Beating the Breaks

Major League Ballplayers Who Overcame Disabilities


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SKU: 9780786418282 Categories: , , , ,

About the Book

Few baseball fans are aware of the number of players with disabilities who have succeeded in the majors. Much of this unawareness is due to the affected players themselves who downplay weaknesses and tend to minimize their disabilities, considering them just one of the chinks in the armor that everyone must deal with.
More than 20 players who have overcome their disabilities to have major league careers are profiled in this work. The book is divided by type of disability suffered: missing or partially missing limbs or extremities (Jim Abbott, Hugh “One Arm” Daily, Pete Gray, Monty Stratton, Bert Shepard); injured or diseased limbs (Lou Brissie, Whitey Kurowski, Eddie Kazak, Charley Gelbert, Bo Jackson, Dave Dravecky); disfigured extremities (Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, Charley “Red” Ruffing, Hal Peck, Carlos May, Gil Coan, Jim Mecir); impaired organ function, vision, and hearing (William “Dummy” Hoy, George “Specs” Toporcer, Chick Hafey, Ron Santo, Russ Christopher, Joe Hoerner, John Hiller, Danny Thompson, Walt Bond); and neurological and psychological disorders (Grover Cleveland Alexander, Tony Lazzeri, Jimmy Piersall, Jim Eisenreich).

About the Author(s)

Society for American Baseball Research member Rick Swaine has five baseball books in publication, two of them on baseball’s integration era. He has also been a contributor to The Baseball Research Journal and The National Pastime. Retired from an accounting career, he lives in the Tallahassee, Florida area.

Bibliographic Details

Rick Swaine
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: photos, tables, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1828-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8195-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Author’s Note      1
Introduction      3

One: Missing Limbs or Extremities
Jim Abbott      9
Hugh “One Arm” Daily      19
Pete Gray      24
Monty Stratton      34
Bert Shepard      40

Two: Severely Damaged Limbs
Lou Brissie      48
Whitey Kurowski      54
Eddie Kazak      60
Charley Gelbert      62
Bo Jackson      68
Dave Dravecky      75

Three: Maimed or Disfigured Extremities
Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown      82
Charley “Red” Ruffing      89
Hal Peck      96
Carlos May      97
Gil Coan      104
Jim Mecir      106

Four: Impaired Organ Function or Chronic Illness
William “Dummy” Hoy      112
George “Specs” Toporcer      123
Chick Hafey      128
Ron Santo      132
Russ Christopher      140
Joe Hoerner      144
John Hiller      147
Danny Thompson      150
Walt Bond      156

Five: Neurological and Psychological Disorders
Grover Cleveland Alexander      159
Tony Lazzeri      168
Jimmy Piersall      170
Jim Eisenreich      184

Six: Other Disabilities      192

Bibliography      221
Index      227

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Fascinating…confidently written, quickly paced book that will entice the baseball novice, satisfy the lifelong fan and serve as an inspiration to anyone with a disability…this is an instant baseball reference classic”—Tallahassee Democrat