In 1884, Providence Grays pitcher Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn won an astounding fifty-nine gamesmore than anyone in major-league history ever had before, or has since. He then went on to win all three games of baseball's first World Series.
Fifty-nine in '84 tells the dramatic story not only of that amazing feat of grit but also of big-league baseball two decades after the Civil Wara brutal, bloody sport played barehanded, the profession of uneducated, hard-drinking men who thought little of cheating outrageously or maiming an opponent to win.
It is the tale, too, of the woman Radbourn loved, Carrie Stanhope, the alluring proprietress of a boarding-house with shady overtones, a married lady who was said to have personally known every man in the National League.
Wonderfully entertaining, Fifty-nine in '84 is an indelible portrait of a legendary player and a fascinating, little-known era of the national pastime.
Beautifully written and impeccably researched, Pure Grit is the best book out there on 19th-century baseball. Old Hoss Radbourn would be pleased that he is finally getting his due—and angry that it took so long.
-Cait Murphy, author of CRAZY '08
“This is a beautifully written, meticulously researched story about a bygone baseball era that even die-hard fans will find foreign, and about a pitcher who might have been the greatest of all time.”
-Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer prize-winning historian and devoted Red Sox fan