the pennant. The stress on his right arm, which caused such deterioration that he couldn't comb his own hair, also gave him a baseball record of 59 wins that will never be broken, in a year of "unparalleled brilliance." Achorn wonderfully captures this era of the sport-when pitchers threw balls at batters' heads, and catchers, playing barehanded, endured such abuse that some would need fingers amputated. It's no wonder that, in some circles, as Achorn writes, baseball was thought to be "one degree above grand larceny, arson, and mayhem, and those who engaged in it were beneath the notice of decent society." From the early stars of the game to archaic rules that seem silly by today's standards, there's plenty to devour (and learn) for even the biggest of baseball savants. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A team winning streak of 20 games is always notable, but what if one pitcher accounted for 18 of the wins? What if he pitched 73 complete games in one season, on his way to 59 wins? We would hail this pitcher as the greatest ever, and Achorn (deputy editorial pages editor, Providence Journal) makes a convincing case that Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn should be so honored for his 1884 season with the National League's Providence Grays. This is not just a recitation of bare-handed baseball and old-time brawling, but a story that, with its larger-than-life protagonist, numerous exploits, and a love interest, reads like a novel. Hugely appealing for baseball die-hards. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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