Saturday, April 15, 2006

Pride of the Home News Tribune

This is such a fascinating tale, it demands immediate recognition:

Upon arriving at work this evening, I found a curious envelope on my desk. Even before I opened it, it was obvious it was a book of some sort. Not having ordered anything lately, I wondered who in the hell sent me a tome.

Inside was indeed a book, accompanied by a note from its publisher asking for a review from my newspaper.

How these people got my name, I have no idea. I have to think it's a coincidence. But enclosed was a copy of "Bury My Heart At Cooperstown: Salacious, Sad and Surreal Deaths In The History of Baseball."

The authors: Frank Russo and Gene Racz.

This looks fascinating. Gene and his colleague have compiled a book detailing the unusual deaths of former major league baseball players. "Bizarre, tragic, twisted, honorable and gruesome -- their stories are collected here for tribute and trivia," writes Mike Vaccaro in the foreword.

Gene, the distinguished ex-Rutgers beat writer and Central Jersey soccer guru, has done a terrific job assembling a morbid assortment of oddball tales on a subject, to my knowledge, never before broached. There are sections on murders, suicides, bizarre accidents, alcoholism and more.

Here's a sample to whet your appetite:

"Having retired from pro ball at age 33, Stirnweiss' Jersey Central train was headed to New York, where he worked as a businessman. But this would be anything but another day at the office. As fate would have it, the motorman suffered a heart attack, and the train ran through two signals before plunging off an open-lift bridge that connected the port of Elizabeth and Bayonne in New Jersey.

George "Snuffy" Stirnweiss, father of six, drowned in Raritan Bay."

In the rear of the book, there is a section entitled "How to be a grave-hunter: Some helpful tips." I wonder whether Stan Goldstein, former HNT copy editor and avid celebrity grave-seeker, contributed to this section.

Bottom line: If you didn't know it before, you sure know now that Gene is a hard-core cat. And if you want a bonus hard-core item, we learn in the acknowledgements that Gene's dad is named Zoltan. That's hard core.

One of New Brunswick's favorite sons has done an admirable job. I will definitely try and review it for my rag, and I urge you to seek out a copy.

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At 8:40 PM, Blogger Dan said...

It is no surprise that Gene Racz would think to write a book of this sort.

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Joependleton said...

Dude: He actually did a book signing at the East Brunswick borders a few weeks ago.

My favorite baseball death was Bo Diaz having a huge TV satellite dish crush him to death on the roof of his house. I hope that's in there

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Todd Cohen said...

Nice job by Mr. Racks. I may have to order it as well.....or use it as motivation to head West in November.

I always enjoyed the

I do have a question...when does Mr. Racks write about the untimely death of the Rutgers men's soccer program?



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