Early Exits: The Premature Endings of Baseball Careers
Most baseball players try to prolong their careers for as long as possible. They will compete on the field until their bodies give out or until they are no longer effective. Since the early days of the sport, however, many players have had to abruptly abandon the game they love for myriad reasons. While some leave by their own accord, others are not so fortunate. Although many were forced out of the game because of injury, other careers were derailed by dependency, scandal, suicide, or war. Some left to take another job or play another sport, and a few participated in criminal activities, even murder. In Early Exits: The Premature Endings of Baseball Careers, author Brian McKenna recounts the individual histories of those men and women who, for one reason or another, forfeited their participation in America's pastime. Hundreds of players are profiled here: from Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was banned from baseball following the 1920 Black Sox scandal to Brooklyn Dodger Roy Campanella, who suffered a paralyzing car accident in 1958, to Minnesota Twins star Kirby Puckett, who left the game because of damage to his right eye. Covering the entire history of professional baseball from the mid-19th century to the present day, Early Exits not only examines the major leagues but also highlights the minor leagues, women's baseball, the Negro leagues, and international figures, including those from Japan and Latin America. The work is divided by the various career-ending categories, such as injury and illness, gambling and game-fixing scandals, criminal activity, suicide, war, injuries at the ballpark, sports and professional opportunities, and death. Each story contains an overview of the baseball figure along with the career-ending details, and many entries contain background information describing the historical significance of the individual and his or her place within the baseball community. From casual fans to the die-hard devotees, this fascinating collection will be irresistible for any baseball
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