Book update No. 3 — conquering the 1870s
I need your help, but first let me give you a general update…
I’ve pretty much finished writing Part One. Eventually I’ll have to go back and add a few (hopefully) small sections, but for now, I’ve completed six chapters, and my total word count
is a little over 21,000. Part One, as I’ve mentioned before, will probably be called “Baseballs in the News.”
Part Two is going to focus on historical and factual stuff. I’ve recently been digging through some OLD newspaper articles — here’s where I need your help — and I found an advertisement from 1870 for a “red dead ball.” I might end up quoting part of this ad in the book, but there’s one word that I can’t decipher. Can anyone figure out what it says? I’ve put red asterisks at the beginning and end of the line, and I’ve underlined the mysterious word. Here it is:
As far as I can tell, the whole line reads as follows: “One of the merits of the RED DEAD BALL is the ???? which is a great benefit to players on a sunny day.”
Am I right about that? What’s the mystery word?
By the way, do you remember all the juiced ball theories in 1998 when McGwire and Sosa were going nuts? Or in 1987 when there was an inexplicable surge in the number of home runs? Well, guess what. The juiced ball debate goes back a long, long way. I’m talking back into the 1870s. Maybe even earlier. I still have a lot of research to do, and you wouldn’t believe the stuff I’ve already found. Some of it is hilarious, like the language that writers used back in the old days. For example, they sometimes referred to pitchers as “slabsmen” and “moundsmen.” Ninety years ago a pitchers’ duel was described as “brilliant moundsmanship.” Gotta love it.
Here are my previous book updates in case you missed them:
One final note…
I’ve been compiling a list of people who want to be notified when the book comes out, so if you’re interested, let me know.