Thorn: Presenting Marty McHale, the lost “Glory of Their Times” interview

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on December 19, 2012:

Let me tell you how this wonderful reminiscence by a seemingly nondescript Red Sox pitcher came to light. When I created The National Pastime (TNP) as an annual publication for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) back in 1982, I was new to the organization, having joined only a few months earlier. I wanted to present a bang-up list of contributors, all SABR members, in order to showcase the society to those on the outside looking in. Here is a partial contributor list from that debut issue:  Bob Broeg; G.H. Fleming; John Holway; Pete Palmer; Mark Rucker; Harold Seymour, Ph.D.; David Voigt; Frank J. Willliams — and Lawrence S. Ritter.

I asked Larry, the last named — and, like most of the contributors,  a personal friend — to contribute one of the several interviews he had conducted for The Glory of Their Times (1966), which had not been transcribed in time for inclusion in that great, great book. (Red Barber and Stephen Jay Gould called it the greatest of all baseball books; I agree.) Larry said that each of the interviews had represented a great deal of work for him beyond mere transcription — that the rambling recall of men in their seventies had to be scrambled and then spliced … and he did not, in 1982, have the time to tackle George Gibson or Specs Toporcer or Hank Greenberg, or Marty McHale, all of which I knew to reside, out of public knowledge, at the Baseball Hall of Fame Library.

All but one of these raw interviews made it into the revised edition of The Glory of Their Times that appeared in 1992. But Larry never included the Marty McHale interview — conducted November 4, 1963, right after his session with Smoky Joe Wood–because he had not been the one who edited it into final shape. Now it can be revealed: I was.

Larry wanted to help SABR by taking part in the launch of TNP and he knew that I was, at that time, an editor by trade. So with plenty of caveats about how tough it would be to rearrange the several tapes into a more or less linear narrative, he invited me to take a whack at the job. Creating the transcription, marking it up, then taking scissors to create congruent parts and laying the sections out on the floor, Marty McHale sprang to life. My appreciation — call it awe — for Larry’s skill in presenting Harry Hooper, Sam Crawford, and more was magnified tenfold. Here is Larry’s interview, the one that remains missing from The Glory of Their Times.


Read the full article here:

Related link: For more archives from The National Pastime, click here

Originally published: December 19, 2012. Last Updated: December 19, 2012.