Sept. 20, 1999
Sept. 20, 1999

Table of Contents
Sept. 20, 1999

U.S. Open
Baseball [bonus Piece]


A Clever Base-Ballist: The Life and Times of John Montgomery Ward
By Bryan Di Salvatore
Pantheon Books, $27.50

This is an article from the Sept. 20, 1999 issue Original Layout

The subject of this immaculately researched but sometimes too
cleverly written profile is a 19th-century ballplayer to whom
the modern big leaguer, in all of his free-agent opulence, owes
a profound debt.

Ward began his career in 1878 as a righthanded pitcher with the
National League Providence Grays. Over the next seven years he
won 164 games--including 47 in one season and 39 in another--had
a 2.10 ERA and threw a perfect game as well as an 18-inning
shutout. Then, after wearing out his pitching arm, he
transformed himself into a lefthanded-throwing outfielder. After
his right arm had recovered, he became a righthanded-throwing
infielder. Ward finished his 17-year career with more than 2,000
hits and was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans
Committee in 1964.

Good as he was on the field, Ward was better known as perhaps
the game's first "clubhouse lawyer"--he was, in fact, a law
graduate of Columbia--the notorious troublemaker who led the
"brotherhood" of players in revolt against oppressively stingy
owners in 1890. For the rest of his life Ward would champion the
players' cause. Lord knows what he would think today--perhaps
that he'd created a monster.

Long Balls, No Strikes
By Joe Morgan with Richard Lally
Crown Publishers, $25

This, praise be, is not another of those tedious old ballplayer
memoirs. The Hall of Fame second baseman and outspoken
broadcaster has written (with Lally's eloquent help) a stinging
analysis of the modern game and its follies. Morgan finds much
to deplore--the emergence of the one-inning closer and the
decline of basestealing, the designated hitter, the lowered
pitching mound and other abominations. Morgan is so busy
addressing elements of the game that need correcting that he
barely has time to write about himself. Most unusual. Most

Roberto Clemente: The Great One
By Bruce Markusen
Sports Publishing, Inc., $22.95

Puerto Rico's most celebrated athlete is affectionately
portrayed by an author who's half Puerto Rican himself. Markusen
believes Clemente the humanitarian was an even more important
figure than Clemente the Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star
rightfielder. Sadly, at 38, Clemente died in a plane crash while
on a humanitarian mission--delivering relief supplies to
Nicaraguan earthquake victims in 1972.