The Black Prince of Baseball

The Black Prince of Baseball

Hal Chase and the Mythology of the Game

Donald Dewey and Nicholas Acocella

456 pages
2 photographs

Paperback

May 2016

978-0-8032-9939-9

$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

As America lurched into the twentieth century, its national pastime was afflicted with the same moral malaise that was enveloping the rest of the nation. Players regularly bet on games, games were routinely fixed, and league politics were as dirty as the base paths. Against this backdrop, Hal Chase emerged as one of the game’s greatest players and also as one of its most scandalous characters.

With charisma and bravado that earned him the nickname The Prince, Chase charmed his way across America, spinning lies in the afternoon, dealing high-stakes poker at night, and gambling with beautiful women until dawn. Most notoriously of all, he undermined his stature as the era’s greatest first baseman by conniving with gamblers to fix games and draw teammates into his diamond conspiracies.

But as Donald Dewey and Nicholas Acocella reveal in their groundbreaking biography, The Black Prince of Baseball, Chase was also a scapegoat for baseball notables with hands even dirtier than his. These included league officials who ignored facts in an attempt to pin the 1919 Black Sox scandal on him and—a previously unknown twist—the fabled John McGraw, who perjured himself on a witness stand against the first baseman. Although Chase, contrary to popular belief, was never banned from the major leagues, meticulous research by the authors implicates him in other shady enterprises as well, not least an attempt to blackmail revivalist Aimee Semple McPherson.

As The Black Prince of Baseball makes clear, in his protean talents and larcenies, Hal Chase personified all the excesses of Ragtime. 
          

Author Bio

Donald Dewey has published more than thirty books of fiction, nonfiction, and drama, including the history of baseball fans The Tenth Man and the novels The Fantasy League Murders and The Bolivian SailorNicholas Acocella is the author or coauthor of several books on baseball, including (with Donald Dewey) The New Biographical History of Baseball: The Classic and Total Ballclubs.

Praise

“A remarkable look at a bygone scandal.”—Kristin Kloberdanz, Chicago Tribune

“Dewey and Acocella have compiled an exhaustive study. . . . Their method produces moments of great insight, humor, complexity, and tragedy.”—Daniel Gabriel, Elysian Fields Quarterly

"With incredible research and detail Dewey and Acocella recount the story of one of the most controversial characters in all of baseball history."—Andrew Elias, Ft. Meyers Magazine

"Fans of this era will love this book."—Gregg's Baseball Bookcase

"A very satisfying book."—Lance Smith, Guy Who Reviews Sports Books

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Cats and Cradles
Playing the Fields
Games for Sale
Yankee Dandy
Consolation Prizes
Broadway Lights
Aftershocks
Inlaws and Outlaws
Managing Crisis
Second Thoughts
Poxes on the House
Peaceful Coexistence
Captain Outrageous
Chase in Charge
Breakdowns
Affairs to Remember
Relocations
The Second City
A Federal Case
Non-Support
The Red Prince
War Clouds
Laying Down
Fibbers and Magee
Burning Bridges
Giant Acquittals
The Wild Bunch
Dirty Laundry
Out at Home
Still Crazy After All These Years
Blame Games
On the Borderline
Arizona Traveler
When Hustlers Meet
The Nuclear Family and Other Meltdowns
Last Licks
The Extra Innings
Epilogue
Bibliography
Index

Also of Interest