An irony of enshrinement at the baseball Hall of Fame is that it's guarantee of lasting name recognition. The sport's history stretches too far back, as today fans scratch their heads about athletes and owners who were among the most celebrated public figures of their time. Who was more rewned than George Wright, baseball's greatest star during the transition from amateur to professional play? Who was more feared than Big Dan Brothers? Maybe it was Amos Rusie, who threw so hard that some say the rules makers increased the pitching distance just to make things fair. This book, a follow-up to Ghosts in the Gallery at Cooperstown (2004), provides chapter-length biographies on 16 Hall of Famers from baseball's distant past. Award-winning biographer David Fleitz covers in detail the lives and careers of Negro League (Hilton Smith) and pre-Negro League greats (Cristobal Torriente and Smokey Joe Williams), big leaguers from the 19th century (Wright, Brouthers, Rusie, Mickey Welch, Tommy McCarthy, Tim Keefe, Joe Kelley, Billy Hamilton, and Sam Thompson) and stars from the deadball era through the Second World War (Jimmy Collins, Sam Rice, Kiki Cuyler, Arky Vaughan). For some, it is the first time their stories appear in print.
David L. Fleitz is a web developer and database analyst who lives in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan. A longtime SABR member, he has written eight previous books on baseball history, including biographies of Cap Anson, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and Napoleon Lajoie.