Authors: Mark Harris
Copyright © 1953 by Mark Harris
Cover art and eForeword to the electronic edition copyright
© 2000 by RosettaBooks, LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
For information address [email protected] First electronic edition published 2000 by RosettaBooks LLC, New York.
Meet a real hero — not the proverbial, sanitized role model, but a decent man with formidable gifts who strives to do the right thing.
Henry W. Wiggen, the folksy baseball pitcher with a golden left arm, tells his own story in
, Mark Harris’ irresistible novel that charts the real coming of age of a good man. The novel follows Wiggen from obscurity to the World Series, with all the challenges and temptations success can throw in the path of a talented man destined for great things. Refreshing and congenial,
captures the world of baseball not merely with facts and specifics, but by understanding the people who play the game. “Even those whose knowledge of baseball is element will find the book worth reading,” The New York Times wrote. “For let there be not doubt about it, this is a distinguished and unusual book.”
Novelist Mark Harris (b.1922) is best known for his Henry Wiggen novels, all written in a disarming vernacular, as if Wiggen himself were dictating the text. In addition to
Bang the Drum Slowly
(1956) —Harris also wrote the screenplay for the novel’s 1973 film adaptation, starring Michael Moriarty as Wiggen, with Robert DeNiro as Pearson
— they include
A Ticket for a Seamstitch
It Looked Like For Ever
(1970). Harris is also the author of novels about military experience (
Trumpet to the World
About a Soldier
) and life in academia (
Wake Up Stupid
Lying in Bed
). In 1980, he wrote a unique biography of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Saul Bellow entitled
. Mark Harris has taught on the university level throughout his writing career and is presently a Professor of English at Arizona State University.
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Also available from RosettaBooks is Mark Harris’
Bang the Drum Slowly
Holly says that many a man will write a book and
then dedicate it to somebody. I said okay. I said I would
dedicate it to the 100,000,000 boobs and flatheads that
swallowed down whole the lies of Krazy Kress in his column of
last September 30, 1952. The main reason I wrote this book
was for their benefit in the first place, so they would have my
side of the story, which is the true side, and not Krazy’s, which
is more or less of a lie from start to finish.
But Holly said no. She said you cannot dedicate a book
simply to “100,000,000 boobs and flatheads.” She said it would
be best to pick out somebody that never believed Krazy to begin
with, somebody that knows me for what I am no matter what.
“Think of somebody that would never throw you a curve come
thick or thin,” she said.
So I lit on Donald and Britta Wetzel. Donald is a writer,
1 of the best, and Britta is an up and coming painter. They
have 1 kid, name of David Richard Wetzel. This book is
dedicated to the 3 of them.
Certain things in this book been copied out of still other books. These are as follows:
7 paragraphs from “Sam Yale—Mammoth,” by Sam Yale (actually wrote by Krazy Kress), printed by All-American Boys’ Shelf, Inc., 1943.
1 paragraph from “My 66 Years in the Big Leagues” by Connie Mack, printed by the John C. Winston Company, 1950.
Krazy Kresses whole column from “The Star-Press,” April 15, 1952, and Krazy Kresses whole column from the same paper, date of September 30, 1952, both columns hogwash.
1 paragraph from an article called “Durocher on Durocher Et Al.,” by Gilbert Millstein, which was run in the New York “Times” Magazine section on July 22, 1951.
Special Warning To All Readers!!!
Right up till the time this book went in the mail there was practically a running feud amongst a number of people over the filthy and vulgar language. Pop argued hard that the least I could do was blank in the filthiest and the vulgarest.
“I can swallow the “damns” and the “hells” and even worse,” said he, “but as for the “f—s” they are simply too much for my eyes to bear. I wish you would blank them in, Hank.”
“I suppose I could blank them in at that,” I said, “but I cannot see where the gain is.”
“It will protect the women and the children,” said Pop.
Then Aaron whipped out this book called “Tom Jones” by an Englishman with the following underlined in ink in Chapter 10 of Book 4: “D—n un, what a sly b—ch ‘tis.” “Read it out loud,” said Aaron to Pop.
Pop read out loud as follows: “Damn un, what a sly bitch ‘tis.”
“Ho ho,” said Aaron, “you have blanked out the blanks in your mind.”
“But at least it is not there for the eye to see,” said Pop.
“How are the women and the children of England protected?” said Aaron to Pop.
“I do not know,” said Pop, “but they are protected nonetheless.”
“Would not England be better off for forcing their eyes to face up to the words?” said Aaron.
