A Biography of Tris Speaker
Southern Methodist University Press, Hardcover, 9780870745171, 360pp.
Publication Date: August 28, 2007
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Charles C. Alexander's fact-filled biography of Tris Speaker chronicles the twenty-two-year career of arguably the greatest centerfielder ever to play the position. It follows the colorful ballplayer through his years with the Boston Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Senators, and the Philadelphia Athletics, and on into his later years as manager of a professional ball club and promoter of the national pastime. Alexander examines both the highs and lows of Speaker's illustrious career, including his bitter contract dispute with the Red Sox in 1915, the death of his close friend Ray Chapman from a pitched ball in 1920, and the game-fixing scandal Speaker found himself embroiled in, along with Ty Cobb, late in his playing career. Despite the fact that Speaker was in the inaugural induction class when the National Baseball Hall of Fame opened in 1939, compiled a lifetime .345 batting average, and accumulated more doubles than anyone in baseball history, he is today not a household name like Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth, both of whom were Speaker's peers. Renowned baseball historian Alexander makes the case that Speaker, a fiery competitor and an immensely popular figure in his day, deserves to be known to a wider audience. Alexander details not only every significant major league game in which Speaker played, but also describes the careers of his teammates and opponents, the baseball of their day, and the way it changed within the context of the larger world around them. Tris Speaker's reputation receives new luster in Charles C. Alexander's even-handed biography of one of baseball's greats.