Johnny Kling: A Baseball Biography (英語) ペーパーバック – 2006/1/30
Kindle 端末は必要ありません。無料 Kindle アプリのいずれかをダウンロードすると、スマートフォン、タブレットPCで Kindle 本をお読みいただけます。
In the view of contemporary players and sportswriters, Chicago Cub Johnny Kling was one of the greatest catchers of all time. A strong batter, Kling was even better behind the plate, where his strong arm, quick reactions, and even his chatter harried the opposition. He was by all accounts an indispensable part of Cubs teams that won four National League pennants and two World Series titles between 1906 and 1910. Yet today he is remembered by historians as a player at the center of two unresolved questions: Was Johnny Klings absence from baseball in 1909during the prime of his careerthe result of a salary holdout? And was he Jewish? This heavily researched biography ends the debate over those questions while restoring Kling to his place among the greats at his position. It covers in detail his exploits on and off the field (which included a world billiards championship in 1909) and his life after his playing career ended, when he became a philanthropist and gentleman farmer. The foreword is provided by Ernie Banks.
SABR member Gil Bogen is a retired psychiatrist. He is also the author of Tinker, Evers, and Chance: A Triple Biography (2003) and lives in Highland Park, Illinois.
Bogen blasts Chance continually. Chance purposely keeps Kling from catching 100 games in 1908 out of spite for his (perennial) early season holdout. He gives no credit to Pat Moran, the backup, for also being a premier catcher in this era, nor to Chance for wanting to rest Kling a little late in a season the Cubs won the pennant by 20 games. BTW, the Cubs were 6-1 during the period of Bogen's chart with Moran behind the plate, and 5-2 with Kling.
Bogen repeatedly states that Cubs owner Murphy deliberately "ruined" Kling's chance to open a successful pool hall in Cincinnati by refusing to trade him. Kling's business interests seemingly should be more important to the Cubs than winning a pennant, since Bogen repeatedly tells us that the Cubs could hardly win a game with Kling, much less a pennant, but that Murphy "unfairly" kept him in Chicago. Bogen wants it both ways.
This book makes me think Kling shared that all-for-me attitude, making it less a wonder why he was not popular among his own teammates. Yet Bogen claims several times that only bad PR (such as a reporter calling Kling a "truant" after he tended his KC pool hall in 1909 rather than playing for the Cubs- what else should he be called?) and his religion kept Kling out of the HOF. After reading this book, I like Kling less than I did before, and that is probably not fair.
Despite writing two books about the period, Gil Bogen doesn't seem to know the players of the period - he spells Delahanty and McQuillan, with "e"s instead of "a"s, and inserts unwanted "e"s in Mike "Kelley", and "Leache". When an "e" is called for in Mike Mowrey, he omits it. He doesn't seem to realize that "Koney" was just a nickname for Ed Konetchy, rather than his name. He doesn't know the rules, saying that Kling got an "assist" when he tagged out a runner. He gets the date of Kling's dramatic (and only) home run in 1907 wrong, and then misses pointing out why it was so dramatic, a spot where lauding Kling would be expected.
Just a couple very short examples of poor writing. Bogen begins paragraphs with sentences such as these: "It's now time for the World Series." "The season moved forward." "Game One began." Kling is called a "potent factor" to the Cubs' 1907 hopes twice within five lines of text.
Poor writing style, unreliable factual research, a pushy, relentless overstatement of Kling's rightfully considerable merits, and one-sidedness in all stories. Thank goodness for the new bio of Kling's battery mate, Three Finger Brown, which is everything this book should have been.
The most interesting part of the book is the research on his Jewish heritage. Otherwise, I would not recommend it.
The book's aim is to restore Johnny Kling to his place among the baseball greats and to open the door to the HOF to this neglected and forgotten star.
Some of the conclusion this books reaches will shake up the baseball world.
It will refuel the debates about whether Kling was or was not the first great Jewish baseball star.
The undeniable fact is that when Kling played and lived, he was thought to a Jew.
Only after his death did this aspect of the man's life come under question. Surprisingly, Johnny's wife was the one who denied his Jewish background in a series of baffling letters throughout a long period of time.
This new, compelling biography will raise new questions about why Johnny's wife, Lillian, wrote the contradictory and mysterious letters that denied him his Jewish background.
Before this book, only a few, mostly in private letters, have dared to questioned Lillian on those letters, or have tried to explain or reconcile her motivations. Most have taken her letters at face value, even though they were obviously contradictory, and contained questionable statements.
The writer explains those curiosities of so long ago that changed baseball history for Johnny Kling but did nothing to help his wife achieve her goal of getting Johnny in baseball's Hall of Fame.
Along the way, Bogen points out that Kling has gotten a raw deal from baseball historians about the year he supposedly held out.
He tells how the incident has been distorted and falsified since then.
Perhaps most revealingly, he points out that this event caused ill feelings with his fellow teammates and other baseball people. How it caused Frank Chance not to trust Kling and to blame him for their Cubs' failure to win the World Series against the A's.
He also points out that Kling caused bad feelings, again, among baseball people when he allowed blacks to attend Kansas City Blues games in the 1930's. After the Yankees bought the club from Johnny, they reinstated to old discriminatory policy to excluded blacks from the games.
Bogen hints that Kling's open door policy riled up the KKK in Kansas City, and certainly implies that they may have burned down one of Johnny's property, the Dickinson Theater, about two weeks after the policy was in place. Apparently, this incident was not thoroughly investigated at the time.
On a hopeful note, He concludes, "If that ain't great, what is? And if that doesn't entitle him to entry into the Hall of Fame, what will?"
One hopes that this book finally opens the doors to the HOF for this important and great player.