The Chalmers Race

The Chalmers Race

Ty Cobb, Napoleon Lajoie, and the Controversial 1910 Batting Title That Became a National Obsession

Rick Huhn
Foreword by Charles C. Alexander

328 pages
25 photographs

Hardcover

April 2014

978-0-8032-7182-1

$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In 1910 auto magnate Hugh Chalmers offered an automobile to the baseball player with the highest batting average that season. What followed was a batting race unlike any before or since, between the greatest but most despised hitter, Detroit’s Ty Cobb, and the American League’s first superstar, Cleveland’s popular Napoleon Lajoie. The Chalmers Race captures the excitement of this strange contest—one that has yet to be resolved.
 
The race came down to the last game of the season, igniting more interest among fans than the World Series and becoming a national obsession. Rick Huhn re-creates the drama that ensued when Cobb, thinking the prize safely his, skipped the last two games, and Lajoie suspiciously had eight hits in a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns. Although initial counts favored Lajoie, American League president Ban Johnson, the sport’s last word, announced Cobb the winner, and amid the controversy both players received cars. The Chalmers Race details a story of dubious scorekeeping and statistical systems, of performances and personalities in conflict, of accurate results coming in seventy years too late, and of a contest settled not by play on the field but by human foibles.
 
 

Author Bio

Rick Huhn is the author of The Sizzler: George Sisler, Baseball’s Forgotten Great and Eddie Collins: A Baseball Biography. Charles C. Alexander is the author of several baseball books, including Ty Cobb.

Praise

"Rick Huhn offers a complete presentation of the details of this episode in baseball history."—Amy Essington, Journal of Sport History

"This book goes beyond baseball, also giving readers an understanding of America itself after the turn of the century. An excellent choice."—Library Journal starred review

"The very best history includes a compelling story replete with seminal characters, provides thorough research (including extensive footnotes and bibliography) and combines a masterful understanding of the era with a vivid style. When a century-old subject continues to inspire debate and controversy, there's no doubt that the reading public anxiously awaits the definitive treatment from just the right author. Rick Huhn is that author, and The Chalmers Race is that subject."—Spitball

"A well-researched, entertaining read."—Bob D'Angelo, Tampa Tribune

“It took more than a century, but we’ve finally got the book we deserve about baseball’s most infamous batting race. Thanks to Rick Huhn, it was worth the wait.”—Rob Neyer, national baseball editor of the website Baseball Nation.com

“This is the kind of baseball history we need more of—a book grounded in a great story, shaped by intelligent assessments of the evidence, committed to accuracy and truth-telling, and presented in vigorous prose.”—Reed Browning, author of Cy Young: A Baseball Life

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Prologue
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Epilogue
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Awards

2014 CASEY Award from Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine, tied for second
SLA Baseball Caucus Readers’ Choice Award finalist

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