The deadline for submissions to The Best American Sports Writing 2014, to be published in October 2014 for work that appeared in 2013, has passed. Selections have been made and rights holders have been notified. Contents will be release in August. I am now collecting material for The Best American Sports Writing 2015, which will include work that appeared in 2014.  For submission guidelines see any recent edition or the “How to Submit” page to the right.

In addition to my ongoing work as author and editor, after one and half years as a contributing editor and consultant to SB Nation Longform (www.sbnation.com/longform), in January of 2014 I became Editor of SB Nation Longform, acquiring, curating and editing longform journalism content.  I will  continue to serve as Series Editor of BASW and work on other book projects as my schedule allows.

Since launching in September of 2013, multiple stories that have appeared on SB Nation Longform have been cited by aggregators such as Byliner.com, Longform.org, Longreads.com, Gangrey.com and others as some of the best longform journalism currently being produced anywhere, in print or online.  Most recently, multiple stories from SB Nation Longform have been cited on various “Best” lists by Longform.org, Longreads.com, TheNewYorker.com, SportsonEarth.com, and others, two stories won awards from the prestigious American Society for Journalists and Authors.  For more information, a list of stories published thus far, citations, awards, and information about how to pitch stories, see the “About SB Nation Longform” page to the right.

Hear Glenn talk about the future of longform here: http://www.npr.org/2013/04/12/176954687/great-long-form-journalism-just-clicks-away

Here are some links to various “Best of 2013″ Longform lists, most of which prominently feature work by SB Nation Longform:

http://longform.org/lists/best-of-2013

http://longform.org/lists/best-of-2013/sports

http://blog.longreads.com/post/tag/best-of-2013/

http://instreamsports.com/alpha/blog/2013/12/17/mvpieces-2013

http://www.niemanstoryboard.org/2013/12/30/best-of-narrative-2013/

http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2013/12/17/3070661/pieces-sportswriting-2013-worth-time/

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2013/12/best-sportswriting-of-2013-quickish-list-year-end/

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/more/news/20131229/media-circus-looking-toward-2014-best-of-journalism-2013/#all

http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/66161842

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011 SEYMOUR MEDAL WINNER & LARRY RITTER AWARD WINNER!  The Society for American Baseball Research

A “TOP TEN SPORTS BOOK OF 2012″ -Booklist

A Boston Globe Bestseller!

“The best gift for Red Sox fans”

http://sabr.org/latest/stouts-fenway-1912-wins-2012-seymour-medal

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0547195621/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwgoodsports-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0547195621

“With his latest book, “Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway’s Remarkable First Year,’’ Stout has crafted an ideal companion to “Red Sox Century,’’ as it is timed, like that larger project, to neatly coincide with the celebration of a franchise milestone, the 100th anniversary of the storied stadium – and let’s just say the suspicion here is that this is not the last you will hear of it…  Stout’s vivid writing and extraordinary research make the journey worthwhile in so many ways. Fenway, of course, takes center stage. In an appropriately sentimental remembrance of his own pivotal early adulthood experiences there, Stout recognizes the ballpark as “a place that can change your life and sometimes does…’’  …This isn’t just a chronicle of a venue or a team, but of the people who brought it to life. Characters such as architect James McLaughlin, groundskeeper Jerome Kelley, or the rowdy Royal Rooters at “Nuf Ced’’ McGreevey’s Columbus Avenue tavern.   …Stout’s words stoke the reader’s mind, painting such a detailed and vivid portrait of the ballplayers and ballpark that you will likely feel as if you were in the creaky grandstand yourself.” – Chad Finn, The Boston Globe

“Let’s begin with this assertion: Glenn Stout can flat-out write. I mean, if you’re looking for someone who can consistently put one word after another to form interesting sentences, and one sentence after another to make thought-provoking paragraphs, and one paragraph after another to construct stimulating chapters, Stout’s name has got to be on your short list. But more than this, Stout writes passionate, arresting prose. He thinks, he cajoles, he massages the evidence in ways that are different and unexpected. He brings his readers up short, forcing them to look at the past through his fresh set of eyes. What more could any reader want than to be treated with this sort of respect?” -Steven Gietschier, NINE.

