Spitballs come to life at library program
On Sunday afternoon, April 13, beginning at 1 p.m., step back in time and experience a slice of major league baseball history in T.B. Scott Free Library’s Community Room in Merrill.
You’ll hear about a Wisconsin-born baseball legend from a Wisconsin author, as Joe Niese of Chippewa Falls highlights the life and times of “Burleigh Grimes: Baseball’s Last Legal Spitballer.”
Grimes was born in Emerald in St. Croix County, WI, and died in Clear Lake in Polk County, WI. He pitched for seven major league baseball teams from 1916 to 1934, including the Pirates, Cardinals, and Yankees. While a kind man off the field, Burleigh was known for having an ornery streak on it, once accused of throwing at a batter in the on-deck circle.
In the middle of Grimes’ career, major league baseball outlawed the spitball pitch, but grandfathered seven pitchers still using it, allowing them to throw spitballs for the duration of their careers. Grimes was the last of those seven to retire. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.
Among the reviews for Niese’s book, Dorothy Seymour Mills, author of “Chasing Baseball: Our Obsession with Its History, Numbers, People and Places,” called it “a well-researched biography essential for every fan of the Dead Ball Era.” Donald Honig, author of “The Fifth Season, Tales of My Life in Baseball,” commented that “Through diligent research, with skilled craftsmanship and thoughtful insights into the man and his time, he has illuminated the past and returned Burleigh Grimes from the shadows and back into the light of center stage.”
Meet author Joe Niese, talk baseball with the best and get your book signed. Joe may also hint at progress he’s made on his next writing project—a biography of Andy Pafko, a native of Boyceville, WI who played for the Milwaukee Braves for several years.
Sunday’s program is part of T.B. Scott Library’s Words Worth Hearing series. Refreshments courtesy of First Street Coffee Station and the Checkered Churn will be served.