Jim Thorpe

A Biography


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About the Book

Most biographies of Jim Thorpe (1888–1953) emphasize his Olympic glory and his remarkable abilities in track and football. Thorpe’s 1912 gold medals in the decathalon and pentathalon and his talent on the gridiron rank him high among outstanding athletes of the twentieth century. That Thorpe also played brilliantly on the baseball diamond is an often overlooked facet of his career. This narrative of Thorpe’s rise and fall in American sports pays particular attention to his time in the major and minor leagues, including his stormy relationship with New York Giants manager John McGraw and baseball’s role in stripping Thorpe of his Olympic medals. By chronicling Thorpe’s involvement in baseball, football and track concurrently, this profile offers a complete portrait of one of the most versatile athletes in sports history.

About the Author(s)

William A. Cook is the author of numerous books, including 11 on baseball history, and has appeared in productions on ESPN2 and the MLB Network. A former health care administrator and township councilman in North Brunswick, New Jersey, he resides in Manalapan, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

William A. Cook

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6355-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8577-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. Ancestors      5
2. The Road to Carlisle      8
3. The Rise of the Carlisle Athletic Program      19
4. Pop Warner Meets Jim Thorpe      31
5. Thorpe Plays Baseball in North Carolina      43
6. The 1912 Olympic Games      52
7. The 1912 Carlisle Football Season      63
8. Thorpe Loses His Olympic Medals      72
9. Thorpe Signs with the New York Giants      80
10. The 1913 Giants and White Sox World Tour      93
11. Congress Investigates Carlisle      105
12. Thorpe Struggles with the Curve Ball      112
13. Thorpe Plays for the Canton Bulldogs      117
14. McGraw Loans Thorpe to the Cincinnati Reds      128
15. Thorpe’s Major League Career Ends      136
16. Post-War Professional Football      143
17. The NFL Is Born      149
18. A Fading Star      162
19. Thorpe Goes to Hollywood      170
20. The Battle for Thorpe’s Medals and Remains      186

Chapter Notes      203
Bibliography      211
Index      215