By Josh Wilker
Cardboard Gods is the memoir of Josh Wilker, a super author who has marked the levels of his lifestyles during the baseball playing cards he accumulated as a toddler. It additionally captures the adventure of growing to be up captivated with baseball playing cards and explores what it skill to be keen on the sport. alongside the best way, as we get to grasp Josh, his relatives, and his neighbors, we additionally get Josh’s vintage observations in regards to the vital artifacts from his lifestyles: the baseball playing cards themselves. Josh writes approximately an imagined correspondence along with his favourite participant, Carl Yastrzemski; he makes use of the paranormal bubble-blowing powers of journeyman Kurt Bevacqua to make clear the weakening of the robust adolescence bond along with his older brother; he considers the doomed utopian back-to-the-land goals of his hippie mom and dad opposed to the backdrop of inimitable Seventies baseball figures akin to Designated Pinch Runner” Herb Washington and Mark The Bird” Fidrych. Cardboard Gods is greater than simply the tale of a guy who can’t allow move of his earlier, it’s facts that to paraphrase Jim Bouton as little ones we develop up protecting baseball playing cards yet after all we become aware of that it’s rather the wrong way round.
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Who was once Ray Schalk?
"`I imagine he was once a ballplayer. From someplace round here,'" stated one softball participant to a customer at Ray Schalk box in Harvel, Illinois, in may perhaps 2007, as chronicled by means of baseball historian Brian E. Cooper in Ray Schalk: A Baseball Biography (August 2009; McFarland & corporation, Inc. , Publishers).
Schalk, a Harvel local, redefined the function of a catcher via more suitable protective abilities in a profession that spanned the useless Ball and energetic Ball eras. His trip at the base paths in significant League Baseball started sooner or later earlier than his twentieth birthday and ended after 18 seasons with documents in video games stuck, putouts and double performs, whereas best the yankee League 8 occasions in fielding percent and 9 instances in putouts. He used to be the 1st to trap 4 no-hit contests and set a checklist for stolen bases in a season by means of a catcher (30) in 1916 that used to be now not damaged until eventually 1982.
In the 1st book-length biography of Schalk, Cooper weaves in the course of the gorgeous profession as a participant, supervisor and trainer, with old antidotes and a wealth of images to give a whole photograph of his existence and instances. Schalk can have simply carried "The ordinary" as a nickname; his first huge holiday happened on the age of 15 in 1908, whilst he used to be a final minute alternative at catcher for a semi-pro membership in Litchfield, Illinois. He had no error and tallied numerous assists, whereas scoring a couple of runs and notching hits in 3 at-bats.
A highschool standout in basketball, Schalk remained a semi-pro baseball megastar who will be signed for round $2 a video game. He entered the professional video game at age 18 on could nine, 1911, with the category D Taylorville Christians within the Illinois-Missouri League. Schalk was once batting . 398 and had swiped thirteen bases through mid-July, however the league used to be in monetary turmoil and Taylorville - to chop expenditures - published Schalk for $1,500 to the Milwaukee Brewers of the yank Association.
His play with the Brewers drew curiosity from MLB groups and on August nine, 1912, he was once dealt to the Chicago White Sox for $10,000 and gamers. Schalk was once within the beginning lineup days later. "Until he entered Cooperstown, Schalk categorized the afternoon of his first major-league online game as his maximum thrill in baseball," Cooper writes.
Schalk then actually grew up in public. Diminutive in stature for a catcher at 5-foot-9 and a hundred sixty five kilos, he used to be frequently wrong for a bat-boy in his early years with the ChiSox. He married Lavinia Graham in October 1916, with a daughter - Pauline - born in 1918 and a son - Ray Jr. - born in 1921.
As global battle One gripped the kingdom, Schalk was once a key participant - batting . 286 - in Chicago's American League pennant and global sequence victory in 1917. vibrant skies have been at the horizon for a potential dynasty within the making, yet a tsunami of deceit wiped issues out in 1919.