“Stout, who edits the annual volume of “Best American Sports Writing,” takes as his subject not Fenway today… but Fenway as it came into existence in the winter of 1911-12 and as the scene of five games of the 1912 World’s Series (as it was then called), one of the most thrilling in the long history of what sportswriters call the Fall Classic.It’s a fascinating story, and Stout tells it very well.”  -Pulitzer Prize winning book critic Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

“With the 100th anniversary of Fenway approaching, Glenn Stout, the author of “Red Sox Century,” pays tribute to “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark…”  In Fenway 1912, the ballpark itself is a main character, and Stout devotes the first part of his book to its birth. “It is a living place,” he writes, “one that has changed, and will continue to change, across eras, evolving and shaping the collective memory of generations…” Stout succeeds in painting a vivid portrait of a specific time and place in game’s history…During the 2012 baseball season, the enterprising owners of the Red Sox – just like their predecessors – will be eager to capitalize on the financial windfall generated by Fenway’s 100th anniversary. Red Sox players from past and present will be paraded around the sacred grounds in commemoration, hour-long specials on MLB TV will cycle through the nation’s television sets, and the team will hawk Fenway merchandise from its website and stores… Yet it is Stout, with his well-researched, comprehensive narrative… quietly offers perhaps the most fitting tribute of all.” – The Christian Science Monitor

“Stout’s Fenway 1912 offers up a stunningly rich buffet of pleasures for the baseball fan, centered around the construction and opening of Fenway Park almost a century ago and the wild season that followed… He’s a crack researcher who digs down to set the record right on many half-truths or misconceptions that had over the years often been repeated. Most of all, though, he has fun in giving us historical tidbit after historical tidbit of the kind to make you shake your head…This book is a must-read for any Red Sox fan and a great choice for anyone who enjoys a dip into baseball history at its best. – Steve Kettman, The Huffington Post

 

“Best Summer Read”The Wall Street Journal

“A great summer read” – The New Yorker.com

“In 1926, 19-year-old Trudy Ederle fascinated and inspired millions around the world when she became the first woman successfully to swim the English Channel. With great storytelling, sportswriter Stout (series editor of The Best American Sports Writing) chronicles Ederle’s singular accomplishment and its significance for the future of women in sports as well as the tremendous challenges for any swimmer who would dare traverse the waves of the channel. At age five, Ederle (1905–2003) suffered permanent hearing loss, which made her reticent and shy; at age 10 her father taught her to swim. The ocean opened to her like another world, and she loved the feeling of floating and swimming in its vastness. After lessons at the Women’s Swimming Association, Ederle developed her gift and emerged as one of America’s fastest swimmers, earning a spot in the 1924 Olympics. Disappointed by winning only a bronze medal, she quickly turned to the challenge of swimming the English Channel—difficult due to its strong tides, winds and currents—and after an initial failure, Ederle conquered the channel on August 6, 1926. Stout’s moving book recovers the exhilarating story of a young girl who found her true self out in the water and paved the way for women in sports today.”  -* Starred Review, Publisher’s Weekly

Film and Dramatic rights now available – query author.

An interview on Ederle and the challenges of writing biography:

http://www.bronxbanterblog.com/2009/07/15/trudy-a-message-to-you/

The Cubs: The Complete Story of Chicago Cubs Baseball
by Glenn Stout (Author), Richard A. Johnson (Photography editor)

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (October 1, 2007)

From the critically acclaimed authors of Red Sox Century and Yankees Century, the definitive narrative history of the Chicago Cubs: They were America’s most successful baseball club at the turn of the twentieth century, but at the turn of this century the Cubs have not won a World Series in nearly one hundred years. Yet, the Cubs have some of the most devoted fans in all of sport. Glenn Stout chronicles the long, rich, counterintuitive history of this team in all its depth, nuance, and color. Complementing the text are more than two hundred gorgeous black-and-white photographs selected by Richard Johnson as well as essays by noted Cubs chroniclers, including Scott Turow, William Nack, Rick Telander, Penny Marshall, Mike Royko, and more. A must-have for Cubs fans past and present, The Cubs is the definitive history of one of baseball’s most treasured franchises.

