The Ashes of Lou Gehrig and Other Baseball Essays

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About the Book

The parents and widow of Lou Gehrig were so concerned about the potential desecration of his grave that they considered moving his ashes to the Hall of Fame. Officials embraced the idea of creating a mausoleum for baseball greats, but the idea was killed by Gehrig’s wife—whose cryptic remarks leave us wondering to this day about the disposition of his remains. Kirst’s essay on Gehrig’s ashes and numerous other essays are put together from dozens of personal interviews with baseball characters.
Babe Dahlgren claims he was blacklisted for rumors of marijuana use; Babe Ruth sends a note to a child stricken with polio—a note nearly lost when the family moved, and the first physical confirmation obtained by the Hall of Fame of the slugger’s legendary kindness to children; a black cat is brought to the ballpark as a gesture of contempt when Jackie Robinson plays against Syracuse, a team he felt treated him as badly as any in the International League. The collection contains new information about the father of baseball card collecting, about a bat company whose accomplishments were lost in baseball lore, and about the murder trial of the first African American to play in the Major Leagues. Beautifully written, filled with fresh facts and revelations, these essays will appeal.

About the Author(s)

Sean Peter Kirst, a columnist and sportswriter, lives in Syracuse, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Sean Peter Kirst
Foreword by Harold Holzer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: photos, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1578-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8379-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword by Harold Holzer      xiii

Preface      1

Prologue      5

I. AMONG THE IMMORTALS

1. The Ashes of Lou Gehrig 9/27/95      8

2. Ty Cobb’s Violent Legacy 4/14/95      13

3. The Memory That Ruth Built 2/8/95      20

4. Babe Was a Smash in Syracuse 9/7/98      23

5. A Baseball History Lesson 5/7/92      25

6. Former Chief, 79, Waits for Justice 4/21/92      27

7. Baseball Makes Immortal a Man, a Romance, an Era 7/28/94      30

8. World Series Finally Rings True for Buckner 5/13/93      35

9. Baseball History Lofts a Line at a Regular Guy 6/28/94      37

10. Bouton’s Book Told Sad Tale of Mantle 4/18/94      40

11. Now, More Than Ever, a Hero 6/12/95      44

12. Fanfare for an Uncommon Man 1/4/97      46

13. The Next Pitch Will Have to Wait 8/14/95      48

14. A Mantle Memory: Against All Odds 8/15/95      51

15. Sal Maglie Lies Isolated from the World, But Not Alone 11/26/95      54

16. Finding Peace in Images of War 6/5/95      57

17. Old Syracuse Buddies Remember Luciano 1/20/95      59

18. Chiefs Fan Grins, Bears Pain 8/18/94      62

II. BLACK CAT

19. The Worst of Being First 2/1/96      66

20. Syracuse Faces an Ugly Legacy from the Robinson Era 4/21/97      70

21. The Fight Continues, But Some Players Stay in the Dugout 12/15/92      73

22. The Trials of Fleet Walker 2/28/94      76

23. Tested in Triple-A, Campanella Stood Tall 7/3/93      82

24. Imagine Life as a Cartoon’s Descendant 7/10/93      85

25. Dropping “Chiefs” Would Heal Old Sore 6/3/96      87

26. Baseball Settles a Deep Debt 8/13/91      89

27. Clear Voices from the Past 8/1/94      92

28. Baseball Celebrates; Something’s Missing 7/29/95      94

29. No Barrier on the Basepaths 7/18/95      98

30. Team Leader Accepts No Excuses 7/4/95      100

III. VANISHED FROM THE GAME

31. A One-of-a-Kind Collector Gets His Due 6/30/93      104

32. Scooter’s Memories on Display at the Met 6/30/93      108

33. Decades Later, a Friendship has been Chiseled in Stone 11/24/97      110

34. Patches of the Past 7/9/96      112

35. After 27 Summers, Suddenly It Will Become Fall 2/17/93      115

36. Cut from a Family Tree 10/25/95      117

37. Joe Kren Does One Last Job for His Dad 6/16/2000      121

38. Hobart Takes a Designated Hit 5/8/95      124

39. Night Series Steals from Young 10/25/2000      126

40. Take Me Out of Prime Time 11/3/2001      128

IV. ONE OLD BALLPARK

41. An Era Comes to an End at Big Mac 12/18/91      133

42. Bloody Day Echoes in Beanball Wars 2/28/94      134

43. Bailes Takes the Final Ride 6/3/93      136

44. “Coroner” Captures Big Mac 8/19/96      138

45. Rochester’s Stadium Passing into Memory 8/15/96      140

46. Youngsters Have a Ball by Homer Heaven 4/13/94      143

47. Staring at the Barrel of a Smoking Gun 8/13/93      145

48. “Mr. Everything” Has Nothing Nice to Say About Big Mac 4/8/92      147

49. Feisty Center Fielder Sparked Great Team 4/8/94      151

50. Phantom at Plate Awaits Call Up 10/31/94      153

51. From Ashes to Ashes 7/30/94      154

52. Simone Sees His Dream 7/10/95      156

53. Creaky Old Ball Park Worthy of Our Affection 9/2/96      158

V. THE YEAR WITH NO OCTOBER

54. They’re Not Having a Ball in the Hall 10/13/94      162

55. Strike Puts Hearts on Hold 8/12/94      163

56. There’s a Place in History for Scabs 2/20/95      166

57. Baseball Strike? It Works for Us 9/6/94      168

58. The Kid Likes a Good Fight 9/7/94      169

59. Baseball’s Enduring Grip 4/13/95      172

VI. THEIR OWN KIND OF VALHALLA

60. If Walls Could Talk, You’d Hear His Name 4/3/97      176

61. Day Off Rates an A-Plus 4/9/99      178

62. A Pocket of Frustration: Foreigners in Our Mitts 12/18/91      180

63. Challenger Stars Light Up P&C Stadium 8/5/98      182

64. End of the Innocence Is in the Cards 5/28/92      184

65. The Bear Beats the Odds 5/19/93      186

66. Auburn’s Foul Balls Land in Forbidden Territory 4/26/95      188

67. Cianfrocco Dreams Up a Fall Classic 10/2/96      190

68. Big Man of the Little League 8/24/96      192

69. Mother’s Voice Guides Player 5/13/95      196

70. A Runner Who Can’t Get Home 10/8/2000      198

71. A Player, a Coach, a Lover of the Game 6/4/94      205

72. His Latest Case Hits Close to Home 12/1/97      209

73. Johnny Does It All 11/1/97      211

74. A Glove a Boy Will Love May 2001      215

75. Ball Field Heroes Pay Respects to the Real Thing 10/19/2001      217

Epilogue      221

Index      223

Book Reviews & Awards

“provocative, poignant, and lyrical…Kirst is a first-rate writer, reporter, and storyteller…this is a book that tells us so much about baseball in Syracuse but also resonates with us no matter where we live”—Nine; “interesting…compelling pieces…impressive variety of stories…powerful pieces…Kirst’s collection is definitely worth a look”—Aethlon; “essays reveal the rich heritage of baseball…there is much to enjoy about this book…passed the muster”—The Dickie Thon Fan Club.