When I tell you I met a Cleveland Indian pitcher whose rookie season was 1911 it either sounds like I am very old or I am a time traveler. Neither is the case, at least the VERY old part. My dad knew Vean Gregg who had a diner in my home town. I met Vean when I was a kid back in the 1950’s. I also had an uncle who grew up with Grover Cleveland Alexander. So between meeting Vean Gregg, whom Ty Cobb said was the toughest pitcher he faced, and hearing about Alexander from my uncle, I caught baseball fever at a young age.
The fever for 1911 reignited with me when I was replaying the Strat-0-matic computer version of the 1911 baseball season and I came across a player I had forgotten, Charlie Faust. He peaked my curiosity as he does for most fans of historical baseball. Charlie walked onto the field in St. Louis one hot summer day and told Giants manager John McGraw a fortune teller had told him he was going to pitch the Giants to the pennant. Jumping ahead in the story within weeks of showing up in New York, much to McGraw’s surprise Charlie was a star on vaudeville and wearing a New York Giant uniform, sitting in the Giants dugout.
Though many players of the era wrote about him, Charlie remains a mystery. The question historians have tried to answer is was whether he a country rube, or mentally challenged, or perhaps slightly mad. His story fascinated me and I found a book by Gabriel Schechter who did the best research on Faust anyone has done.
After reading his book and biographies of players from that era I decided to tell his story in fiction, using many incidents from my research. I used a fictional rookie to narrate the story of that summer in 1911 when Charlie Faust took New York by storm.
So if you have baseball fiction, would enjoy a time traveling journey to 1911 to meet Charlie, Bat Masterson, Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Damon Runyon, and George M. Cohen, then I am providing a link to my e-book, Loonies in the Dugout available on Amazon. I hope you enjoy it.
Read an excerpt on my website. http://terrynelson.net/looniesinthedugout.html