Elfers: The Tour to End All Tours, a 10-year retrospective

From SABR member James Elfers at South Side Sox on March 17, 2014:

I want to thank Jim Margalus for his series on the 100th anniversary of the White Sox-Giants world tour. It was a pleasure helping him out and a real kick to see my book quoted so extensively. “The Tour to End All Tours” celebrated its own anniversary of sorts, and so I thought that I would take a moment and give a 10-year retrospective of things I learned since my book was published and how it has touched others.

First and foremost in my list of pleasant results is the reaction of the Thorpe family. Thorpe’s children had Iva’s diary, but no context in which to put it.  Jim and Iva had a very bitter divorce. Iva remained so angry to the day she died that she would only refer to Jim as “That man!” She cut his picture out of virtually every family photo, yet she saved and treasured the diary.

Thorpe’s children and grandchildren loved my book because it gave them a picture they had never seen before: Iva and Jim in love. They also enjoyed reading about the adventures of their parents on their honeymoon. Who wouldn’t want to have a report of their parents first days of love? Giving a loving Jim and Iva back to Jim’s children and grandchildren made all the struggles of writing my book more than worth it.

I was also able to make Joe Benz Jr’s final days quite wonderful. Joe’s father, like many players of his generation,  never talked about his big league career. Joe knew that his father was an important player — the elder Benz was on the mound when the White Sox won the Series in 1917, the last untainted Pale Hose championship until 2005. Nedra O’Neil, Joe’s primary caretaker, reached out to me to see if I could fill in some of the gaps in Joe’s knowledge and bring him back in touch with his father in his final days. I was more than happy to oblige.

Read the full article here: http://www.southsidesox.com/2014/3/17/5520866/the-tour-to-end-all-tours-a-10-year-retrospective

Originally published: March 19, 2014. Last Updated: March 19, 2014.