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Thursday, December 05, 2013

“Natural Hitter My Ass”:  The perfect swing and complicated lfie of Ted Williams

That’s one long biography—800-plus pages.  Although the review is largely complimentary, it makes it clear that there is some deadwood.  Can’t tell how much new information is presented.  Williams seems to attract extended biographies.

Morty Causa Posted: December 05, 2013 at 11:12 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball history, biography, hitting

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   1. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 06, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4612424)
I read that as "Natural Hitler My Ass".
   2. Russ Posted: December 06, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4612433)
Williams seems to attract extended biographies.


Even death, he's a master of extending the count.
   3. Morty Causa Posted: December 06, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4612440)
Williams often brings the concluding lines of a Richard Wilbur poem to mind:

And what to say of him, God knows.
Such violence. And such repose.
   4. AndrewJ Posted: December 07, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4612897)
Just started reading this book. Bradlee's not a very good stylist but he has done good research.
   5. Lassus Posted: December 07, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4612948)
I know a mostly-blind Red Sox fan. I wonder if this will make it to audio.

EDIT: It has, right there on Amazon.
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 07, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4612949)
Sounds like a great book. I'm looking forward to getting it as a $5.98 remainder.
   7. esseff Posted: December 07, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4613030)
I though Leigh Montville did a pretty thorough job on Williams, especially post-playing days Williams. Is there ground being covered by Bradlee that Montville missed?
   8. Morty Causa Posted: December 07, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4613031)
6:

I thought books on Williams sold pretty well? But, then, I think you've mentioned you keep yourself fit for the long haul.
   9. Morty Causa Posted: December 07, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4613043)
4:

Neat. If you have time and care to, inform us of any interesting new findings or assessments.
   10. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 07, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4613045)
6:

I thought books on Williams sold pretty well? But, then, I think you've mentioned you keep yourself fit for the long haul.


I gather (Andy would certainly know this better than me) that just about everything brought out by major, & quite possibly not-so-major, publishers eventually gets remaindered, no matter the sales success.
   11. Morty Causa Posted: December 07, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4613047)
Ah. That's true. I wasn't thinking along those lines.

Williams's detestation of being characterized as a "mere" great natural hitter is a lot like Bill Russell's resentment when people said he had great natural sense on the court. Once, I think, he replied to the effect, no one was calling me a great natural player when I was 16 and practicing 8 hours a day.
   12. Xander Posted: December 07, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4613091)
I read that as "Natural Hitler My Ass".
Though he had a low OBP, Hitler did have a knack for reaching base on dropped third reichs.
   13. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 07, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4613188)
Just started reading this book. Bradlee's not a very good stylist but he has done good research.

And included all of it, apparently.
I kind of hate the modern trend of "if it's in my notes, it goes in the book." Can I blame this on personal computers? I feel like word processors' cut & paste function has made it way too easy to draft research-based documents (like legal briefs) much longer than they need to be.
   14. GregD Posted: December 07, 2013 at 08:02 PM (#4613208)
Possibly though other factors are 1) the huge cutbacks in editorial staff, so fewer editors are actually forcing the kinds of cuts editors use to force upon writers, 2) the sense that books for men have to be large in order to qualify as "good gifts" and books for men depend upon being gifts for dad/grandpa/husband for sales since men don't buy many books in the aggregate and they fear short books look like cheap gifts and 3) prizes often go to longer books
   15. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: December 07, 2013 at 08:55 PM (#4613226)
I kind of hate the modern trend of "if it's in my notes, it goes in the book."


You would not believe this new book about The Beatles by Mark Lewisohn. He seems to have made it his mission to detail what each of them were doing on every day of their lives. Volume I is 944 pages and it ends just before they record their first album.

(To be clear, I like the book a lot, but I'm not sure how many people want this much detail)
   16. GregD Posted: December 07, 2013 at 08:59 PM (#4613228)
Volume I is 944 pages and it ends just before they record their first album.
For real?
   17. AndrewJ Posted: December 07, 2013 at 09:48 PM (#4613241)
You would not believe this new book about The Beatles by Mark Lewisohn. He seems to have made it his mission to detail what each of them were doing on every day of their lives. Volume I is 944 pages and it ends just before they record their first album.

(To be clear, I like the book a lot, but I'm not sure how many people want this much detail)


Rest assured there are enough Beatlemaniacs out there who'll buy it.
   18. Morty Causa Posted: December 07, 2013 at 11:03 PM (#4613274)
14:

I think that there's a lot of truth in what you say here about editors. Editors used to work really close with authors, especially authors of what would be prestigious tomes. But books no longer just compete with other books, so publishers are not only feeling pressure from other book publishers, and there's a lot of cost-cutting. Heck, it isn't just book publishers. The New Yorker used to be renown for its anal-ness about everything having to do with style, facts, form, decorum, and diction. Not so much now. People find errors and solecisms much more often than erstwhile. I bet Thurber or White wouldn't recognize the thing without Eustace Tilley on the cover.

   19. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 07, 2013 at 11:17 PM (#4613278)
As I've noted before, I was trained to edit books, but I've handled only a handful on a free-lance basis (none since the early '90s), having gone into newspapers instead because there were a lot more papers than book publishers when I moved back home to Arkansas after my mother died in '84 & I got out of school.

Funny how times have changed -- these days, there aren't that many of either, & lord knows there aren't that many editing positions, period. I'm lucky to have the online gig I do.

*sigh*
   20. Morty Causa Posted: December 07, 2013 at 11:37 PM (#4613283)
This is as good a place as any to post this link:

Richard Wilbur's A Game of Catch

I earlier mentioned Richard Wilbur. I have never forgotten this short story (a short short story) about three boys playing catch, although I first read it about 50 years ago, and probably haven't read it in about 30 years. So I never think to mention it when we here at BTF talk baseball lit, but it certainly deserves a mention. I think perhaps only a poet, and a poet like Wilbur, could have written it.
   21. Tracy Posted: December 08, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4613300)
If this excerpt from the Slate story is accurate, I already count one strike against the book.

“In his third game, Ted had a double and single, but it was his fourth game, on Sunday, April 23, that served as his true Fenway Park coming out party,” Bradlee writes. “In his second time up against Philadelphia’s LeRoy ‘Tarzan’ Parmelee, Ted scorched a ball into the right-center-field bleachers, just to the right of the outfield triangle, about 430 feet away, for his first home run.


Williams did hit his first home run on April 23, but it was his first time up, against Bud Thomas.

   22. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 08, 2013 at 01:11 AM (#4613321)
You would not believe this new book about The Beatles by Mark Lewisohn. He seems to have made it his mission to detail what each of them were doing on every day of their lives. Volume I is 944 pages and it ends just before they record their first album.

(To be clear, I like the book a lot, but I'm not sure how many people want this much detail)


That's the ABRIDGED edition that was issued in the US. The extended edition was issued in Europe, but not in the US, and runs 1,728 pages.
   23. AndrewJ Posted: December 08, 2013 at 08:24 AM (#4613406)
That's the ABRIDGED edition that was issued in the US. The extended edition was issued in Europe, but not in the US, and runs 1,728 pages.

And like I said, there are going to be legions of European Beatlemaniacs who'll line up to buy the thing -- and many will complain about the stuff Lewisohn left out of that edition, too.
   24. Morty Causa Posted: December 08, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4613668)
Sounds like Lewisohn did to the lives of the individual Beatles what Ian MacDonald did to the songs.

And MacDonald also put forth an edited version of his book on only the Beatle chart-toppers.

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