Cieradkowski: John Lyston and the 1921 Baltimore Orioles

From SABR member Gary Cieradkowski at Studio Gary C on May 18, 2020:

Many baseball historians call the 1919-1925 Baltimore Orioles the best minor league dynasty team of all time. Seven straight pennants, every one of those seasons with 100 or more wins. Minor League Baseball even listed 6 out of the seven pennant-winning teams in their “Top 100 Minor League Teams of All-Time list. Problem is, except for brief mentions in Lefty Grove biographies or hard to find books by James H. Bready, no one has really written about them.

It’s a part of baseball history that has been sorely overlooked, and that’s why I became very excited when about 10 years ago my old pal Dr. Bob Hieronymus called and told me he was having an author on his syndicated radio show who’d written a book about his grandfather, John (Jack) Lyston, a member of the 1921 Baltimore Orioles. In fact, Dr. Bob said, the book wasn’t just about his grandfather, but about a succession of generations of the Lyston’s playing pro and semi ball in Baltimore. When the book arrived it exceeded all expectations – this was one of the best books on minor league baseball’s glory years that I’d ever read. The author, Jimmy Keenan, traces his relatives as they navigated through the bush leagues from the 19th century to the 1930’s. As an outsider baseball historian, a book like this means so much more to me – for every Mickey Mantle and Hank Greenberg, there were thousands of Jimmy Lyston’s whose story will never be told. Fortunately for us, Jimmy Keenan was a talented enough writer, loving grandson and baseball historian, to pay the ultimate homage to his family’s personal connection to the national pastime. So here’s my short overview of John Lyston, utility man on the 1921 Orioles.

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Originally published: May 26, 2020. Last Updated: May 26, 2020.