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The Glory of Their Times

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The Glory of Their Times is the abbreviated title of a 1966 book by Lawrence Ritter (the full title is The Glory of Their Times: The Story of Baseball Told By the Men Who Played It). Ritter, a university professor, used his summers to interview players from the turn of the century. He was inspired by the death of Ty Cobb to preserve oral histories. Among his subjects was Sam Crawford, who had slipped into obscurity in California. He published 22 of the interviews in his book. Currently the book is available in an expanded, 26 interview edition, that edition having first come out in 1985. Audiobooks have also been released of the original interviews.

Setting a standard for oral histories of baseball, the book led to a slew of imitators, none of which achieved the same level of commercial or critical success. In Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?, Bill James has noted that the book also helped enshrine several players into the Hall of Fame; four of the featured players were elected within 5 years despite no prior drive to get them in. These four were Goose Goslin, Stan Coveleski, Rube Marquard and Harry Hooper, the latter two of whom clearly had inferior credentials to many people not in the Hall of Fame.

In 2014, Ritters's interview recordings were added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry set up to preserve "cultural, artistic and/or historical treasures, representing the richness and diversity of the American soundscape."

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[edit] Further Reading

  • Lawrence Ritter: The Glory of Their Times: The Story of Baseball Told By the Men Who Played It William Morrow, New York, NY, 1992 ISBN 0688112730 (originally published in 1966).

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