For the record, my second book has been officially released by Scarecrow Press. It's called Baseball's Most Notorious Personalities: A Gallery of Rogues. In an earlier post, I mentioned that the release date had been delayed.
I've always been fascinated by the bad guys who have played the game over the years and I had a lot of fun compiling their biographies. Amongst all the riff raff, you'll also find decent guys like poor Fred Merkle, a nineteen year-old rookie who committed a base running gaffe back in 1908 that allegedly cost the Giants a pennant. Merkle's mistake (a relatively minor one in hindsight) directly influenced the outcome of a game that left the Giants tied for first place with the Cubs on the last day of the season. A one game playoff between the two clubs ended in favor of Chicago when superstar hurler Christy Mathewson (a 37-game winner that year) suddenly imploded on the mound, allowing a 4-run outburst that proved to be the difference in the match. Whenever that ill-fated season is recounted, Merkle's gaffe seems to take precedent over Matty's meltdown.
Another unfairly stigmatized player is Jim Bouton. Bouton had a couple of great seasons for the Yankees in the 1960's before arm trouble forced him out of the majors. He developed a knuckleball and began a long comeback trail that ultimately led to one of the most important books in baseball history.When Bouton released his epic tell-all memoirs, Ball Four, he became a pariah. The book was eventually recognized for what it was--one of the most candid, hilarious and insightful baseball tomes ever written. But Bouton was shunned by the establishment, losing many friends and suffering the ignominy of being banned from old-timer's games at Yankee Stadium for decades. If you've never read Ball Four, it should be on your list.
...While you're at it, you can add Gallery of Rogues as well.