Fifty-nine in '84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had (Paperback)
"First-class narrative history that can stand with everything Steven Ambrose wrote. . . . Achorn's description of the utter insanity that was barehanded baseball is vivid and alive." —Boston Globe
“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
In 1884 Providence Grays pitcher Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn won an astounding fifty-nine games—more 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 War—a brutal, bloody sport played barehanded, the profession of uneducated, hard-drinking men who thought little of cheating outrageously or maiming an opponent to win.
Wonderfully entertaining, Fifty-nine in '84 is an indelible portrait of a legendary player and a fascinating, little-known era of the national pastime.
Edward Achorn, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for distinguished commentary, is the deputy editorial pages editor of the Providence Journal.
"First-class narrative history that can stand with everything Steven Ambrose wrote. . . . Achorn's description of the utter insanity that was barehanded baseball is vivid and alive." — Boston Globe
“All fans of baseball, all fans of a good story, will love this book. With clear and colorful prose, Edward Achorn has told the marvelous suspense-filled story of Charles Radbourn’s 1884 season as a baseball pitcher. In the process Achorn has recreated not just the rough and tough baseball world of “Old Hoss” Radbourn, perhaps the greatest pitcher who ever lived, but also the raucous society and the money-mad culture that sustained the wild and wooly and rapidly developing game of nineteenth-century baseball. Once you’ve read this book, you won’t forget it.” — Professor Gordon Wood, Pulitzer and Bancroft Prize Winner, Department of History, Brown University
"Beautifully written and impeccably researched. . . 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
“Baseball historians and anyone interested in the give and take of everyday life in America in the tumultuous twenty or thirty years after the Civil War will be fascinated by the extraordinary detail unearthed by Edward Achorn for his monumental biography of Charley (Old Hoss) Radbourne, who for at least a few years was probably the greatest pitcher every to play professional baseball, and who for all his life was a truculent, fiercely independent character.” — Robert W. Creamer, author of Babe: The Legend Comes to Life and Stengel: His Life and Times
"Make room, Satchel and Cy, Walter, Grover and Roger. In a game where winning is everything, Old Hoss Radbourn did more of it than any of you in that magical season of 1884. But don’t believe me. Travel back there with Ed Achorn, who makes Old Hoss’ case for greatness in a book that passionately evokes a forgotten era and convincingly rewrites our list of the most accomplished pitchers ever." — Larry Tye, author of Satchel