"First-class narrative history that can stand with everything Steven Ambrose wrote. . . . Achorn's description of the utter insanity that was barehanded baseball is vivid and alive." —Boston Globe
“A beautifully written, meticulously researched story about a bygone baseball era that even die-hard fans will find foreign, and about a pitcher who might have been the greatest of all time.” — Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer prize-winning historian
In 1884 Providence Grays pitcher Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn won an astounding fifty-nine games—more than anyone in major-league history ever had before, or has since. He then went on to win all three games of baseball's first World Series.
Fifty-nine in '84 tells the dramatic story not only of that amazing feat of grit but also of big-league baseball two decades after the Civil War—a brutal, bloody sport played barehanded, the profession of uneducated, hard-drinking men who thought little of cheating outrageously or maiming an opponent to win.
Wonderfully entertaining, Fifty-nine in '84 is an indelible portrait of a legendary player and a fascinating, little-known era of the national pastime.