Author/artist Gary Cieradkowski has been called “baseball’s Van Gogh” for the striking artwork that he uses to illustrate this unique book, which is equal parts ode to about 100 obscure but intriguing baseball players and art gallery of colorful depictions of these players in what look like vintage trading cards. These forgotten heroes include the black and Jewish Babe Ruths, plus a rich potluck of other players whose feats have largely escaped noticed in baseball’s various hinterlands – the minor leagues, Negro League, overseas, etc.
Here’s an excerpt from The League of Outsider Baseball:
Steve Dalkowski “came out of the housing projects of New Britain, Connecticut, average height with below average eyesight and a left arm that threw comets. The Orioles heard about his 18-strikeout high school no-hitter and signed him, the $4,000 bonus going toward a brand new Pontiac ragtop.
“No one knows how fast Dalkowski could throw, but veterans who saw him pitch say he was the fastest of all time. Some put the needle at 110 mph but we’ll never know. He threw so hard that the ball had a unique bend all its own due to the speed at which it traveled.”