“A definitive account of the last remaining team to go almost a century without earning a World Series Championship, this illustrated team history displays the superb gifts that have graced the authors similar studies (Red Sox Century Yankees Century, The Dodgers), Stout combines skillful writing with methodical research to produce detailed and insightful reporting behind team myths…” – Publishers Weekly

” ‘The Cubs’ by Glenn Stout and Richard Johnson is even better (if that’s possible) than their previous team histories of the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers.” - Bill Madden, New York Daily News

“Perhaps the greatest allegorical compliment that could be paid Glenn Stout and Richard Johnson’s book on the history of the Cubs is that the book was not authorized by the Cubs organization. Those who have struggled through the seemingly endless varieties of Cubs literary lore may appreciate that reality, seeing as reading some Cubs books is like reading about the parties on the Titanic. This one, however, is different and exceptional. Stout and Johnson do well to tell the tale of this franchise, and to discuss, dispel or fortify some myths or truths, and also invoke a certain treasured tenderness that a true Cubs fan should appreciate. Essays by the likes of Mike Royko, Rick Telander, and Penny Marshall tell that other Cubs tale: the kind you only seem to treasure because at one time you too were inside the bricks. It’s a massive volume, heavy as a brick but worth it’s curb weight.”-Chris Sprow, Chicago Sports Weekly

“The Cubs is an epochal study of Cubness: the Friendly Confines, daft and devoted fans who take their losses personally, myopic owners, spurious curses, classic collapses, and abiding stars who gave better and deserved more. It vividly portrays how, for a century, this historically losing franchise has made bonehead plays and stupid trades—and still amassed a huge national following. The Cubs will not always comfort Cub fans. But it will increase the tribe of Cub fans across the country. Let’s play two today!”– Scott Simon, Host, NPR’s Weekend Edition and author of Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan

“Richard Johnson and Glenn Stout long ago established their expertise at writing wonderful books about baseball teams that have been notorious for various reasons. In their latest endeavor, they’ve been joined by Mike Royko, John Schulian, and William Nack, among others. Talk about your all-star line-ups. The Cubs despite or perhaps because of the Cubs, is a winner.” – Bill Littlefield, Host, NPR’s Only a Game

“Once again, Glenn Stout and Dick Johnson have taken what is supposed to be a quaint genre — the coffee table book — and transformed it into important, indispensable history. Finally, we have a Cubs book that isn’t hagiography, but one deconstructs and enjoys the legend of the Cubs while simultaneously explaining the eternal mystery of how a big-city team could be so rich, so powerful, and so beloved with such little to show for it. An outstanding read that doesn’t let anyone off the hook.” –Howard Bryant, senior writer, ESPN and author of Juicing the Game and Shut Out

“I live in Boston, once a town of great baseball angst filled with downtrodden folk who mumbled and stumbled through a succession of 86 summers with the knowledge that sometime before the end of October the sky would fall directly on their heads. Then the crack literary firm of Stout and Johnson published a book entitled Red Sox Century, which confronted all demons, banished them forever and opened the way to a new zip-a-dee-doo-dah future. Now the lads take on the subject of The Cubs in the same through and entertaining fashion. The only question is what route the victory parade will take through the Windy City. – Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam

Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball

Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball

Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball
Published in September 2002

* Hardcover: 496 pages
* Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (September 4, 2002)
* Language: English
* Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 9.3 x 1.3 inches
* Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds.

Order Yankees Century at Amazon.com

Editorial Reviews

ERIC NEEL ESPN.com Page Two 10/9/02:

It says here that 14 percent of Americans root for the Yankees and the other 86 percent root for their demise. No fence-sitting; you’re in or you’re out with the Yanks.

