Spitball Review - Spring 2006

 

It may be hard to imagine that there is an "untold story" about the 1919 World Series and one might quibble about whether really is, but Susan Dellinger here tells the story from a strikingly different perspective: from Cincinnati in general terms and more specifically from the point of view of the Cincinnati connections to the broader gambling culture that led to "The Fix," of the Reds and most specifically of Edd Roush, the Reds star center fielder and the grandfather of the author.

There are really two books here - a biographyof Roush and an account of the Series and the fix - and both of them are well researched and well presented. They are obviously interrelated, yet they are not fully intergrated. The first 131 pages present Roush's life and career up to 1919 and admirably fill a gap in basball history, The account is richly informed by Dellinger's access to family documents and to conversations with both Roush and his wife Essie. There is genuine affection in the telling, but Dellinger is not uncritical in her portrait. Regrettably, we learn little of Roush's life and career after the playing out of the aftermath of the 1919 Series.

Both two obviously is about the organizing of the fix, the series itself and the unraveling of the plot. This involves going back a bit and setting the scene in Cincinnati. Dellinger handles well the complexity of this task and deftly describes some of the characters both prominent and marginal in the city. She sets this against a broader story of Arnold Rothstein's activities using the abundance of previous secondary sources and again the reminiscences of Roush. The story is told in a compelling manner though somewhat off-putting is her use of invented conversations. There are also some problems with footnoting, especially in chapter nine.

Despite the problems mentioned, the book is a good read, a positive contribution to the bibliography of the Black Sox scandal, and as noted a welcome portrait of Hall of Famer Edd Roush.


Evansville Courier & Press. - May 16, 2006

 

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