So, I finally broke down and started reading eBooks. I dunno how I’ll do with it, since I so much like the feel of the paper page and reading things on a computer always seems to lead me to getting distracted a lot, but, hey, it’ll let me read some books I otherwise wouldn’t have read, such as this one: Cellar Dwellers, by Jonathan Weeks
As the name suggests, this book is about the crummiest teams in baseball history, ranging from the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys to the 2003 Tigers. Each chapters is about a team, and gives some background on how the team became so crummy, some bright spots (for example, a 21-year-old Walter Johnson went 13-25 on the 1909 Senators despite a 2.22 ERA) and particularly bad players, while also spreading in some color about how baseball was at the time.
Overall, it’s a good breezy read, full of little anecdotes (some of which may be apocryphal, given old-time baseball writers love of exaggeration) and horrific statistics that further show how bad some of the teams covered were. There is even a bit at the end that features “dishonorable mentions”.
However, there are some sins of omission, with some of my favorite stories or bad teams not making the cut. For example, Weeks does not include Eddie Kolb of the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, who was a clerk and semi-pro player who was hired from a local tobacco shop to pitch the final game of the season. Seriously, that really happened, and I was kind of disappointed it wasn’t included.
That is a small quibble, however. Overall, while hardly a groundbreaking work by any means, I’d recommend Cellar Dwellers to anybody looking for a quick read about bad teams.
This book was reviewed using an eBook from my local library’s website.