This collection of personal narratives from players in the 1930s and 1940s chronicles a turbulent time in baseball and American society – post-depression, World War II and the integration of major league baseball highlight this period, and the stories players tell are reflections of their experiences.
These personal narratives are transcribed recordings of interviews that Fay Vincent – the commissioner of baseball from 1989 – 1992 – compiled as part of the Baseball Oral History Project. Ten players are featured: Elden Auker, Bob Feller, Tommy Henrich, Buck O’Neill, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, Warren Spahn, Larry Doby, Ralph Kiner and Monte Irvin.
The Only Game In Town is reminiscent of Ken Burns’ Baseball series, except in book form. At times I wished an editor would have gone through and cleaned it up – we speak differently than we write, and often it’s a challenge keeping up with the player’s narrative because of that difference.
However – this is a very good work. If you remember baseball during the 30s and 40s, this will surely open up a flood of memories. If you weren’t around during that time – it’s a first hand insight into the game and America during those two decades. It provides an intimate look into the emotions that the players coming from the Negro Leagues felt as they stepped onto the major league field for the first time. It also provides insight into how some of the Caucasian players felt when those Negro Leaguers stepped onto that field for the first time.
What do you think of The Only Game In Town? Log in and post your comments.