When it comes to cheering on the Yanks — it’s all or nothing.It says here that 14 percent of Americans root for the Yankees and the other 86 percent root for their demise. No fence-sitting; you’re in or you’re out with the Yanks. When it comes to cheering on the Yanks — it’s all or nothing. I’m sure the 14 percent have this book already, and that they’re reading it aloud to their kids every night before bed, wiping the tears from the kids’ faces, letting them know how deep and wide the Yanks’ history is.

If you’re in the other 86 percent, you ought to be reading it, too. First, because there’s something devilishly satisfying in reading about the early days, when the team was nearly shut out of Manhattan, playing on a sloppy, cobbled-together field with a swamp in right. Second, because as you turn the pages you come to realize that from DiMaggio to Mantle, from Bucky Dent and Reggie to Paul O’Neill and El Duque, these guys and the things they’ve done (sometimes to you, sometimes in spite of you) are part of your history, part of how you remember and imagine your life. And third, because it’s insanely thorough, full of details you’ve forgotten or never knew, and very good looking.

Stout started this series with “Red Sox Century” in 2000. “Dodgers Century” is in the works. These are rich, dazzling books, standard-setters, fully-realized, complicated portraits of the ways a team and a game weave in and out of politics, history and popular culture.

O’Neill’s sister contributes an essay to this volume that sums up the series’ appeal much better than I can: “In our family we tell stories, we don’t really talk. We let baseball articulate the hopes and fears that we’d never consider confiding in each other.”

Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe, 9/8/2002:

It is fitting that Major League Baseball’s recent exhibition of greed and disregard for the fan should occur during the presidency of a former baseball-club owner, a man who, with his cohorts, extracted (to put it euphemistically) $135 million toward building a stadium from the people of Texas and ran a land scam that Jay Gould would have envied. In the end, Bush’s piddling, though nonetheless tainted, $600,000 investment brought him $15 million when the team was sold as private property a mere nine years later. The daily reminder of that unedifying episode in the ubiquitous shape of George W. and all the rest of it – the rapacity of owners under the friendly eye of a club-owning commissioner, the demolition of time-honored player records by hormone-marinated monsters, the continuing inequity and anomaly of interleague play, the bathos of the Red Sox’ trajectory this season, the whole spirit-numbing business – it’s almost more than I can bear.

Thank God there are books.

Some people might say that the New York Yankees are the root of all evil and might shrink at the idea of reading a history of that juggernaut. Such people should gather their strength, emotionally and physically, and take up ‘’Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball’’ by Glenn Stout (Houghton Mifflin, $35). In addition to the historical narrative, the 478- page book includes essays by a number of Yankee cognoscenti, among them Molly O’Neill, David Halberstam, and Howard Bryant, author of a book considered below. It also has over 250 photographs scrounged up from all over the place by Richard A. Johnson, curator of the Sports Museum of New England. The photographs, all eloquent, and some really awe inspiring, are alone worth the price of the book – which is, please notice, $9 less than one grandstand ticket this season at Fenway Park, and only $3 more than the worst vantage point in the house, a right-field ‘’box’’ seat.

Stout is, among other things, the author of ‘’Red Sox Century’’ (Houghton Mifflin, $40), published two years ago and the best baseball-club history I have ever read. The present volume – despite its painful subject matter – comes in a close second. As with the earlier history, this one’s greatness lies in Stout’s conscientious investigation of what really happened in its complexity and ramification; his meticulous setting straight of the story; and – oh, miracle and joy – his ability to do so in clear, engaging prose.

