Urban Shocker: Silent Hero of Baseball’s Golden Age

URBAN SHOCKER                                          STEVE STEINBERG

Baseball in the 1920s is most known for Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees, but there was another great Yankee player in that era whose compelling story remains untold. Urban Shocker was a fiercely competitive and colorful pitcher, a spitballer who had many famous battles with Babe Ruth before returning to the Yankees. Shocker was traded away to the St. Louis Browns in 1918 by Yankees manager Miller Huggins, a trade Huggins always regretted. In 1925, after four straight seasons with at least twenty wins with the hapless Browns, Shocker became the only player Huggins brought back to the Yankees. He finally reached the World Series, with the 1926 Yankees.

In the Yankees’ storied 1927 season, widely viewed to be the best in MLB history, Shocker pitched with guts and guile, finishing with a record of 18‑6 even while his fastball and physical skills were deserting him. Hardly anyone knew that Shocker was suffering from an incurable heart disease that left him able to sleep only while sitting up and which would take his life in less than a year. With his physical skills diminishing, he continued to win games through craftiness and well-placed pitches. 
Delving into Shocker’s baseball career, his love of the game, and his battle with heart disease, Steve Steinberg shows the dominant and courageous force that he was.


A wonderfully written book written about a forgotten old time pitcher by the name Urban Shocker. The story follows his life into the minor leagues to the majors and when he finally makes it to the Yankees he is then traded to the St. Louis Browns where he would have four consecutive 20 win seasons and for a three year period was the pitcher with the most wins. He did have his moments of suspensions, and fines from owners and managers not agreeing with keeping quiet on any issue. He especially enjoyed pitching against the Yankees whether he won or lost it would be a very good game. Also while with the Browns, he did pitch both games of a double header. He was traded back to the Yankees and played 25, 26, 27, and one game in 28. He was part of the great 1927 Yankee team even though he was becoming sick he was still 18-6. When he passed away in 1928 the team rallied around and won again and even voted a share to his widow. The story was very interesting and well researched. I liked all of the games that he was involved in. one bit that was or could be fixed by the 60’s through an operation. A very good book and worth the read. I got this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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