A Conlon Photography Book to be Savored

From SABR member Gabriel Schechter at Never Too Much Baseball on September 22, 2011:

There seems to be no debate in baseball history circles about the identity of the game’s greatest photographer: Charles Conlon.

In the early 1990s, the American public became re-acquainted with Conlon in two ways:  The Sporting News issued over 1,000 baseball cards in several sets; and in 1993, Baseball’s Golden Age was published by Abrams. It featured over 200 Conlon photos in a large format, with captions by Neil McCabe. The book was terrific, full of Conlon’s haunting portraits and images of bygone stars. Conlon photographed 128 (future) Hall of Famers during his career, and 63 were featured in Baseball’s Golden Age.

Now, a mere 18 years later, Abrams has published a second volume of Conlon photos, titled The Big Show. Again, it has just over 200 photos, with captions by Neil McCabe and a foreword by Roger Kahn. To celebrate the occasion, Abrams (www.abramsbooks.com) has also reissued Baseball’s Golden Age with a new foreword by Roger Angell. If you want to have a shelf of the best baseball books, these two Conlon collections have to be on it.

McCabe says the new volume is better than the original, and I agree. Even better. For one thing, the selection is more democratic. This time around, only 41 Hall of Famers are included, leaving more room for lesser players and intriguing story-lines. For instance, where the first volume had ten Babe Ruth photos, the new volume has only two, but has a section including a number of men who figured prominently in Ruth’s career–Jack Warhop, who gave up Ruth’s first home run; Guy Bush, who gave up his last; Duffy Lewis, who witnessed both; Sammy Byrd, who was nicknamed “Ruth’s legs” because he replaced him so often late in games; and Ford Frick, Ruth’s ghostwriter who later went out of his way to protect Ruth from the 1961 home run challenge by Roger Maris. 

Read the full article here: http://charlesapril.com/2011/09/book-to-be-savored.html

Originally published: September 22, 2011. Last Updated: September 22, 2011.