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Hugh Casey

The Triumphs and Tragedies of a Brooklyn Dodger

Lyle Spatz

Hugh Casey was one of the most colorful members of the iconic Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1940s, a team that took part in four great pennant races, the first National League playoff series, and two exciting World Series over the course of Casey’s career. That famed team included many outsized personalities, including executives Larry MacPhail and Branch Rickey, manager Leo Durocher, and players like Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Dixie Walker, Joe Medwick, and Pete Reiser.

In Hugh Casey: The Triumphs and Tragedies of a Brooklyn Dodger, Lyle Spatz details Casey’s life and career, from his birth in Atlanta to his suicide in that same city thirty-seven years later. Spatz includes such moments as Casey’s famous “pitch that got away” in Game Four of the 1941 World Series, the numerous brawls and beanball wars in which Casey was frequently involved, and the Southern-born Casey’s reaction to Jackie Robinson joining the Dodgers. Spatz also reveals how Casey helped to redefine the role of the relief pitcher, twice leading the National League in saves and twice finishing second—if saves had been an official statistic during his lifetime.

While this book focuses on Casey’s baseball career in Brooklyn, Spatz also covers Casey’s often-tragic personal life. He not only ran into trouble with the IRS, he also got into a fistfight with Ernest Hemingway and was charged in a paternity suit that was decided against him. Featuring personal interviews with Casey’s son and with former teammate Carl Erskine, this book will fascinate and inform fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers and baseball historians alike.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 336Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/2
978-1-4422-7759-5 • Hardback • April 2017 • $40.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4422-7760-1 • eBook • April 2017 • $38.00 • (£24.95)
Lyle Spatz is the former longtime chairman of the Society for American Baseball Research’s Baseball Records Committee. He is the author of numerous baseball books, including Historical Dictionary of Baseball (2012) and Willie Keeler: From the Playgrounds of Brooklyn to the Hall of Fame (2015), both published by Rowman & Littlefield. Spatz is also the co-author of 1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York (2010), which won SABR’s Seymour Medal for best baseball history of the year. Spatz’s baseball articles have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Total Baseball, Baseball Digest, and more. In 2000 he was presented with SABR’s highest honor, the Bob Davids Award, and in 2017 he was a recipient of SABR's Henry Chadwick Award, established to honor the game's great researchers.

Chapter 1: The Blood of the Old South
Chapter 2: A Sense That Good Times Were Coming to Brooklyn
Chapter 3: Brooklyn’s Best Pitcher
Chapter 4: A Legitimate Pennant Contender
Chapter 5: Beanballs, Spikings, and Rhubarbs
Chapter 6: Casey Fuels a Feud with the Cubs
Chapter 7: Building a Champion
Chapter 8: Casey the Workhorse
Chapter 9: National League Champions
Chapter 10: A Dramatic World Series Ends a Memorable Season
Chapter 11: The Pitch That Got Away
Chapter 12: A Memorable Night with Ernest Hemingway
Chapter 13: Becoming a Full-Time Relief Pitcher
Chapter 14: You’re in the Navy Now
Chapter 15: Baseball Enters a New Era
Chapter 16: The Return of Peace Brings the Return of Wars with St. Louis and Chicago
Chapter 17: A Restaurant Launched and a Pennant Lost
Chapter 18: A History-Making Addition
Chapter 19: Burt Shotton Replaces Leo Durocher
Chapter 20: The Hugh Casey Theory of Relief Pitching
Chapter 21: Holding Off the Cardinals
Chapter 22: The Mainstay of the 1947 World Series
Chapter 23: A World Series Hero and a Successful Restaurateur
Chapter 24: Falling, Literally and Figuratively
Chapter 25: Casey and the Dodgers Part Ways
Chapter 26: The Pirates and the Yankees
Chapter 27: A Pennant and a Paternity Suit
Chapter 28: A Wonderful Guy Who Never Hurt Anyone—but Himself
Chapter 29: Remembering Hugh Casey

About the Author
Baseball author and historian Lyle Spatz presents a deeper portrait of the pitcher and the man in his latest biography, Hugh Casey: The Triumph and Tragedies of a Brooklyn Dodger.... Spatz’s talent as a researcher shines through in an extensive bibliography.
The Sports Bookie: A sports blog by Bob D’Angelo

With meticulous and absorbing detail, master biographer Lyle Spatz has crafted a memorable portrait of a neglected Brooklyn Dodger hurler. As unfortunate as Casey’s life was off the field, Spatz has done an exemplary job of giving his career as a mound craftsman its overdue credit.
Lee Lowenfish, author of the award-winning biography Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman

For the longest time, Hugh Casey’s career was marginalized to a single World Series pitch. Thanks to the research by Lyle Spatz, fans can replay Casey’s “complete game” and his bittersweet life in baseball.
Mark Langill, team historian, Los Angeles Dodgers