The notorious Babe Ruth deal, which has given rise to such a quantity of easy talk, unwarranted bitterness, and superstition (and which epoch-making event Stout turned on its head in the earlier book), gets a further shaking up here. It is not possible to summarize briefly the tangled circumstances that lay behind Ruth’s leaving Boston for New York. Suffice it to say that the central elements were the Bambino’s bad behavior and Grand Pooh-Bah Ban Johnson’s astounding lack of integrity, which, in turn, brought him a deserved comeuppance. One point, however, is simple and clear: Babe Ruth – Gargantua of ego and appetite – just did not, could not, fit into dinky, dowdy Boston, while, on the other hand, ‘’Ruth was New York incarnate – uncouth and raw, flamboyant and flashy, oversized, out of scale, and absolutely unstoppable. He towered over baseball like the Manhattan skyline.’’

Certain readers who are only human tend to gravitate toward the chapters in which the destiny of the Yankees intersects with what we might call the fate of the Red Sox. Stout weaves each encounter, so touchingly more significant to Boston than to New York, into the history of the game and of the cities themselves. He also perfectly captures the sense of exalted horror that we feel when we recall, say, 1978. I, personally, thrilled to the ghoulish brio with which he summed up an earlier calamitous encounter, a Bomber sweep in the merry month of May 1947: ‘’The Red Sox would never, ever be able to drive a stake through the heart of New York. For just as Boston would bend over New York’s prostrate body to check for breath, New York would rise and seize the Red Sox by the throat.’’

The Yankees have produced from their roster and helm more names that approach common nouns than any other sports team in history: Stengel, DiMaggio, Gehrig, Mantle, Berra, Mr. October, and, for that matter, George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin, whose folie a deux is a continuing theme through many pages. Stout portrays the individual characters of these and countless other Yankees through the years, and in doing so conveys the defining character of Yankee teams of different eras as they formed and dissolved through good times and the often-unnoticed bad

 

The Dodgers : 120 Years of Dodgers Baseball
by Glenn Stout, Richard A. Johnson

* Hardcover: 464 pages
* Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (September 17, 2004)
* Language: English
* Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 9.3 x 1.2 inches
* Shipping Weight: 4.0 pounds.

OrderThe Dodgers : 120 Years of Dodgers Baseball at Amazon

Recent Reviews:

“Stout and Johnson, who teamed to write Red Sox Century and Yankees Century, now examine one of baseball’s oldest professional teams, the Dodgers, who have enjoyed a long and colorful history on both American coasts. Before the team signed Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player in the majors, the players were a collection of eccentrics, known more for their failures than their successes. But as the authors take recount the team’s history in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles, readers learn how the Dodgers became the “Boys of Summer,” the antidote to the predictable Yankees (who always seemed to win). They enjoyed a fanatically loyal fan base that was eternally optimistic. This book, which has a family album feel, employs Stout’s lively writing and Johnson’s exciting, rarely seen images to walk readers down a memory lane peopled with some of the most famous names in the game: Robinson, Koufax, Reese, Snider, Campanella and Drysdale. Essays by noted sportswriters (including Dave Anderson and Jane Leavy) appear intermittently throughout the book’s chronological order, giving readers insight into such memorable moments as Sandy Koufax’s four no-hitters and Kirk Gibson’s improbable home run against the Oakland Athletics in 1988. And number-crunchers will thrill at the numerous tables noting Dodger leaders and award winners.” B&w photos. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –From Publishers Weekly

“Carl Furillo. Pee Wee Reese. Duke Snider. For baseball fans of a certain age and persuasion, those names have the resonance of poetry. Their exploits and those of their predecessors and successors on the National League’s most storied franchise, from the bums of Brooklyn to the latest batch of interchangeable mercenaries in L.A., are recounted here season by season, game by game, even pitch by pitch. There are lengthy sections on Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in 1947, on the “boys of summer” winning an overdue world championship in 1955, on the treacherous Walter O’Malley moving the franchise in 1958, and on Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale staging a ground-breaking holdout in 1966. Heartbreakers such as Bobby Thompson and Don Larson are of necessity mentioned, but the painful memories they evoke are more than balanced by accounts of Fernando Mania and Kirk Gibson’s impossibly dramatic home run in the first game of the 1988 World Series. This book will be relished by Dodger fans young and old, and very few others. Fortunately, there are lots of us.” — From Booklist – Dennis Dodge Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Nine Months at Ground Zero

