In 1884, Providence Grays pitcher Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn won an astounding 59 games - more than anyone in major-league history ever had before, or has since. He then went on to win all three games of baseball's first World Series.
Fifty-nine in '84 tells the dramatic story not only of that amazing feat of grit but also of big-league baseball two decades after the Civil War - a brutal, bloody sport played barehanded, the profession of uneducated, hard-drinking men who thought little of cheating outrageously or maiming an opponent to win.
It is the tale, too, of the woman Radbourn loved, Carrie Stanhope, the alluring proprietress of a boarding-house with shady overtones, a married lady who was said to have personally known every man in the National League.
Wonderfully entertaining, Fifty-nine in '84 is an indelible portrait of a legendary player and a fascinating, little-known era of the national pastime.
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A Baseball Record that will never be beaten
It is one of the best. The book while recounting an incredible record also gives us a great history of the early game of baseball. The narrator does a nice job and of course the story is one of my favorite baseball books.
The Glory of Their Times: Another outstanding baseball book which does a great job on the history of baseball through the players themselves simply telling their stories.
There are so many good scenes, it's hard to pick one.
Hoss was a local boy having lived and died in Bloomington IL. That makes this book even more special to me if that is possible.
- Susan Stephens