Cover image for Ninety feet from fame : close calls with baseball immortality
Ninety feet from fame : close calls with baseball immortality
Robbins, Mike, 1971-
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf ; [Place of publication not identified] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiii, 315 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV863.A1 R575 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Journalist and baseball historian Mike Robbins tells the gripping stories of dozens of players who came this close to baseball immortality. Their stories are dramatic, sometimes moving, even blackly funny--and they're virtually unknown, even to die-hard fans. Robbins offers gripping accounts of the games, series, seasons, and careers that fell excruciatingly short--from forgotten near-heroes of the postseason such as Hal Smith and Chuck Hiller to players such as Harlond Clift (a great player trapped on a terrible club) and Jose Cruz Senior (a power hitter in a stadium that favored pitchers) who missed out because they spent their careers with the wrong team, in the wrong park, or in the wrong era. Robbins also tells the stories of players who missed their chance to join the all-time greats because of injury, illness, or other interruptions--the likes of Smokey Joe Wood (injured thumb) and Eiji Sawamura (killed in World War II). Baseball fans will come away with exhilarating and sometimes heartbreaking stories, as well as a list of names, a treasury of surprising numbers--and a deeper sense of the men who have played the game.

Author Notes

Mike Robbins is a journalist and a member of the Society of Baseball Historians. He lives in Maine

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Note on Statisticsp. viii
Introductionp. xiii
Part I The Postseason
1 October's Near-Heroesp. 3
2 A Trip of Near-Goatsp. 32
3 Opportunity Lostp. 44
Part II Wrong Time, Wrong Place
4 Major Stars of the Minor Leaguesp. 61
5 Forgotten Leagues, Forgotten Playersp. 72
6 Stuck in the Shadowsp. 82
7 Welcome to the Browns. Your Identity is Safe with USp. 101
8 Assorted Examples of Bad Baseball Timingp. 121
9 Trailblazing Forgotten Trailsp. 134
Part III Injuries, Illnesses, and Other Interruptions
10 Injuryp. 143
11 Illnessp. 162
12 Deathp. 169
13 Casualties of Warp. 179
14 Just Walk Awayp. 190
Part IV Missed Milestones
15 Losing the Numbers Gamep. 201
16 Honor Doth Forget Men's Namesp. 225
17 Slapped in the Face While Flirting with Perfectionp. 235
18 No No-Hitter Means No-Name Pitcherp. 247
Part V What's in a Name?
19 Forgettable Names to Rememberp. 267
20 That Name's Takenp. 277
21 Innovatorsp. 285
22 The Sporting Musep. 295
Indexp. 305
About the Authorp. 317