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Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators: The War-Torn Career of an All-Star Shortstop

Overview

A three-time All-Star, Cecil Travis (1913-2006) was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career when he was drafted for World War II in 1941. When he returned to the game in 1945, after three and a half years in the army, Travis was no longer the dominant player he had been. In the three seasons that followed-the last of his career-only once did Travis play in more than seventy-five games, and his offensive numbers plummeted. Yet his prewar accomplishments were such that he finished his twelve-year career with a ...
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Overview

A three-time All-Star, Cecil Travis (1913-2006) was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career when he was drafted for World War II in 1941. When he returned to the game in 1945, after three and a half years in the army, Travis was no longer the dominant player he had been. In the three seasons that followed-the last of his career-only once did Travis play in more than seventy-five games, and his offensive numbers plummeted. Yet his prewar accomplishments were such that he finished his twelve-year career with a .314 batting average, and baseball maven Bill James put Travis atop his list of players most likely to have lost a Hall of Fame career to the war.

This biography documents Travis's life and dynamic career. It recounts his childhood years on his family's Riverdale farm in rural Georgia, his demonstration of talent during high school, the beginning of his professional career with the Minor League Chattanooga Lookouts in 1931, his rise with the Washington Senators, the historic 1941 season in which Travis led all of baseball in hits, his time as a soldier, the decline in his play from 1945 to 1947, and his retirement. In an epilogue Cecil Travis comments on his baseball career, the effects of the war, and his life in Riverdale, where he raised livestock on the farm that was his childhood home.

Rob Kirkpatrick is a senior editor at Thomas Dunne Books and the author of several books, including 1969: The Year Everything Changed and Magic in the Night: The Words and Music of Bruce Springsteen. Dave Kindred has been a sportswriter for more than thirty-five years.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803224759
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Dad's favorite Senator

    My father grew up in DC during the 30s and 40s and rode the trolley to Griffith Stadium to see the Senators. Cecil Travis was his favorite player from that era, so this book was interesting reading for me. The book is primarliy compiled from newspaper stories of that era and, unfortunately for the author, Travis declined to be interviewed. The book contains a few factual errors, the most glaring of which is the identity of the NL shortstop who fielded Joe Dimaggio's potential game ending double play grounder in the 1941 All Star game. Kirkpatrick has the ball being fielded by Cookie Lavagetto when we all know it was Eddie Miller of the Braves.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2009

    This is a must read!

    If you like history, baseball, biographies, and/or you are a true sports fan, this is a book not too be missed. It is a very well written and researched story of a mostly forgotten gentleman baseball player who played at the same time as Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Bob Feller. These players and many others felt that Travis deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. But as the author, Rob Kirkpatrick, points out in his poignant epilogue, Travis, true to his nature, in his always humble manner, was simply "content with his life" and what he had done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2009

    The man who led the league in hits in 1941

    Travis had more hits than Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio in 1941, when Williams hit .400 and DiMaggio hit had a hitting streak of 56 games. But this book goes into much more than that and tells the life story of a player that more people should know about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2009

    a beautiful celebration of a beautiful life

    This is the first biography of Cecil Travis, one of the best pure hitters in baseball history and the player who led all of baseball in hits in the historic 1941 seasson.

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