Napoleon Lajoie

King of Ballplayers

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About the Book

Napoleon Lajoie was the sixth player, and the first second baseman, to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. During his career, which lasted from 1896 to 1916, he was regularly called the “King of Ballplayers” and was widely regarded as the greatest baseball player of all time before Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth came along. Colorful, competitive, and often unpredictable, Lajoie was so popular that the Cleveland team was called the Naps in his honor while he played for them. He was a multiple batting champion, the American League’s first Triple Crown winner, and the third member of the 3,000 hits club. This book is the first ever full-length biography of this long ago superstar.

About the Author(s)

David L. Fleitz is a web developer and database analyst who lives in Troy, Michigan. A longtime SABR member, he has written nine other books on baseball history.

Bibliographic Details

David L. Fleitz
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: 46 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6879-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0241-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

 1. Woonsocket 3

 2. Fall River 11

 3. Off to Philadelphia 18

 4. Crossroads 25

 5. Turning the Corner 34

 6. “The Best That Ever Happened” 43

 7. A Painful Season 52

 8. The American League 63

 9. “A Bright, Particular Star” 76

10. Cleveland 85

11. The Cleveland Naps 94

12. Batting and Fielding 105

13. Fourth Place 113

14. Boss of the Naps 123

15. Pennant Race 133

16. “Just One of Those Things” 142

17. Half a Game Out 152

18. Stepping Down 163

19. The Great Race 173

20. A Season of Change 184

21. The Silver Horseshoe 193

22. Player vs. Manager 202

23. The Fall of the Naps 212

24. Back to Philadelphia 221

25. A Pennant at Last 232

26. The Final Season 241

27. “The Past Is All a Dream” 248

Appendix A: Lajoie’s Career Statistics 255

Appendix B: Lajoie’s Nine Commandments of Hitting 257

Chapter Notes 259

Bibliography 267

Index 269

Book Reviews & Awards

“this full biography of Lajoie, the first ever, will be welcomed by baseball history buffs”—Library Journal; “excellent, well-documented biography”—SABR Deadball Committee Newsletter; “due to Fleitz’s careful research and detailed account, fans are now able for the first time to enjoy a complete picture of this baseball immortal”—Spitball; “extensive coverage”—Reference & Research Book News.