As with all things, some baseball players were talented, inspiring individuals while others were not-so-nice. As documented in Jonathan Week's BASEBALL'S MOST NOTORIOUS PERSONALITIES, baseball had its share of hotheads, bullies, cheats, liars, druggies, pyschos and assorted ne'er-do-wells. Weeks provides the straight skinny on the dark side of the (baseball) force in this eye-opening 2013 Scarecrow Press release.
Talk of baseball's 'bad apples' inevitably brings up Ty Cobb, Pete Rose, Marty Bergen, Heinie Zimmerman, Carl Mays and the 1919 White Sox team. Yet Weeks details the life and times and crimes of 60-odd players, managers, owners and even fans that left a black mark on America's favorite pastime such as Leo Koenecke, Roberto Alomar, Juan Marichal, Dizzy Dean, Jose Canseco, Jim Bouton, Kevin Mitchell, John Rocker, Bill Buckner, Leo Durocher, Eddie Stanky, Marge Schott and Billy Martin. Their misdeeds and/or mistakes are grouped in chapters entitled 'Liars, Cheats and Tattletales,' 'Toxic Teammates,' 'Scapegoats,' 'Meddlesome Managers,' 'Fanatical Fans,' etc.
What's so fascinating about those men is that, while many were top-notch players, they had personality flaws that ultimately led to disgrace and even death.
BASEBALL'S MOST NOTORIOUS PERSONALITIES makes for compelling reading. I very much enjoyed the book though I wish Weeks had included photographs of all the people covered. In any case, baseball fans should greatly enjoy this look at baseball's dark side. Highly recommended.