Burleigh Grimes

Baseball’s Last Legal Spitballer

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About the Book

Burleigh Grimes—forever to be remembered as the ill-tempered spitballer with the perpetual five o’clock shadow. For nearly two decades, he brought his surly disposition to the pitcher’s mound. His life-or-death mentality resulted in a reputation as one of the game’s great competitors and a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Along the way he suited up for eight different ball clubs and played alongside a record 36 Hall of Famers.
Grimes spent more than half a century in professional baseball as a player, manager, coach and scout. This biography covers all aspects of his life, from his childhood in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, to his twilight years in that same town. In between are World Series highs and lows, brawls, five marriages, a near-death experience and 270 major league victories.

About the Author(s)

Joe Niese is a librarian and member of the Society for American Baseball Research. He lives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. View his website at http://joeniese.com.

Bibliographic Details

Joe Niese
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 35 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7328-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0179-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Foreword by Donald Honig 1

Preface 5

Introduction 7

 1. Northwoods Roots 9

 2. From the Bottom to the Top, 1912–1916 18

 3. Problems in Pittsburgh, 1916–1917 36

 4. Boily in Brooklyn, 1918–1921 48

 5. Burleigh and the Dazzler, 1922–1926 82

 6. Rejuvenation, 1927–1929 118

 7. Meet Me in St. Louis, 1930–1931 140

 8. Grizzled Veteran, 1932–1934 163

 9. Still in the Game, 1935–1964 178

10. The Hall Calls 200

11. Twilight Years 205

Appendix I: Major League Statistics 211

Appendix II: 36 Hall of Fame Teammates 214

Chapter Notes 215

Bibliography 222

Index 225


Book Reviews & Awards

“Joe Niese tells the story of Burleigh Grimes in marvelous detail, enriching bare numbers with anecdotes culled from a wide range of published sources…. Niece makes a candid assessment of how his subject’s behavior contributed to both his successes and limitations, and the result is a very balanced work of scholarship…this excellent biography does justice to Burleigh Old Stubblebeard Grimes. It is a welcome addition to baseball scholarship”—Nine; “for my money, Joe Niese did a great job with this book. He brought back to life someone that not many of us are familiar with. He portrays a different era in baseball in a light that all fans can relate to and understand…. This book introduces a new generation of fans to one of the games true characters. Check it out, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed”—Gregg’s Baseball Bookcase; “A well-researched biography essential for every fan of the Dead Ball Era”—Dorothy Seymour Mills, author of Chasing Baseball: Our Obsession with Its History, Numbers, People and Places.