whiz kids

Do you have a favorite player from your youth who captured your attention simply because he had that one magical year? The season that corresponds with your developing a passion for the game of baseball?  Author Rich Letarte has collected the stories of twenty-one of those types of players from 1950 – 1961 in his book That One Glorious Season: Baseball Players with One Spectactular Year.

The One Glorious Season | Rich Letarte | Baseballisms.comWe are delighted to have Rich appear on the Cover the Bases podcast to share his stories about writing this book.  He tells us about getting to know some of the players and even the wives who helped direct his work.  First though, we get to hear how Rich became a baseball fan as a youth in the early Fifties.

For Rich, there was something special about the 1954 New York Giants, and in particular an attraction to a player by the name of Dusty Rhodes.  This was the World Series Championship year for the Giants, immortalized by the Willie Mays catch, but for a young boy truly forming his baseball roots, the four for six pinch hit performance of Rhodes, driving in the go-ahead or tying run in all three games he appeared was a seed that eventually became this book.

Dusty Rhodes had an entire 1954 campaign that was marked by crucial clutch hits coming off the bench, combined with Johnny Antonelli’s 21 win season, and Rich had the basis for the types of characters he was going to portray in his book.

Many of the players profiled were top of mind for Rich to include, but as he was compiling the book he decided that it would be appropriate to represent every team with at least one player.  He dug around the rosters for representatives from the Tigers, Cardinals, Senators, and Yankees to round out his collection.

Rich also details for us a personal story of his which is represented by a photograph in the front of the book.  As a young boy in 1954 he was fortunate enough to have collected the most money for the Jimmy Fund, and got to present the check to Ted Williams in the Red Sox dugout.  Waiting in the dugout to make the presentation, Rich(ie) spoke to many players, but in particular Jackie Jensen.  Rich gets to recount the story to Jackie Jensen’s widow many years later as he is putting this book together.

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