Thursday, October 25, 2012

World Series of 2012 and Public Bonehead of 1908

You may have seen stories recently in the sports news on the Giants—Tigers 2012 World Series that refer to the famous Merkle game of 1908. The stories point out that the 2012 Series is the first time the Giants and Tigers have met in the fall classic, but back in 1908, they came pretty close to meeting. In 1908, the New York Giants lost the Pennant to the Chicago Cubs in a special tie-breaker game. The sports stories disclose that the tie-breaker would not have been necessary, had Fred Merkle run the bases properly in a key game on September 23rd.

The Merkle game is one of the most publicized events in sports history and it has as much relevance today as it did back in 1908 when it occurred. The “Merkle Game” was not only a remarkable baseball event in a most remarkable baseball year, but to history buffs it serves as a center point from which we can understand flesh-and-blood Progressive Era America. But, even beyond that, the Merkle Game provides a lesson in bullying for those of all ages. Oddly enough it’s often adults who need more education on the issue of bullying than children and we believe the story of Fred Merkle, Public Bonehead, Private Hero: The Real Legacy of Baseball’s Fred Merkle can help do that for many.

In Public Bonehead, Private Hero, we have a wonderful adult sports/history book that examines the circumstances and the life of the most maligned and bullied sports figure of all time, Fred Merkle. Mike Cameron's book is thoroughly entertaining, historical and engaging. Merkle played in the era where newspapers were at their most powerful; America was flexing its muscles, Ford was making a car for everyone; and the Wright brothers were proving the potential of air travel.

In the midst of a hotly contested pennant race, NY Giants’ Fred Merkle walked off the base path after the apparent end of a game. He was following the practice of the day, but was ruled out on a technicality. The Giants cried foul, but the press focused its muckraking venom on Merkle, calling him “bonehead.” Public Bonehead, Private Hero reveals how the press never tired of recounting the “bonehead episode” and seeing Merkle relive the ignominy.

Author Mike Cameron discloses that the real Merkle was a sensitive intelligent man who went on with his life to become a great role model for today. Public Bonehead, Private Hero is an excellent sports book that is crisply written and provides a bit of American history on the side. It’s also a book that reminds readers how painful it can be for the victim and family when they are on the receiving end of ridicule especially when it goes on and on.

Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Mike Cameron's Public Bonehead, Private Hero: The Real Legacy of Baseball's Fred Merkle and other fine sports books. To order.