SPORTS & RECREATION

Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir

S. & S. May 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781982132392. $24.99. SPORTS
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A reading of these "lost memoirs" of Yankees great Lou Gehrig, compiled from a series of dispatches to the Oakland Tribune in 1927, reveals the man the world came to know: self-effacing and without a negative word for anyone. But there remains the question: Did Gehrig write the columns? This arises because Christy Walsh, the agent he shared with teammate Babe Ruth, headed a syndicate that included such luminaries as Damon Runyon and future baseball commissioner Ford Frick. Their duties included ghostwriting articles credited to their clients, often with little or no input from them, designed to burnish the athletes' reputations. Independent historian Gaff (Bayonets in the Wilderness) barely addresses this issue either in his introduction or lengthy biographical essay, writing only that Lou "would write his account himself," and mentioning that Frick helped him during the 1927 World Series so Gehrig could focus on baseball. After that, there is no mention of authenticity of authorship.
VERDICT This memoir highlights baseball and its players from a golden age, and would have been more emotionally and historically appealing had Gaff offered more about the subject's provenance.

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