Baseball in the 1920s is most known for Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees, but there was another great Yankee player in that era whose compelling story remains untold. Urban Shocker was a fiercely competitive and colorful pitcher, a spitballer who had many famous battles with Babe Ruth before returning to the Yankees. Shocker was traded away to the St. Louis Browns in 1918 by Yankees manager Miller Huggins, a trade Huggins always regretted. In 1925, after four straight seasons with at least twenty wins with the hapless Browns, Shocker became the only player Huggins brought back to the Yankees. He finally reached the World Series, with the 1926 Yankees.
In the Yankees' storied 1927 season, widely viewed to be the best in MLB history, Shocker pitched with guts and guile, finishing with a record of 18-6 even while his fastball and physical skills were deserting him. Hardly anyone knew that Shocker was suffering from an incurable heart disease that left him able to sleep only while sitting up and which would take his life in less than a year. With his physical skills diminishing, he continued to win games through craftiness and well-placed pitches.
Delving into Shocker's baseball career, his love of the game, and his battle with heart disease, Steve Steinberg shows the dominant and courageous force that he was.
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Steve Steinberg is a baseball historian and coauthor with Lyle Spatz of The Colonel and Hug: The Partnership that Transformed the New York Yankees (Nebraska, 2015), research award winner from the Society for American Baseball Research, and 1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York (Nebraska, 2010), winner of the Seymour Medal.
List of illustrations
1. Passing By and Drawn In
2. Midwest Connections
3. Sandlots and Love of the Game
4. An Emerging Star in the Minors
5. False Start
6. A Magical Summer on the Island
7. Motor City Mischief
8. The Returned Prodigal and the Coming Phenom
9. The Dream Team
10. The First Trade
11. Love and War and a Little Baseball
12. A Summer to Remember
13. The End of an Era
14. Challenging the Great One
15 The Showdowns Continue
16. The Underdog Arises
17. Good but Not Lucky
18. A Lost Season
19. Free Agency in 1924?
20. The Temperamental Spitballist
21. Back Where I Belong
22. Clouds Approaching
23. The Season That Wasn't
24. Hope Springs Eternal
25. The Comeback
26. Moment in the Sun
27. The Master at Work
28. Promises and Secrets
29. A Star Surfaces and Crashes
30. A Day of Death and Rebirth
"I would rather read Steve Steinberg on Urban Shocker than just about anyone else on anything else. Steinberg and Shocker go together like Cracker Jack and baseball. You won't care if you never get back!"-Rob Neyer, author, commentator, and analyst for ESPN, SB Nation, and Fox Sports -- Rob Neyer "Steve Steinberg makes history come alive. He paints such a vivid picture of the 1920s you would think he had actually been there and experienced it himself."-Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo, sports radio and TV personality -- Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo "From the greatest team of all time comes one of baseball's most tragic and-somehow-forgotten players. Urban Shocker deserved better, and thanks to Steve Steinberg and his meticulous research, his fascinating story is finally told."-Brian Kenny, MLB Network studio host -- Brian Kenny "The short life of this canny pitcher of baseballs during the Roaring Twenties was filled with enough highs and lows, triumphs and heartaches, to keep you awake late into the night. Join Urban Shocker, Babe Ruth, and a fine cast of characters for the bumpy but well-written ride. Good stuff."-Leigh Montville, author of best-selling biographies of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams -- Leigh Montville "Steinberg has put together a nice biography of one of baseball lesser-known standouts."-Baseball Historian * Baseball Historian * "Thanks to Steve Steinberg, we now know as much about Urban Shocker as we are likely to know about anybody who played the game so long ago. All athletes should be so lucky in their biographers."-Tim Morris, Sports Literature Association -- Tim Morris * Sports Literature Association *
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