They Played the Game


They Played the Game

Memories from 47 Major Leaguers

Norman L. Macht

320 pages


April 2019


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

April 2019


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

April 2019


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Noted baseball historian Norman L. Macht brings together a wide‑ranging collection of baseball voices from the Deadball Era through the 1970s, including nine Hall of Famers, who take the reader onto the field, into the dugouts and clubhouses, and inside the minds of both players and managers. These engaging, wide-ranging oral histories bring surprising revelations—both highlights and lowlights—about their careers, as they revisit their personal mental scrapbooks of the days when they played the game.

Not all of baseball’s best stories are told by its biggest stars, especially when the stories are about those stars. Many of the storytellers you’ll meet in They Played the Game are unknown to today’s fans: the Red Sox’s Charlie Wagner talks about what it was like to be Ted Williams’s roommate in Williams’s rookie year; the Dodgers’ John Roseboro recounts his strategy when catching for Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax; former Yankee Mark Koenig recalls batting ahead of Babe Ruth in the lineup, and sometimes staying out too late with him; John Francis Daley talks about batting against Walter Johnson; Carmen Hill describes pitching against Babe Ruth in the 1927 World Series.

Author Bio

Norman L. Macht is the author of more than thirty books, including Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball (Nebraska, 2007); Connie Mack: The Turbulent and Triumphant Years, 1915–1931 (Nebraska, 2012); and The Grand Old Man of Baseball: Connie Mack in His Final Years, 1932–1956 (Nebraska, 2015); as well as numerous biographies for middle school readers including  Cy Young, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig. For more information about the author visit


"[An] excellent oral history for fans with a taste for the game's past."—Wes Lukowsky, Booklist

"Wow, 47 pros whose memories cover playing days from 1912 to 1981. Wonderful mix of legends, good players, and those who had 'a cup of coffee.'"—John Vorperian, SABR Lajoie Chapter newsletter

"No matter how long his career lasted or how he compiled his statistics, a baseball player is always eager to share his experiences. Author Norman Macht has collected anecdotes from 47 former players who played from the Deadball Era of the early 20th century up to the 1970’s in this fast-paced book."—Lance Smith, Guy Who Reviews Sports Books

"Noted baseball historian Norman L. Macht brings together a wide‑ranging collection of baseball voices from the Deadball Era in the 1910s through the 1970s, including nine Hall of Famers, in the new book They Played The Game. They take the reader onto the field, into the dugouts and clubhouses, and inside the minds of both players and managers. These engaging, wide-ranging oral histories bring surprising revelations, both highlights and lowlights, about their careers, as they revisit their personal mental scrapbooks of the days when they played the game."—Jason Schott, Brooklyn Digest

"A fine collection of player memories. . . . Macht allows 47 players to take a wistful, candid and, in some cases, critical look at their baseball past. . . . Macht’s mixture of player interviews works well."—Bob D'Angelo, Sports Bookie

"Interview books like this are like peanuts. Once you start reading, you can't stop. . . . Macht's collection is one that baseball fans won't want to miss."—John Rossi, Inside Game

From the interviews:
“They talk about those Yankee teams with all those hitters and pitchers. But we were the biggest bunch of red asses; we got on each other. . . . Only Joe DiMaggio didn’t have to say anything. He just had to look at you.”—Gene Woodling
“Drysdale and Koufax, who are throwing 90-plus on the black part of the plate and using the fastball to move batters back off the plate when we get ahead in the count—I defy somebody to get a hit. It’s just not possible.”—Johnny Roseboro
“Do I think we should have won some pennants during Leo’s [Durocher] years in Chicago? Absolutely. We had the best talent in baseball and we didn’t win. I don’t know why. If we had won in ’69, we probably would have won the next two or three years. But there was a stigma attached to not winning that year.”—Don Kessinger
“Casey Stengel would never give you a direct answer to a question. If an interviewer asked him one question, he’d get four answers. And if you had four questions to ask, you’d never get past the first one.”—George “Highpockets” Kelly
“Most of the guys who succeed in sports and businesses and life’s accomplishments get a little dig in the ass going and God damn it pushing all the time. They want to be the best, they want to do things, they want to be remembered,  they want to be on top of the heap. No question about it. And Lefty Grove was one of them son of a bitches.”—Ted Williams
“Honesty has gotten more managers fired than incompetence.”—Pat Corrales

Table of Contents

The Lineup
1. Joe Adcock, 1950–1966    
2. Richie Ashburn, 1948–1962    
3. Elden Auker, 1933–1942    
4. Dick Bartell, 1927–1946    
5. Ray Berres, 1934–1945    
6. Bill Bruton, 1953–1964    
7. Ralph “Putsy” Caballero, 1944–1952    
8. Jimmy Cooney, 1917–1928    
9. Johnny Cooney, 1921–1928    
10. Tony Cuccinello, 1930–1945    
11. John Francis Daley, 1912    
12. Joe DeMaestri, 1951–1961    
13. Woody English, 1927–1938    
14. Ferris Fain, 1947–1955    
15. William “Dutch” Fehring, 1934    
16. Dave “Boo” Ferriss, 1945–1948    
17. Harry Gumbert, 1935–1950    
18. Harvey Haddix, 1952–1965    
19. Carmen Hill, 1915–1930    
20. Sid Hudson, 1940–1954    
21. Travis Jackson, 1922–1936    
22. George “High Pockets” Kelly, 1920–1930    
23. Don Kessinger, 1964–1979    
24. Mark Koenig, 1925–1936    
25. Ted Lyons, 1923–1946    
26. Mike Marshall, 1967–1981    
27. Barney McCosky, 1939–1963    
28. Gil McDougald, 1951–1960    
29. Sam Mele, 1947–1956    
30. Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell, 1952–1962    
31. Rocky Nelson, 1949–1961    
32. Hal Newhouser, 1940–1954    
33. Bill Nicholson, 1936–1953    
34. Mickey Owen, 1937–1954    
35. Mel Parnell, 1947–1956    
36. Claude Passeau, 1936–1947    
37. George Pipgras, 1923–1934    
38. Johnny Roseboro, 1957–1973    
39. Hal W. Smith, 1955–1964    
40. Billy Sullivan Jr., 1931–1947     
41. Bobby Thomson, 1946–1960    
42. Bob Turley, 1953–1963    
43. Broadway Charlie Wagner, 1938–1946    
44. Monte Weaver, 1931–1939    
45. Ted Williams, 1939–1960    
46. Gene Woodling, 1943–1962    
47. Don Zimmer, 1954–1965    

Also of Interest