04 June 2012

Lowell L Blaisdell, Carl Hubbell: A biography of the Screwball King. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011.

This is an overdue biography of the National League’s best left-handed pitcher of the 1930s—only his American League contemporary Lefty Grove matched his 200 wins in ten years, and Hubbell was elected to the Hall of Fame for his 253 wins over a fifteen year career. Unfortunately, it is also an arm-chair history, based entirely on previously published material. The author did make an effort to contact Hubbell’s descendants, he was unable to speak with anyone from the family, and apparently did not try contacting others who may have known Hubbell personally. While the extensive references Blaisdell provides are appreciated, this leaves him with a one-dimensional portrait of the pitcher; combined with the academic tone of a former history professor, the result is less than easily readable. The book does, however, reminder the aspiring author that passive voice is to be avoided.

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