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Hoopla ()

This rollicking novel of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal is a sort of hybrid of Ragtime, Eight Men Out & You Know Me, Al.  Luther Pond, a sportswriter for William Randolph Hearst's New York Morning Journal, shares the narration with "Buck" Weaver.  Between them they weave a tale that intersperses portraits of John L. Sullivan, Ty Cobb, Hearst, George M. Cohan, etc. (here's a description of Cobb: "watching him play, it was possible to speculate, in defiance of logic, that winning was not his only concern; that Ty Cobb was consumed by another, more primitive objective: to annihilate the egos of other men" ) with the story of how eight players on the best team in baseball came to participate in a scheme to lose a World Series.

For anyone who knows the story of the Black Sox, much of the book will be familiar, but there are some nice set pieces--especially the Jeffries/Johnson fight--& the world of newspapering & Yellow Journalism is as much a focus of the story as baseball.


Grade: (B+)


See also:

Harry Stein (2 books reviewed)
Sports (Baseball)
Harry Stein Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Harry Stein (author)
    -ESSAY: My Father, Fiddler, and the Left: Joseph Stein’s comic circle and the transformation of American popular culture (Harry Stein, Summer 2014, City Journal)
    -ESSAY: Meet Reggie (Dr. Jekyll) Jackson (Mr. Hyde) (Harry Stein, July 1977, Esquire)

Book-related and General Links:
    -The Black Sox Scandal
    -Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame
    -ESSAY: The Smaller the Ball, the Better the Book: A Game Theory of Literature (George Plimpton, NY Times Book Review)

  If you liked Hoopla, try:

  Alexander, Charles
    -John McGraw
    -Rogers Hornsby : A Biography

  Asinof, Eliot
    -Eight Men Out : The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series

  Creamer, Robert
    -Stengel : His Life and Times
    -Babe : The Legend Comes to Life

  Doctorow, E.L.

  Greenberg, Eric Rolfe
    -The Celebrant

  Honig, Donald
    -Baseball When the Grass Was Real : Baseball from the Twenties to the Forties
  Told by the Men Who Played It

  Kinsella, W.P.
    -Shoeless Joe

  Lardner, Ring
    -You Know Me, Al: A Busher's Letters

  Lieb, Fred
    -Baseball As I Have Known It

  Matthewson, Christy
    -Pitching in a Pinch or Baseball from the Inside

  Ritter, Lawrence S.
    -The Glory of Their Times : The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told By the Men Who Played It