“To hell with England,” said I. “I am sick and tired of the wrangling, and the book must go in the mail. I will blank the word in and put an end to the whole rhubarb.”
I suppose the women and the children will fill it in to suit themself, though. That’s up to them. I blanked it in, for Pop’s sake, and whoever blanks it out again learned the word from somebody else, not me.
(signed) Henry W. Wiggen
NEW YORK MAMMOTH BASEBALL CLUB, INC. 1952
Lester T. Moors, Jr.
SCHNELL, Herman H. “Dutch.” Born February 23, 1893, St. Louis, Mo. Residence: St. Louis.
BARNARD, Egbert. “Egg.” Born October 2, 1896, Philadelphia, Pa.
JAROS, Joseph Thomas. “Joe.” Born March 31, 1895, Moline, Ill.
Residence: Oak Park, Ill.
STRAP, Clinton Blakesley. “Clint.” Born April 1, 1906, Mason City, Wash. Residence: Scranton, Pa. Capt., U. S. Army, 1942-1946.
BURNS, Allen Bruce. “Scotty.” Born February 26, 1919, Glasgow, Scotland. 5’10”, 175 pounds, bats R, throws R. Residence: Portland, Me.
CARUCCI, Pasquale Joseph. Born August 10, 1923, Port Chester, N.
Y. Cpl., U. S. Army, 1941-1945. 5’101/2”, 180 pounds, bats L, throws R. Residence: San Francisco, Cal.
CARUCCI, Vincent Frank. Born July 17, 1925, San Francisco, Cal.
Pvt., U. S. Army, 1944. 5’10”, 175 pounds, bats L, throws R.
Residence: San Francisco.
JUDKINS, Lawrence Paul. “Lucky.” Born July 1, 1926, Durant, Okla.
Cpl., U. S. Army, 1945-1946. 6’1/2”, 185 pounds, bats L, throws L. Residence: Tulsa, Okla.
TROTTER, Calvin Phineas. “Sunny Jim.” Born October 23, 1918, Durham, N. H. Seaman First Class, U. S. Navy, 1941-1944.
5’10”, 185 pounds, bats R-L, throws L. Residence: Durham, N.H.
WILKS, Brendan Knight. “Swanee.” Born June 11, 1917, Laurel, Miss.
5’11”, 195 pounds, bats R, throws R. Residence: Amarillo, Tex.
GOLDMAN, Sidney Jerome. “Sid.” Born May 7, 1928, Bronx, N. Y.
Pvt., U. S. Army, 1946-1947. 6’11/2”, 210 pounds, bats L, throws L. Residence: Manhattan, N. Y.
GONZALEZ, George. Born February 11, 1926, Pinar del Rio, Cuba.
5’91/2”, 175 pounds, bats R, throws R. Residence: Havana, Cuba.
JONES, Robert Stanley. “Ugly.” Born September 6, 1921, Batesville, Ark.
Sgt., U. S. Marines, 1942-1945. 5’111/2”, 185 pounds, bats L, throws R. Residence: Little Rock, Ark.
PARK, Ellsworth Eugene. “Gene.” Born December 1, 1920, Springfield, Ill. 5’11”, 185 pounds, bats R, throws R. Residence: Glendale, Cal.
ROGUSKI, John Llewellyn. “Coker.” Born April 2, 1930, Fairmont, W.
Va. 5’10”, 180 pounds, bats R-L, throws R. Residence: Fairmont.
SIMPSON, Perry Garvey. Born May 27, 1931, Savannah, Ga. 5’101/2”, 175 pounds, bats R, throws R. Residence: Detroit, Mich.
SMITH, Earle Banning. “Canada.” Born October 14, 1929, Winnipeg, Canada. 5’11”, 180 pounds, bats R, throws R.
PEARSON, Bruce William, Jr. Born June 4, 1926, Bainbridge, Ga.
Pvt., U. S. Army, 1943-1945. 5’11”, 185 pounds, bats R, throws R. Residence: Bainbridge.
TRAPHAGEN, Berwyn Phillips. “Red.” Born December 9, 1919, Oakland, Cal. U. S. Medical Experimentation Corps, 1943-1946. 6’1”, 195 pounds, bats R, throws R. Residence: Carmel, Cal.
WILLIAMS, Harold Hill. “Hal.” Born August 26, 1920, Terre Haute, Ind.
Sgt., U. S. Marines, 1942-1945. 6’1/2”, 200 pounds, bats R, throws R. Residence: Chicago, Ill.
BURKE, Lindon Theodore. Born March 12, 1930, Lusk, Wyo. 5’11”, 190 pounds, throws R, bats R. Residence: Lusk.