The Story of the Brotherhood of Workers Who Took on a Job Like No Other

Nine Months at Ground Zero: The Story of the Brotherhood of Workers Who Took on a Job Like No Other

By Glenn Stout, Charles Vitchers and Robert Gray
Photography by Joel Meyerowitz

Publication Date: 04/26/2006

Order at Amazon.com Here

Description

Hours after two airplanes hit the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, Charlie Vitchers, a construction superintendent, and Bobby Gray, a crane operator, headed downtown. They knew their skills would be crucial amid the chaos and destruction after the towers fell.

What they could not imagine — and what they would soon discover — was the enormity of the task at Ground Zero. Four hundred million pounds of steel; 600,000 square feet of broken glass; and 2,700 vertical feet of building had been reduced to a pile of burning debris covering sixteen acres. Charlie, Bobby, and hundreds of other construction workers, many of whom had helped to build the Twin Towers, were the only ones qualified to safely handle the devastation.

Everyone working the site faced the looming danger of the collapse of the slurry wall protecting lower Manhattan from the waters of the Hudson River, the complexity of shifting tons of steel without losing additional lives, and the day-to-day challenge and emotional strain of recovering victims. Charlie Vitchers became the go-to guy for the hundreds of people and numerous agencies laboring to clean up Ground Zero. What he and Bobby Gray make dramatically evident is how the job of dismantling the remaining ruins and restoring order to the site was far more complex and dangerous than constructing the tallest buildings in the world.

With stunning full-color photographs donated by Joel Meyerowitz — a celebrated and award-winning artist and the only non-newsroom photographer allowed access to the site — and first-person oral accounts of the tragedy from the morning of the attack to the Last Column ceremony, Nine Months at Ground Zero is a harrowing but ultimately redemptive story of forthright and heroic service.

Read an excerpt: http://indiepro.com/glenn/index.php/excerpt-from-nine-months-at-ground-zero/

Reviews:

“Journalist Stout (series editor, The Best American Sports Writing) co-wrote this moving account of the nine-month effort to recover bodies at Ground Zero and safely handle the wreckage of the Twin Towers with two veterans of the construction industry. Charlie Vitchers (general superintendent, Bovis Lend-Lease) and Bobby Gray (Int. Union of Operating Engineers) became key leaders in this massive undertaking. For his part, Vitchers coordinated the work of the New York City public service departments and various private companies, resolving problems among the groups and dealing with pressures to speed up the recovery efforts. It was construction workers, many who had been involved in building the World Trade Center, who handled much of the recovery effort. This book’s strength is in showing the human cost of this process. Unlike firefighters, police officers, and other emergency-response personnel, construction workers are not trained or conditioned to recover human remains, and that aspect of their work took a heavy toll. Included are interviews with ten other people (construction workers, firefighters, family members, etc.) involved in the grim recovery process. This touching book is recommended for all.” – Library Journal

“Although the attacks on the Twin Towers on 9/11 are etched into our consciousness, few of us understand the enormity of the task of the subsequent search and rescue and protracted debris removal. The shots of the site with the coming and going of trucks is the most any of us remember about the grueling cleanup project. As the men who originally built the towers, coauthors Charles Vitchers and Robert Gray were uniquely qualified to help. Unasked, they devoted nine months of their lives, not to mention the stress, sleep deprivation, and loss of family life that went along with it. The scale and complexity is nearly unfathomable: 400 million pounds of twisted steel; 600,000 square feet of thick shattered glass; and mountains of the trappings of office life, including chairs, desks, and other furnishings; all mixed with the scattered remains of almost 3,000 victims. Through this account of their heroic effort, beginning at the moment of first impact, we can begin to get a sense of ‘what the men and women went through who dealt with the tragedy firsthand.” –from Booklist

