"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
I've been on a Boston Braves kick since receiving Harold Kaese's team history as a birthday present. Nostalgia for baseball's "golden days" is tempered by the description of the old Boston (NL) club, which apart from a few moments of glory tended to be a second-division outfit, typically broke and staffed with retreads. It's remarkable how closely the description of the old Braves, playing in a big drafty park before not many fans, fits the depiction of the New York Knights in The Natural or of the Washington Senators in Damn Yankees. Unfortunately, the Roy Hobbeses and Joe Hardys were few and far between for the Boston Nationals, who left town (after drawing just a quarter-million fans all year) right before Hank Aaron broke into the bigs and led the team, within four years, to a World Series title.
When I went to college I lived in a dormitory complex built at the old Braves Field, which had been converted by Boston University into a football field. I can say I resided where the old grandstand used to be.
The Braves' Wally Berger, pictured above, and here at the 1934 All Star Game with Kiki Cuyler and Ducky Medwick, is profiled at the Society for American Baseball Research's Baseball Biography Project, a wonderful resource.
In his introduction to Freshly Remember'd, George Morris Snyder summed up a solid, workmanlike career: "Berger was modest, quiet, hard-working, conscientious, and disciplined. He didn't kick dirt on umpires, become engaged in scandal, or engage in wacky behavior. He didn't make good copy for the boys in the press box. In his prime he played in a 'pitchers park' with a team that never came close to winning all the marbles. It was a club out of the mainstream. It was inadequately financed, poorly administered, and usually overmatched on the field. Despite all this, the Braves were always an interesting team, a team that had its great moments. They were led by the best manager of the times and supported by devoted and hopeful fans. And for seven seasons their most brilliant, courageous, and persevering player was Walter Anton Berger."