Pete Reiser: The Rough-and-Tumble Career of the Perfect Ballplayer
In 1941, his first full season, Pete Reiser became the youngest batting champion in history, winning the NL title with a .343 average, and led the league in runs, doubles, triples, total bases, and slugging average. By July of 1942, the popular Brooklyn outfielder was flirting with .400 and was easily baseball’s fastest rising star. But a jarring collision with the outfield wall in St. Louis sent his season into a tailspin. After spending the next three years in the Army, he would come back to lead the league in stolen bases, battling dizziness and headaches throughout the season. Ten more collisions with the outfield wall—each adding a shoulder separation, muscle tear, fracture, contusion, or concussion to his long list of injuries—would make him a frequent visitor to the disabled list and keep Reiser from ever again playing a full season. This biography provides the full story on Reiser, with special emphasis given to the highlights of Reiser’s playing days and the factors that kept him from fulfilling his enormous potential. In addition, the author discusses the broader situation of major league baseball, including Jackie Robinson’s entrance on the National League scene, league-jumping and the subsequent blackballing of players, and the conditions under which big leaguers of the era lived, worked, and played.
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