“Pick up the newspaper and it’s the same every day whether it’s politics, sports, or business: greed and corruption have become standard operating procedure. It’s hard to have faith, until you read Nine Months at Ground Zero. Are there any heroes left? The answer is a resounding yes in this beautiful and poignant and important book. God bless these men so willing to make the impossible possible.” – Buzz Bissinger, author of Three Nights in August

“This inspiring story brings us all to a concrete-and-steel intimacy with a structure, its place, and its people. To know Charlie Vitchers and Bobby Gray is to know New York down to its bones.” – Richard Ben Cramer, author of What It Takes: The Way to the White House
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Red Sox Century Reviews

Order Red Sox Century at Amazon.com

Various Red Sox Century Reviews:

“Sox book sets record straight”
Worcester Telegram and Gazette
Sunday, September 3, 2000
By Bill Ballou – Telegram & Gazette Sports Staff

Red Sox fans who believe in fairy tales ought not to take a look at “Red Sox Century,” the definitive history of the franchise, due to be released any day now by Houghton-Mifflin.

It was co-authored by Worcester native Richard L. Johnson and Uxbridge resident Glenn Stout and is the best book about the Red Sox this correspondent has ever seen, and he has seen virtually all of them.

“After it comes out,” Stout said, “I may have to have my phone disconnected. I’m not sure everyone’s going to like what’s in it. We’ve pinned down a lot of stuff, corrected a lot of misinformation. I don’t know if anyone will believe it.”

There is no shortage of history books about the Red Sox. Some are wonderful reading — “The Curse of the Bambino” by Dan Shaughnessy and “Beyond the Sixth Game” by Peter Gammons are two that come to mind.

However, most histories of the Sox build upon what others have done, principally the sanctioned history written by Fred Lieb decades ago.

Stout and Johnson started from scratch. They went back to the original sources — contemporary newspaper accounts, etc. — and looked at Red Sox history with an open mind.

The result? A book that took more than 10 years to write, and one that rewrites many long-held illusions about the franchise.

What may be the two most controversial pieces of revisionism have to do with the respective places owners Harry Frazee and Tom Yawkey have in the hearts of Red Sox fans.

Frazee, long blamed for the Curse of the Bambino and blamed for the subsequent rape of the Red Sox, is shown in an entirely different light. So is the beloved Yawkey, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Frazee did sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees, but at the time, it seemed like a reasonable trade. There was no outcry from fans or opponents or media members when it happened. In fact, some people thought the Yankees made a mistake in picking up a player whom Stout calls “Carl Everett with a smile.”

Subsequently, Frazee dealt with the Yankees almost exclusively because they were the only team with whom he could trade. The Sox, Yankees and White Sox were in a three-team alliance against AL president Ban Johnson and the five other franchises. None of those five would trade with Boston, and the White Sox were just coming off the Black Sox scandal and helpless to do anything.

The idea that Frazee was a boob who ruined the Red Sox and then lost heavily on lousy Broadway plays is incorrect, according to the book. Frazee was quite successful in his theatrical business and died a millionaire, in fact.

Yawkey is depicted as the least successful baseball owner in history. He refined the art of cronyism to its highest form and his teams only became successful on the field when he lost interest and allowed Dick O’Connell to run the franchise.

In the book, there is a chart ranking Sox owners by winning percentage. Frazee is eighth on the list. Yawkey is ninth. And, of course, who was the owner of the last Red Sox team to win the World Series?

Harry Frazee.

There are other tidbits. Evidence suggests that the first game of the 1903 World Series, the first World Series, was probably fixed, as was a game in the 1912 World Series. Both series were won by the Red Sox.

Stout, who moved to Massachusetts to be near Fenway Park, believes the franchise will never win the World Series as long as the ownership is from the Yawkey succession, which the current John Harrington regime is. He also says that the Sox won’t win a World Series as long as they are in Fenway Park, or play in a duplicate of Fenway. The dimensions of the ballpark are simply too much of a disadvantage for them.

