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Tris SpeakerTris Speaker

The Rough-and-Tumble Life of a Baseball Legend

Timothy M. Gay

Narrated by Dale J. Hubbard

Available from Audible

Book published by University of Nebraska Press

All serious baseball fans know the name of Tris Speaker. A Hall of Fame hitter, Speaker compiled a career batting average of .345-career—5th all-time best and tallied more doubles than anyone in history. But Speaker was so much more than just a Hall of Fame hitter. As baseball historian Richard Johnson says, "Speaker was Willie Mays before there was Willie Mays." Regarded by his peers as the greatest center fielder of all time, Speaker's range was so great that his outfield area was known as the place "where triples went to die." He still holds the all-time records for assists, double plays, and unassisted double plays by an outfielder. A World Series winner as both a player and a player-manager, Speaker devised the modern-day platoon system and also the infield rotation play. The Texas native and descendant of Confederate soldiers would also go on to tutor Larry Doby, the first black man to play in the American League.

The author offers an honest look at Speaker's larger-than-life, roughshod, frontier-forged personality. Simply stated, Tris Speaker is the long-overdue biography of one of the best players of all time.

Timothy M. Gay is the author of Satch, Dizzy, & Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball before Jackie Robinson. His essays and op-eds on American history, politics, public policy, and sports have appeared in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, USA Today, and many other publications.


“Timothy Gay has accomplished something special with this book.”

—David Maraniss, author of Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero

“In this riveting account of the rough-and-tumble world of baseball a century ago, Timothy Gay revives the reputation of a player who has not been given nearly his due. Go ahead: Read this book and then try to keep Tris Speaker out of your all-time outfield.”

—George F. Will

“Tristam 'Spoke' Speaker sits, statistically, alongside baseball's greatest sluggers and fielders, but his story and name have been largely forgotten....Gay has insured the righting of history with this biography.”

Publishers Weekly

“Tris Speaker was the prototype for Willie Mays...Timothy Gay has crafted an enjoyable and important book about one of the most dominant yet underrated players in baseball history.”

—Richard A. Johnson, coauthor of Red Sox Century and The Dodgers: 120 Years of Dodger Baseball

“Gay has filled a serious gap in baseball history, and his effort compares favorably with Charles Alexander's acclaimed biographies of John McGraw and Ty Cobb.”


“A richly detailed biography.”

Library Journal

“The writing here is never simply anecdotal. Gay understand the role of the historian. He is more intersted in placing Speaker within his era than in merely capturing moments of Speaker's career. Consequently, the prose is vivid and appealing (Gay frequently quotes Grantland Rice and Gay's own prose recalls that impeccable proseline full of rich description and careful detail), but the presentation is never so pretentious that Gay forgets he is writing about the games grown up kids play; the cameos of the famous athletes are deeply involving and immediate. This is a wonderful read - and an important read as it becomes the definitive account of this nearly forgotten legend.”

Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature

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University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks