Baseball Was Never like This South of the Border Good Yarn Compromised by Loose Mix of Fact and Fiction

By Larry Eldridge. Larry Eldridge is former sports editor of the Monitor and is current senior News Media Services. | The Christian Science Monitor, March 15, 1996 | Go to article overview

Baseball Was Never like This South of the Border Good Yarn Compromised by Loose Mix of Fact and Fiction


Larry Eldridge. Larry Eldridge is former sports editor of the Monitor and is current senior News Media Services., The Christian Science Monitor


The VeraCruz Blues

By Mark Winegardner

Viking, 251 pp., $22.95

The 1946 Mexican League raid on the US major leagues is a fascinating story - not just in baseball terms, but across the entire spectrum of human emotions, drama, and history.

The postwar boom augured momentous changes in the social, cultural, and economic fabric of the country. And the national pastime mirrored these changes, particularly with its early rumblings of integration and labor unrest.

Into this mix came Jorge Pasquel, the flamboyant, almost mythological baseball aficionado who used his immense wealth to lure American major leaguers to play south of the border.

They came in droves: most notably Vern Stephens, the reigning American League home- run champion; Max Lanier, ace left-hander of the perennial National League champion Cardinals; Mickey Owen, All-Star catcher of the Dodgers; and Sal Maglie, who would go on to pitching stardom in the 1950s.

Already on the Mexican scene, meanwhile, were many outstanding blacks still shut out of the US majors by Jim Crow policies.

All these things really happened! What better time to relive the memories than in this 50th anniversary of that "Season of Gold?"

But why make it a novel? The nonfiction genre is perfect for evoking a sense of such times (see David Halberstam's "The Summer of '49," published by Avon; or Dom Dimaggio's "Real Grass, Real Heroes," published by Zebra).

Yet despite an even more bizarre cast of characters and a true story better than anything he could make up, in "The Veracruz Blues," Mark Winegardner chooses the route of docu-fiction, creating a mixture of real and invented characters, including Babe Ruth, Ernest Hemingway, and fictional sportswriter Frank Bullinger, Jr.

It is Bullinger who narrates the story via a series of imaginary interviews. But how much of what these people say and do is real, and how much is total fiction? The reader never knows. Ultimately, this can leave a bad taste in the reader's mouth.

The book does provide good insights into the hopes and dreams of black players in those days when integration was just around the corner. And there's the recurring saga of Danny Gardella, the popular, diminutive New York Giants' slugger who was one of the first to jump to Mexico and as a result incurred the ban imposed on those who did so, then sued baseball over its monopolistic policies, launching the legal struggle that led to today's powerful players' union and free-agent system. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Baseball Was Never like This South of the Border Good Yarn Compromised by Loose Mix of Fact and Fiction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.