“If you’re a Yankees fan,” he said, “you’ll love the new Fenway Park.”

Not a comforting thought, but then, “Red Sox Century ” is a book.

What you don’t know of Red Sox lore
By Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe – October 8th, 2000

When I moved here, in 1972, I thought I had set foot in Arcadia. After my shift at the Schrafft’s restaurant in the Prudential Center, I could stroll to Fenway Park and sit in the reserved grandstand for $3. More frequently, though, it was the bleachers for a buck. There, one could gaze into the Red Sox bullpen at bronzed, handsome, 28-year-old Bob Montgomery, warming up pitchers or just simply being. (One was young then, and prey to capricious, unrequited passions.) I was jubilant and as innocent as virgin horsehide of Boston baseball’s dark side, of the obsession with tragic destiny. I think, in fact, there wasn’t so much talk about the whole business in those halcyon days: 1975, 1978, and 1986 all lay in the future.

Since that distant era, the notion that the Red Sox are cursed (sale or no sale) has become the governing one in discussing the team’s history, a conceit that only the most independent thinkers avoid. I myself am trying to kick the habit – unsuccessfully, it seems. But I do wonder whether there are people who actually believe that selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees caused the end of Red Sox world championships; or do they, as I do (did?), just like the idea? Certainly it’s seductive, because of the evil role played by New York, both in the person of Broadway impresario Harry Frazee and in the monstrous form of the Yankee juggernaut. It has, in other words, the nightmarish appeal of an urban legend.

‘’If there is any kind of curse that haunts the Red Sox,’’ write Glenn Stout and Richard A. Johnson, the authors of ‘’Red Sox Century‘’ (Houghton Mifflin, $40), ‘’it’s not one that has anything to do with the sale of Ruth. Rather, it is the way history has been misused to provide excuses for the real failures that have haunted the team.’’ Behind these fighting words there are hard facts, hewn from a mountain of newspapers and other sources the two have been excavating for more than 10 years.

I would like to go through each and every revelation in this magnificent book, but the problem with historical truth is that it is complex, contextual, and simply impossible to boil down to a sentence or two. One could say, for instance, that the Red Sox won the first-ever World Series (1903). And so they did; but what that boast leaves out is that it’s as certain as circumstantial evidence can make it that the team threw one, maybe two of the games in that eight-game series. Moreover, as one reads the authors’ account of this scam, it is shown to be far less perfidious an act than the bald statement suggests.

What was the worst deal the Red Sox ever made? Selling the Babe? No, according to the two iconoclasts. A worse infamy was selling Tris Speaker to Cleveland – an act as despicable, I see now, as letting Carlton Fisk go (from which blunder I still have not recovered, despite his presence in the Hall of Fame with a B on his cap). Well, then, what about the vexed matter of dealing Ruth to New York? The villain in this scenario, as in so many others in the first couple of decades of American League history, was actually league president Ban Johnson. Richard A. Johnson (no relation, I presume) and Stout have convinced me of this and, mirabile dictu, even made me rather like Harry Frazee for sticking it to the Grand Pooh-Bah. The Book is filled with this sort of revisionism, astute and thoroughly backed up, delivering almost 100 years of reassessment (don your helmets, Yawkey devotees) to bring the team through the 1999 season. The multitudinous photographs make their own eloquent statements; and the book also includes excellent essays by Peter Gammons, Charles Pierce, and eight other baseball cognoscenti. (Doris Kearns Goodwin, to one’s mingled surprise and relief, is not among them.) Well, this is the book, the genuine article, a vademecum to get you through waiting for next year.

Other Quotes About RED SOX CENTURY

RED SOX CENTURY belongs right up there with Macbeth, Hamlet and other dynastic tragedies.” – Dick Schaap

RED SOX CENTURY serves as both a history of the team, and a tribute to the American game. Robert B. Parker, bestselling author of Hush Money, Hugger Mugger, and Family Honor – Robert B. Parker, bestselling author of Hush Money, Hugger Mugger, and Family Honor
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