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The Original Louisville Slugger (Paperback)

The Life and Times of Forgotten Baseball Legend Pete Browning

P&S History > Humanities > Biography & Memoirs

Imprint: University Press of Kentucky
Pages: 368
Illustrations: 31 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 9781985900851
Published: 17th September 2024
Casemate UK Academic

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Louis "Pete" Rogers Browning, the original "Louisville Slugger" for whom the famous baseball bat was named, was one of the greatest baseball players of the nineteenth century. Yet his prowess and talent were often overshadowed by his drunken exploits and endless eccentricities—on and off the field. Over his thirteen-year career he won three batting titles, finished in the top three nine times, and was one of the greatest hitters of the premodern era. To this day, his.341 lifetime batting average remains in the MLB's top five for right-handed hitters. He acquired other nicknames such as the Gladiator and Prince of Bourbon, and when Browning was "stolen" from Louisville by Pittsburgh recruiters, the team became known as the Pittsburgh Pirates. He attributed his great abilities to many quirky and colorful habits. He drank tabasco sauce and washed his eyes with buttermilk, claiming that both improved his ability to hit. He named his bats after biblical characters and meticulously took care of them until they exhausted the number of hits he believed each possessed. Browning bolstered his wild claims with entertaining storytelling and unconventional behavior, such as standing on one foot in the field and refusing to slide to base. The newspapers reported on and embellished Browning's own idiosyncrasies, making him a legend. Tim Newby addresses the myths surrounding the larger-than-life figure, uncovers the thin line between fact and fiction, and presents an extensive account of Browning—the man, and the record-setting ball player.

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