Today’s Guest: Edward Achorn, author, Fifty-nine in ’84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had
I love baseball. I grew up a New York Mets fan and stayed with them until St. Petersburg landed the Rays a dozen years ago.
When I was a kid, I read dozens of baseball histories, from biographies of individual players such as Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth to overall histories of the game. I was never a great baseball player in the sandlots, but I loved it nonetheless.
EDWARD ACHORN podcast excerpt: “He did something incredible in 1884, which was win 59 games in a single season. That was more than anyone did before or after him. Last year, the top pitcher won 19 games. Quite a difference. He struck out 441 batters, which is still the National League record.”
You can LISTEN to this interview with EDWARD ACHORN, author of FIFTY-NINE IN ’84, by clicking the audio player above!
I even wrote a book, Stadium For Rent, about the Tampa Bay area’s 20-year effort to land the team that eventually became the Rays, so I know a little about researching the past.
But I would never have imagined myself writing the biography of a once outstanding 19th century pitcher now obscured by the accomplishments of thousands of ballplayers who followed him.
That, and the fact they just didn’t write down sports and biographical details 125 years ago the way we do now.
But that didn’t stop Providence Journal deputy editorial pages editor Edward Achorn. A baseball fan and historian, he heard about the amazing accomplishments of one Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn and became obsessed with rooting out more details and sharing his story with a modern audience. His new book, Fifty-nine in ‘84, captures a bygone era in ways that few baseball fans could have imagined.