The End of Baseball is now available in paperback from Ivan R. Dee.
The year is 1944. Bill Veeck has assembled a major league baseball dream team of Negro League all-stars. Is America ready for the greatest baseball team in history?
Bill Veeck, the maverick promoter, returned from Guadalcanal with a leg missing and $500 to his name, has hustled his way into buying the Philadelphia Athletics. Hungry for a pennant, young Veeck jettisons the team’s white players and secretly recruits the legendary stars of the Negro Leagues, fielding a club that will go down in baseball annals as one of the greatest to play the game.
The players’ personal lives tell a tale of hardships, triumphs, vanity and altruism in pre-civil rights America. The tragic Josh Gibson, the remarkable but self-centered Satchel Paige, the Cuban wonder Martín Dihigo, the veteran stalwarts Cool Papa Bell, Willie Wells, and Buck Leonard, and the rising stars Roy Campanella, Monte Irvin, Artie Wilson, and Dave Barnhill are expertly portrayed as psychologically complex characters.
The behind-the-scenes adventures are brought to life by a cast of characters no less compelling than the players: the powerful columnist Walter Winchell, who saves the club by whispering in President Roosevelt’s ear; the steely commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, hell-bent on preserving the sport as he knows it; J. Edgar Hoover, who sees in Veeck’s experiment the sowing of communism in the nation’s pastime; and the sportswriters and the people of Philadelphia who come to love this team.
The End of Baseball is the most rollicking, free-spirited baseball story in years, the unvarnished truth of that incredible season and the men who lived it.