"Then there has been the Black Sox scandal. Schalk had a different point of view at the global sequence of 1919, while teammates conspired with gamblers and deliberately misplaced to the Cincinnati Reds," Cooper writes. "Schalk used to be the 1st of the sincere avid gamers - the so-called fresh Sox - to understand anything was once up; in the end, he might inform instantly while his pitchers missed his signs and once they grooved the ball to Reds hitters. "
Any lingering anger and frustration stayed contained in the middle of the sincere megastar. Cooper cites membership proprietor Charles A. Comiskey attempting to hinder the membership from being dismantled, whereas protecting his iconic acceptance within the online game, and what occurred to greenback Weaver - receiving an entire life suspension simply because he didn't file the conferences he attended together with his Black Sox teammates - as significant the reason why Schalk maintained his personal code of silence.
"Even after the cover-up failed and Shoeless Joe Jackson and 7 others bought lifetime suspensions, Schalk maintained his silence," Cooper writes. "That to his demise day (Schalk) refused to inform what he knew in regards to the scandal not just pissed off fanatics and researchers, it diluted his prominence in baseball background. "
By 1924, lingering accidents made Schalk a battered veteran at age 32. A 1927 picture of his gnarled correct hand really tells the tale of a participant who dons the armor of a catcher. A player-manager for Chicago in 1927 and 1928, he was once a trainer and participant (five video games) in 1929 for the hot York Giants. Schalk basically seemed in 23 video games from 1927-1929 and retired with 1,727 commonplace season shielding appearances out of 1,762 video games played.
He stayed within the online game as a trainer for the Chicago Cubs and supervisor for the Buffalo Bisons of the overseas League, Indianapolis Indians of the yankee organization and - going full-circle at the diamond - for the Brewers for the final half the 1940 season prior to calling it a profession on the age of forty eight. In 1955, Schalk won enshrinement within the nationwide Baseball corridor of reputation & Museum via a vote by means of the Veteran's Committee. His . 253 occupation batting regular is the bottom for an inductee who used to be a place player.
Schalk's future health was once declining precipitously via 1969 and the relatives suffered a sad loss while Ray Jr. devoted suicide in February 1970. On may perhaps 19 of that 12 months, Schalk, seventy seven, died of problems attributable to melanoma of the esophagus.
"He used to be often the shortest guy at the box, yet Schalk was once the yardstick opposed to whom different catchers have been measured," Cooper writes.
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Extra resources for Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale Told Through Baseball Cards
24 Reputedly the crowd then responded with cries of “No rounders! ” 25 Later in 1889 the book Athletic Sports appeared, with a focus on baseball and, in particular, Spalding’s world tour. The book’s ﬁrst chapter was devoted to baseball’s beginnings, with writer W. I. Harris presenting a slightly more balanced approach to the controversy than either Ward or Mills. He wrote: “The origin of baseball is in dispute, and the question will probably never be positively settled. Several writers contend that it came from the old English game of ‘rounders,’ and there is some evidence to that effect.
The new research climate has yielded a number of important revelations. 58 This predated by more than twenty years the previously known record of such activity. 59 My own contribution was uncovering a set of detailed rules for a game called “English base-ball” that was published in a German book in the year 1796. This is the oldest known description of the game, and predates by more than thirty years the earliest known appearance of baseball rules in English. As these discoveries materialize one by one, they reveal that early baseball history remains a vast unﬁnished canvas.
8 One exception to this consensus appeared in the August 26, 1869, issue of The Nation. In an article extolling the National Pastime and comparing it to cricket, the author, A. H. 9 Instead of challenging Chadwick’s rounders theory, however, Sedgwick objected to the notion that baseball derived from cricket. ’ . . ” 10 Although Sedgwick’s viewpoint went largely unnoticed at the time, it is of some historical importance in that uncertaint y as to t he paternit y : : : 3 he was the ﬁrst observer to suggest that baseball derived from the American “old-cat” games.