Ray Schalk

A Baseball Biography


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About the Book

This is the first book-length biography of Hall of Fame catcher Ray Schalk, once described as the yardstick against which all other catchers were measured. For years the top defender at his position, Schalk was also a fiery leader on the field, and he guided two teams to the World Series. (One of those teams, however, was the 1919 Black Sox, whose conspiracy to throw the Series left Schalk with a deep and abiding sense of betrayal.)
After he retired as a player, the Illinois native spent decades as a manager or coach on the collegiate, minor league, and major league levels. Schalk entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.

About the Author(s)

Brian E. Cooper is the executive editor and editorial board chairman of the Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, Iowa). His 2007 biography of Red Faber was a finalist for the Larry Ritter Award. A member of the Society for American Baseball Research, he lives in Dubuque.

Bibliographic Details

Brian E. Cooper
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 338
Bibliographic Info: 68 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4148-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5445-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

1. “Put in Schalk!”      5

2. Milwaukee      15

3. “Here is your pitcher, Doc White”      22

4. “Cracker”      32

5. Domesticated on the World Tour      44

6. Sophomore Star      55

7. “We don’t serve kids in here!”      71

8. Two Games from Glory      83

9. Ray and Lavinia      91

10. American League Champs      96

11. Giant-Killers      105

12. A Dynasty Interrupted      117

13. Glory Before the Fall      130

14. Black Sox      140

15. Divided We Fall      155

16. Thrown Down      161

17. A Team to Dismember      174

18. Rebuilding for the Second Division      181

19. “The Human Dynamo”      191

20. Ray Down and Kid Out      200

21. Passed Over, Battered and Benched      206

22. Cracker’s Comeback      214

23. Transitions      223

24. Goodbye      242

25. A New Role      250

26. Shuffle Off to Buffalo      259

27. Indianapolis and Milwaukee      266

28. Businessman, Volunteer and Celebrity      270

29. Turmoil on the Home Front      277

30. Cooperstown Calls      283

31. Final Inning      292

Epilogue      297

Appendix      299

Chapter Notes      303

Bibliography      317

Index      321

Book Reviews & Awards

“meticulously researched…loaded with quality photographs…definitive”—The Inside Game; “Ray Schalk was more than a key piece in the “Black Sox” puzzle, so an in-depth examination of his career is a worthwhile project and long overdue. “Cracker” is a window into some of baseball’s most fascinating years, and Brian Cooper has done eye-opening research that makes this biography work on several levels.”—Gene Carney, author of Burying the Black Sox; “Brian Cooper tells the compelling story of one of baseball’s greatest catchers in this well-written and exhaustively researched account of Ray Schalk’s career. This is an outstanding baseball biography for real fans of the game.”—Ken Paulson, former editor, USA Today; “Plenty has been written about the 1919 Black Sox. It’s time one of the honest White Sox, Hall of Fame catcher Ray Schalk, got some attention. Brian Cooper gives him his due in this well-researched biography.”—Norman L. Macht, author of Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball, recipient of the SABR Larry Ritter Award; “Fearless, incorruptible and utterly indestructible, Hall of Famer Ray Schalk was a mainstay of the Chicago White Sox in their greatest of days—and their years of shame accompanying the Black Sox Scandal. Brian Cooper adeptly explores the life of “Cracker” Schalk in this first-ever biography of the great backstop from Litchfield, Illinois—and offers up a fascinating insider’ look at the scandal, a portentous event that altered baseball history and the fortunes of the South Side ballclub for decades to come.”—Richard C. Lindberg, White Sox team historian and author of Total White Sox.