Hal Chase

The Defiant Life and Turbulent Times of Baseball’s Biggest Crook


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About the Book

Hal Chase is considered by many to be one of the best first basemen ever to play the game of baseball. He was able to make the routine look spectacular, the spectacular look routine. But Chase will never have his plaque in Cooperstown because he has gone down in history as the biggest crook in baseball. Chase was repeatedly accused of throwing games, bribing players, betting against his own team, and various other crimes, yet with his relaxed nature he always managed to get off the hook for his misdeeds by working his charm. His major league career lasted from 1905 to 1919, and by the mid–1930s he was a destitute alcoholic living off friends. The last fifteen years of Chase’s life saw him hospitalized repeatedly for a variety of ailments, living off a sister and brother-in-law who loathed him. This work traces the turbulent life and times of Hal Chase from his humble beginnings to his sad end.

About the Author(s)

Martin Donell Kohout is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and has written several articles on Hal Chase. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

Martin Donell Kohout

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 347
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2001
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1067-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5043-5
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Winner, Larry Ritter Book Award—SABR
  • Finalist, Seymour Medal—Society for American Baseball Research
  • Finalist, Dave Moore Award—Elysian Fields Quarterly
  • Finalist, Casey Award—Spitball
  • “well-written and exhaustively researched”—Elysian Fields Quarterly
  • “well-written and exhaustively-researched…attention to detail is commendable”—SABR Deadball Committee Newsletter
  • “well written…extensively researched, exhaustively indexed, with rigorous bibliography and footnote sections…the definitive biography”—Spitball
  • “chronicles all the rumors and evidence…exhaustive look not only of Chase but the entire baseball world”—Sports Collectors Digest
  • “an excellent biography…author leaves few stones unturned”—The Journal of Arizona History
  • “thoroughly researched and intelligently written…terrific…essential”—Aethlon
  • “Hal Chase was generally acknowledged by his contemporaries to be the greatest fielding first baseman who ever played in the big leagues. He has also been an object of mystery and a suspect in one scandal after another. This is a fascinating biography of a strange and elusive anti-hero.”—Lawrence Ritter