In "Damn Senators," Mark Judge has written a book that is at once a touching memoir of his grandfather, star first baseman for the old Washington Senators; a history of baseball in its golden age; and an exciting account of the Senators' 1924 World Series victory. As one advance reader says,... more
In "Damn Senators," Mark Judge has written a book that is at once a touching memoir of his grandfather, star first baseman for the old Washington Senators; a history of baseball in its golden age; and an exciting account of the Senators' 1924 World Series victory. As one advance reader says, "This book is not only for the dedicated fan but for anyone interested in human endurance and courage and the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat." For decades, the Senators were the doormat of the American league, a disappointment to the presidents and ordinary people who flocked to Griffith Stadium to watch Walter Johnson, arguably the best pitcher of all time, "Goose" Goslin, one of the most feared hitters in baseball and another future Hall of Famer, and other great players labor year after year in vain. But then in 1924 everything unexpectedly came together. Team owner Clark Griffith made shrewd off-season deals for journeyman players who would have their best years. The aging Johnson, whom some sportswriters said was finished, put together a final great season. Bucky Harris, the "Boy Wonder," managed with a shrewdness that confounded those who thought he was too young for the job. And the author's grandfather, Joe Judge, the best fielding first baseman in the league and a lifetime .300 hitter, anchored the team. "Damn Senators" tells the dramatic story of how Washington managed to beat Babe Ruth and the Yankees, perennial champions of the American League, and then triumphed over the heavily favored New York Giants in what sports writers consider one of the most dramatic World Series in baseball history. In recreating this championship season, the author interweaves the story of Judge, son of an Irish immigrant who became a baseball legend not only for his steady play (he would eventually be inducted into RFK Stadium's Hall of Stars) but also because of what came after his retirement. In his later years, Judge was befriended by writer Douglas Wallop who made him the prototype for Joe Hardy, the lead character in his novel "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant," later fabulously successful as a stage play and movie under the title "Damn Yankees." Recalling "The Boys of Summer" and other classics, "Damn Senators" is filled with unforgettable portraits of baseball legends like the wily Griffith; the noble "Big Train" Johnson; Ty Cobb, the meanest player of the day; Al Schacht, "The Clown Prince of Baseball" whose comedy act played between innings; the Giants "Little Napoleon," John McGraw, and of course, the larger than life Babe Ruth. Mark Judge returns us to a golden past. But with a new baseball franchise rumored to be on its way back to the nation's capitol, he may be taking us back to the future as well.